Magazine article Screen International

Caribbean in Cannes: Paving the Way for New Voices

Magazine article Screen International

Caribbean in Cannes: Paving the Way for New Voices

Article excerpt

Representatives from Guadeloupe, Martinique, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic and Cuba brought the blazing Caribbean sun to the Croisette for the 68th edition of the Cannes International Film Festival.

In the last ten years, efforts to establish more formalised film industries in several Caribbean countries have been gathering steam.

How? Through the creation of production incentives and activity to attract foreign productions (Trinidad and Tobago, Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe, The Bahamas); the establishment or revival of film festivals (Trinidad and Tobago, Dominican Republic, Bahamas, Curaçao, Aruba, with new festivals in Jamaica and St Lucia in 2015); the creation of film degrees and workshops; and through the sheer will of talented Caribbean filmmakers to create interesting work with limited support.

While Cuba has been light-years ahead - hosting the largest and oldest film festival in the Caribbean through the Havana International Film Festival and already putting Cuban film on the world map - other countries in the region have suffered from many hindrances to progress.

But there are signs that the Caribbean is consolidating for greater success in the future.

The trinidad+tobago film festival (ttff) provides a platform for the development of Caribbean and diaspora filmmakers through an increasingly robust industry programme, while simultaneously developing local audience tastes for home-grown, Caribbean and world cinema.

At this year's festival, which will run from September 15-29, the Caribbean Film Mart and Caribbean Film Database will be launched.

This is a timely and welcome development. FEMI in Guadeloupe welcomes the French market every March to expose them to films from the French, English and Spanish Caribbean, while programming international festival and Oscar-winning hits to audiences across the island.

The Dominican Republic has invested heavily in the establishment of a big-budget-style industry on home soil, while travelling to festivals worldwide to promote their benefits and growing dominance in this area.

And in Curaçao they have benefitted from the professional experience and art house cachet of the International Film Festival Rotterdam in the creation of a festival there that not only screens international films, but also supports Caribbean filmmakers through a special award.

And while individual work continues, these and other countries are also acknowledging the value of pooling resources. …

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