Cinema, Theatre & Pop Culture in 2013 for Barbados: how far and how crucial to economy?

This year proved significant for Barbados in some positive ways and if paid the correct attention, can be a Way Fwd from the current fiscal morass we’re enduring… Culture in the form of Theatre, Cinema and the new venue of Cosplay can be serious avenues of Entrepreneurship which can teach our MP’s a thing or 2 if they’d pay some genuine attention!

Stunt Coordinator & Martial Artist; Joel Joseph

Stunt Coordinator & Martial Artist; Joel Joseph

Even Trinidadian film came to be a major force in our cinematic menu here in August when A Runaway Colony as devised by Nicholas Attin in his Crime Drama “Escape From Babylon,” which played to packed houses at the Olympus.

Yet even in Port Of Spain, Attin’s journey was not sweet, as we learn in his own words (CLICK ON FOLLOWING LINK FOR FULL AUDIO);-

Nick said they ate bread and drank water, plus drained their Life Savings to make the film happen.

While “Escape From Babylon” originated in Trinidad, Attin has plans to make it a full Caricom venture (CLICK ON FOLLOWING LINK FOR FULL AUDIO);-

Nick along with his Stunt Coordinator Joel Joseph pledged their commitment to involve as many islands who are willing for the sequel.

Creator & Director Nicholas Attin relaxing at Mojo's earlier this year...

Creator & Director Nicholas Attin relaxing at Mojo’s earlier this year…

Joel, who teaches Martial Arts when not making daring films with Nicholas, spoke of how people want to be a part of the success after its completion (CLICK ON FOLLOWING LINK FOR FULL AUDIO);-

He told Bajan Reporter this is both good and bad, it is annoying because when you really need the support, it was lacking yet once they see the sleekness of the product, they’re willing to look for Product Placement in Part 2!

Nicholas Attin says the sequel will feature Barbadian actors (CLICK ON FOLLOWING LINK FOR FULL AUDIO);-

He indicated this version will include scenes in USA, Jamaica and South America

The strange thing is, even the Governor of the Central Bank sees movies and ventures like Anime Kon as a means of delivering the country from its current slump (CLICK ON FOLLOWING LINK FOR FULL AUDIO);-

What about the forces who slug it out and make it happen? Bajan Reporter chatted with Omar Kennedy, whose 50% of the dynamic duo what makes Anime Kon happen since 2010 (CLICK ON FOLLOWING LINK FOR FULL AUDIO);-

This Barbadian entrepreneur wants to be the next Stan Lee, when not cooking the 2014 Anime Kon with Ad Exec Melissa Young, the businessman is a Portfolio Mgr at a leading Insurance brokerage! Somehow, he finds space to breathe, get fit and drink a rum now & again...

This Barbadian entrepreneur wants to be the next Stan Lee, when not cooking up the 2014 Anime Kon with Ad Exec Melissa Young, the businessman is a Portfolio Mgr at a leading Insurance brokerage! Somehow, he finds space to breathe, get fit and drink a rum now & again…

Omar realises the Internet combined with Creative Property and thus can level the playing field for young Barbadians (CLICK ON FOLLOWING LINK FOR FULL AUDIO);-

Anime Kon‘s guests in 2013 did a better job at promoting Barbados than the BTA (CLICK ON FOLLOWING LINK FOR FULL AUDIO);-

The Shakirah Bourne scripted film did far netter than even its own makers envisioned, now Soca Queen Alison Hinds is set to be in their next movie!

The Shakirah Bourne scripted film did far netter than even its own makers envisioned, now Soca Queen Alison Hinds is set to be in their next movie!

One of the folks who used Anime Kon as a fulcrum for their own cinematic career, diverged into Graphic Novels with Tristan “Spirit Bear” Roach, this eventually led to “Payday,” a cinematic success at Sheraton Mall – Marc Gibson addressed the cross-over (CLICK ON FOLLOWING LINK FOR FULL AUDIO);-

He sees Anime Kon as a vehicle to allow both Bridgeland and Payday to gain ground where he can consider other genres to produce.

Executive Producer for local film "Payday" and creator of graphic novel, Bridgeland - Marc Gibson

Executive Producer for local film “Payday” and creator of graphic novel, BridgelandMarc Gibson

Payday, which garnered many Awards in Trinidad and Cuba, despite the fact its language while genuinely raw Bajan was definitely Adult in Nature (CLICK ON FOLLOWING LINK FOR FULL AUDIO);-

Gibson correctly noted Barbadian censors have allowed many American films with far worse language, so he did not foresee Payday as shocking Barbadians on the whole.

The universality of Payday was so pervasive that seldom were sub-titles called for (CLICK ON FOLLOWING LINK FOR FULL AUDIO);-

They made sure the plot followed genuine Barbadian culture and this included the way the characters spoke with each other.

