Bridgetown Film Festival joins forces with Pan African Commission to establish Caribbean Identity in regional films

There are 55 entries for this year’s Bridgetown Film Festival (BFF), of which 15 are Barbadian. Kerri Birch, co-ordinator of the Festival, she says other competitors hail from Dominica, Haiti, Antigua, Suriname, US Virgin Islands, Trinidad and Jamaica.

The festival runs from June 10th to the 14th, with a proposed seminar from Yao Ramesar – the maker of Sistah God – and a seminar on acting to be held by BFF Co-Director Nala. He’s also doing a fund-raising journey for the festival, and it’s called Reel Ride;-

Nala says a full rundown of the order of the films would be made known shortly – he also explained how donations can be made on the Reel Ride day itself and along the route;-

Director of the BFF, Mahmood Patel, is of the view the same way there’s a Pom-Marine Hotel to train folk in tourism, then why not have the same for Cinema? He cited examples with both Berlin and Cannes Film Festivals as 40% assistance from state, 40% from from the private sector and the remaining 20% is achieved via gates and receipts (fees to watch movies or attend seminars).

Patel also believes that like Sweden, the BFF can buy or sell movies for profit via commissions. However, there needs to be crucial legislation enforced quickly so as to encourage the private sector to want to invest in pictures;-

Deryck Murray of the Pan African Commission says his organisation had no problem helping the BFF out, since the festival falls within the mandate of the PAC to avoid the typical style of using Eurocentric identities as a benchmark;-

Vere Browne, although present initially in his capacity as a member of the BIDC, spoke as a citizen extensively and believes the potential is limitless for cinema to become important as tourism here… He sees film as an industry, therefore film is just as important as I.T. or any other business. Film uses people as a resource, with Barbados having 270-thousand or more in its population then unemployment could vanish if cinema is used as another plank to buoy Barbados apart from Tourism.

Browne listed the fact movies need camera-people, lawyers, marketing, technicians and other professionals. There is no reason, in the BIDC man’s personal view, that film should not be accepted as a legitimate livelihood. He also advocated for the BFF to register as a member of the Barbados Manufacturers Association and the Chamber of Commerce & Industry.

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