A seed was planted just about 10 years ago. I had a vision to do a film festival back in 2005 while living in Miami. I had just finished working on an independent film Starring Clifton Powell and Rick Ross. It was my first take at producing a film. Oh what an experience that turned out to be! It was after working on that movie “Hustler’s World” that I received a crash course on the dos and don’ts of filmmaking. I figured there could be a lot of people that could benefit from what I learned.
Originally I thought of doing the festival on the island of St Lucia. I had a very strong relationship with some very influential people on the island so I figured that would help facilitate things quicker. Due to scheduling and other life events at the time, I decided to put the idea on hold. Fast forward to January 2014, I came across the mini business plan I had created for the film festival. It started to talk to my soul and the very fact that this dream laid dormant for so long disturbed me. I immediately decided to revisit the idea of putting on a film festival again. I started planning and reaching out to key people about my idea. For the most part, people seemed pretty receptive, but there were possibly even more that thought I was just crazy. A venture too big and far fetched to be taken on. Funniest thing is that in my soul I felt like this is part of my calling, my destiny and my spirit awakened like never before. I’ve been locked and loaded ever since. I’ve poured my heart and soul into this project like no other venture before.
It was while shooting a music video in Jamaica for a good friend of mine Benjy Myaz, that I realized that Jamaica was the ultimate location. While putting a crew together for the shoot, I came to the realization of a few things. First that one of my greatest passions is to help people. I have always been the guy that would stop whatever I was doing to give a hand to someone that need it. I met a young gentleman by the name of “Brown Chops” who would be my assistant director. I seen that he was quite resourceful with home made video lights and a bunch of great ideas. We worked well together and he eventually showed me some of his work that he shot. I felt that he had a great eye and just needed some guidance.
I came to the understanding that my idea of developing a platform that can help disadvantaged youths re-channel their energies into creative art started to manifest. I felt like I could be a catalyst in regards to how Jamaica’s film industry can blossom from the ground up, by laying a strong foundation and planting the right seeds of change. Bringing in A talent from Hollywood to help cultivate the budding industry is crucial.
Initially, Benjy Myaz and I discussed and looked into setting up an audio and video production house in New Kingston, Jamaica. After a week of back and forth negotiations for a property I decided to balk at the idea. I had a lengthy conversation with Benjy about locations that we could use to set up camp on the island. The city of Falmouth, Trelawny was tossed into the discussion. Trelawny being one of the fastest growing Parishes on the Island made a lot of sense.
After researching for several days, I found that the city of Falmouth would be great to partner with for the festival. Falmouth is rich in history and has undergone a tremendous amount of change, the same type of change that I was hoping to achieve with the festival. After meeting with the Mayor of Falmouth and presenting him with the plans for the film festival along with highlighting our plans for community participation all year round he was onboard.
I felt like putting together a team of talented, passionate and creative minded individuals would be my biggest challenge. I was wrong! In fact as I painted the picture of what I had in mind the team started to galvanize. As things began to take shape with the festival, we were able to get the right people in the right places. I reached out to friend of a friend who also was the Director of Programming and founder of a big film festival in Florida and he loved the idea of what we were doing and he came aboard. He was able to provide us with key advice to help make our festival a success.
I strongly believe that when your heart is in the right place and you do things for a greater good and not for yourself you become blessed in your quest. The way things and people have been positioned in our path is truly unbelievable. I am grateful and appreciative of everyone that has contributed or assisted with making this festival a success.
To be continued…….