Marc says Let’s Do This Films has no intention to rest on its laurels, already they’re preparing for 2014 (CLICK ON FOLLOWING LINK FOR FULL AUDIO);-

The next movie will have more effects, and they want to try another genre altogether!

Many of Payday’s cast and crew have gained recognition as a result of promoting Barbados via film, Chrissy a film from the opposite end of Barbados, in a way, while made in 2012 has gained more ground in 2013!

This film was made by Born Again Christians David & Marcia Weekes who were in charge of Hush! and Chrissy has appeared in Brooklyn schools as a means of Alternative Conflict Resolution; the movie is translated into Spanish for Cuba and shown on MTV's Tempo subsidiary as the first Caribbean film apart from their West Indian array of music videos!

This film was made by Born Again Christians David & Marcia Weekes who were in charge of Hush! and Chrissy has appeared in Brooklyn schools as a means of Alternative Conflict Resolution; the movie is translated into Spanish for Cuba and shown on MTV’s Tempo subsidiary as the first Caribbean film apart from their West Indian array of music videos!

The anti-bullying motivational drama sparked an essay contest in the Cayman isles; is also on board for translation into French/ Portuguese/ Cantonese/ Mandarin; Chrissy is set to appear in 2 South African film festivals and yet despite all of the recognition – Corporate Responsibility is highly limited – the same as happened with Payday and Escape From Babylon!

Despite this hurdle, there are plans for the Weekes couple to venture into crime with a new project called "Vigilante," also set in Barbados like their other films...

Despite this hurdle, there are plans for the Weekes couple to venture into crime with a new project called “Vigilante,” also set in Barbados like their other films…

As Dr DeLisle Worrell acknowledged, another avenue of Cultural Entrepreneurship is Theatre and in 2013 the hit was Keshia Pope as an angel in Gale Theatre’s run at Frank Collymore Hall… This was a dramatisation of the last night on Earth for the late Dr Martin Luther King Jr in The Mountaintop.

Smoking and an ex-stripper are not instant pathways of approval for strict parents, but Keshia made the effort and it paid off! Here she is with Richard Pepple in Katori Hall's play which imagines the night before MLK Jr was assassinated...

Smoking for a role and playing an ex-stripper are not instant pathways of approval for strict parents, but Keshia made the effort and it paid off! Here she is with Richard Pepple in Katori Hall‘s play which imagines the night before MLK Jr was assassinated…

It was no easy climb for Keshia, her parents felt culture and acting is not a way to earn a living, she had a hard choice to make on leaving secondary school (CLICK ON FOLLOWING LINK FOR FULL AUDIO);-

Her mother wanted her to discontinue schooling on Graduation, but in order to allow her mother to keep funding her education she chose Accounts and IT which really was against her grain – but the numbers and web-design was the only way her parents accepted her doing more school.

It was when she reached UWI she truly decided to follow her heart, no matter what (CLICK ON FOLLOWING LINK FOR FULL AUDIO);-

Her father behaved as though she used foul language and refused to underwrite her tuition - he was surprised when she got a job to support her drama courses!

After Party curtain call for the brave Keshia Pope and UK's Richard Pepple (who gave a creditable American accent) in the foyer of Frank Collymore Hall

After Party curtain call for the brave Keshia Pope and UK’s Richard Pepple (who gave a creditable American accent) in the foyer of Frank Collymore Hall

Her parents, in her words, seemed rather similar to the structured approach seen for Tyler Perry‘s character in Good Deeds, in that they wanted to plan every step of her way and she should just agree – eventually, however, her mother came around while her father is resolute (CLICK ON FOLLOWING LINK FOR FULL AUDIO);-

Her mother attends every dance or role Keshia earns, while her father makes a pretense of intending to see – but is yet to be at a single event…

Keshia almost declined this year’s role with the UK-Barbados charity since the angel was a former prostitute, the hesitation was palpable – she had a previous chance yet buckled in 2009 (CLICK ON FOLLOWING LINK FOR FULL AUDIO);-

Keshia mentioned how she was nervous since the first role the Gale Theatre offered her was as a witch in Macbeth, it was already insult she chose dance over business, now to add injury by embracing the supernatural as a Christian?

The aspiring actress works at a real estate agency on the island’s West Coast, the folk have been very supportive (CLICK ON FOLLOWING LINK FOR FULL AUDIO);-

Keshia quietly boasts how almost the entire staff came to see her at Frank Collymore Hall; they even let work an hour earlier (she took no lunch break) so Keshia could attend every rehearsal!

The same way Keshia’s company could make concessions to allow her to ply both trades, like if private sector through sponsorship and public sector via Government offering tax incentives and removing inhibiting regulations in forming a company to be more on par with Hong Kong, India or even the Dominican Republic? Then maybe Barbados could actually haul itself from these doldrums by its own bootstraps!

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