The Jamaica Film and Television Association (JAFTA) started a bold initiative this year to advance, diversify and ultimately propel the growth of Jamaica's film and television industry. JAFTA Propella has offered mentorship and JMD $500,000 for the production of five short films from inception to completion, chosen from a blind selection process of treatments submitted by just under 20 members of the local film and tv industry. The winning JAFTA Propella filmmakers are: Kurt Wright, Tony Hendriks, Natalie Thompson, Janet Morrison, Adrian Lopez and Sharon Leach. Their films will be showcased in a specially curated hour at the Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival later this month.
Funding for the films’ production was sourced through the CHASE FUND which has awarded the project a grant of $2.5M. The Film Commission sharing JAFTA's vision has come on board to assist with airfare expenditure for the filmmakers to attend the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) where they will be exposed to film financiers, external distribution channels, international filmmakers and markets and the Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival (TTFF) where the films will have their World Premiere in September.
Few may know but film has been a part of Jamaica for over 100 years. Despite famous titles such as "Blue Lagoon", "Cocktail" and "The Harder They Come" being shot on the island, we are yet to have an industry churning out local content often enough to supply the demand of audiences worldwide. This is the problem JAFTA Propella aims to solve.
Viewing distribution as a crucial piece to the puzzle, JAFTA will market these films through various festivals and other marketplaces to propel the filmmakers and Jamaican film. The initiative is a year long one which will continue annually to build world class filmmakers that will inevitably transform our industry into a mature framework propelling our film and TV producers to success.