7 Questions With Carole Beckford JAMPRO Film Commissioner about the Jamaica Film Festival

Carole Beckford

Carole Beckford

The inaugural Jamaica Film Festival, coordinated by JAMPRO, will be held in Kingston on July 7 – 11, 2015 under the leadership of the JAMPRO Film Commission headed by Carole Beckford and her team. We caught up with Carole this week for a conversation on the festival,the approach to film selections and some of what the Jamaica Film Festival has to offer.

In your view what is the main role of a festival?
The main role of the Festival is to connect the industry and to create lasting partnerships. It is important that the view of Jamaica’s creative talent be expressed to show all-round quality and potential

What were the major challenges in organizing this first Jamaica Film Festival?
It is always a challenge to convince those that finance to indicate ROI, but JAMPRO’s record of hosting international events is unparalleled and it forms part of the signature events of the agency

What is the state of the film sector in Jamaica?
Jamaica’s film sector is highly technical and the output is of a high quality. After five decades on working on international films, features and commercials, the destination’s record in that area is of an excellent standard

Are there any particular themes for the film festival?
Where Art meets Business and the sub-theme – great films start with great stories

What qualities will the judges be looking for when sifting through the film submissions?
Best Short Narrative, Best Narrative, Best Short Documentary, Best Documentary and two Audience Awards. We will look for the “Best” Caribbean submission

Any advise for the film makers who are looking at Jamaica as a future location for their project? What should be their first step?
Talk to any of our top producers in the business and they will be happy to facilitate. These include officials with up to 40 + years in the business – examples are Paul Noble, Natalie Thompson, Maxine Walters, Sarah Manley, Carleene Samuels, Tanya Taylor, Lennie Little-White and a group of young and emerging producers – lists some others – special mention – Chris Browne

 Not many people know that Kingston and all it has to offer. Will the city be showcased during the Film Festival?
The Film Festival falls within the 90 days of summer – hosted by the Ministry of Tourism. Kingston will come alive at that time and the best in food, film and fun will be on show.

Thanks for your time. All the best with the inaugural Jamaica Film Festival.

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Xavier Murphy