A Call for Partnerships to Boost Film Industry Expertise – CaribbeanTales 2011

The film industry of the Caribbean has major export potential and with strong ties and partnerships, the stories of the Caribbean can be exported to the world while making a viable living for regional film makers. This is the view of acclaimed economist and businessman Dr Terrence Farrell, a Director of CaribbeanTales Worldwide Distribution Inc, in his remarks at the launch of the CaribbeanTales Film Festival 2011 recently.

{FILE IMAGE} Established in May 2010, CTWD is a full service marketing and distribution company that acquires exclusive, long term rights to Caribbean-themed content for television, educational, home entertainment and Internet distribution. The company also provides co-production services to producers, and holds marketing events through CaribbeanTales Festivals and Events, and CTWD is founded by award-winning filmmaker Frances-Anne Solomon, and principals include creative industries specialist Dr Keith Nurse, economist and businessman Dr Terrence Farrell, media personality and producer Lisa Wickham, and Jamaican filmmaker Mary Wells. CTWD is a member of the Barbados Entrepreneurs Venture Capital Fund that provides Seed and Venture Capital Services.

For the second year running, Dr Farrell, a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago, will lead a Symposium during the festival, on the economic potential and development of the Caribbean audio-visual industry.

Speaking to a packed audience comprised of media and film industry stakeholders, he disclosed that this year’s “Symposium” will focus significantly on the important question of how to finance the film industry.

Caribbean film is in evolution and governments needs to embrace the industry,” he said. He made reference to other models such as post-apartheid South Africa where government invested heavily into their indigenous programming and as a result the industry found large audiences and now is able to turn a large profit based on advertising.

Further focusing on the pivotal role of regional Governments, Dr. Farrell stated, “We are trying to find ways into the minds and hearts of governments to embrace this industry for what it does in terms of projecting the Caribbean and Caribbean content, but most importantly for creating what we see to be a viable industry that has potential to employ a lot of people and generate foreign exchange in the region.”

Chairman of the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation (BIDC) Dr. Don Marshall in his feature address also spoke to the much needed cooperation of government. He noted that in the process of manufacturing development, the state needs to be more innovative and supportive of innovation. He referred to film as an “expression of the New Age manufacturing” that is required.

There is a potential in the area of film and production that provides a foray into the understanding of who we are as a people,” stated Dr. Marshall who is also a Senior Research Fellow of the Arthur Lewis Institute of the UWI.

Marshall pledged the BIDC’s commitment to the development of the film industry and revealed that a strategic plan is to be presented at the end of January diffusing ideas of innovation by looking specifically at film. He also mentioned the BIDC’s future sponsorship of a Writer’s Workshop and the implementation of a Special Technical Assistance Fund.

CaribbeanTales 2011 @ Island Inn, Barbados is sponsored by Island Inn, The Starcom Network, MACO Magasines, Ultimax TV, Lisa Wickham's Ezone, the Commonwealth Foundation, SFa Communications, Hall-e-wood Productions , Truly Caribbean, Morenamedia , HAMA Productions, Barbados Government Information Service, Caribbean Tourism Organisation, Caribbean Media Corporation, United States Embassy for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Animae Caribe, Merville Lynch Prods, Creative Junction, Steinhill Studios , Blue Light Media, and Autonomous Entertainment.

CEO of CTWD, Frances-Anne Solomon in her address at the launch explained that CaribbeanTales is creating a vehicle that everyone can buy into and be a part of. However, she noted that it needs support. “Not just filmmakers, but business people, stake holders, government and audiences….we need to come together and build it together.”

The CaribbeanTales Film Festival 2011, Barbados runs from March 14- 20, 2011. The festival will include an Incubator Programme for Caribbean audio-visual content development starting on March 14, a marketplace and workshops as well as screenings of films from the Caribbean and diaspora. On March 16th the festival’s Opening Night film ‘A Hand Full of Dirt” directed by Barbadian, Russell Watson will have its Barbados premiere at the Frank Collymore Hall.

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