“This festival is extremely important because one of the things that makes it different from other festivals in Barbados, is that for us it’s about local first.” Those were the words of the president of the Barbados Film and Video Association, Damien Pinder, as he addressed the audience at last night’s opening ceremony of the 2019 Barbados Visual Media Festival at the Accra Beach Hotel.
He went on to say that it was his belief that “film can solve the cultural problem that Barbados has and when you solve the cultural problem, you solve the economic problem”, describing film as an “all-encompassing” industry that creates jobs.
Also in attendance was Film Commissioner of Barbados, Annette Nias, who echoed Pinder’s belief in her own address, stating that the facilitation of overseas productions in Barbados is important to the development of the local film industry and said development is key to the recovery and sustenance of the Barbadian economy.
“Foreign companies continue to come to Barbadian shores to take advantage of the beautiful vistas and charm and we continue to reap maximum benefits from it by simultaneously developing the local film industry as a major engine of growth within the Barbados economy.”
She added that in the past year a number of film shoots from the Caribbean, Europe, Asia, the UK and the USA had come to Barbados and that “[s]everal Barbadian film production companies contribute to and benefit from such activity on an ongoing basis.”
She applauded the BFVA for their contributions to the development of the Barbadian film industry. Namely the Barbados Visual Media Festival, providing avenues for local and international independent films to be showcased, creating educational and developmental opportunities for “audio visual practitioners” and “ the encouragement of new partnerships and relationships.”
She stated that the NCF will continue to provide support for the association.
Pinder also spoke about the association’s “Scritp-O-Rama” script writing competition, which was started last year to highlight local screenwriters and give the winner the opportunity to have their film script produced, and this year’s 48 Hour Film Challenge which saw the most teams entering the competition since its inception – sixteen; twice as many as the previous record. Ten of the teams were able to submit their films on time this year.
The BFVA relaunched its website, barbadosfilm.org, last week, which Pinder described as “…a launch pad for a lot of future successes of the film association and filmmakers in Barbados…”
Following Pinder and Nias’ remarks, two short films – Screwed, about a young man’s harrowing search for a wine opener and When Mama’s Away, a horror film written by the winner of this year’s Script-O-Rama competition, Janelle Gilkes – and the feature length film Too Lickrish – directed by Olympian Tolga Akcayli and starring Seth Bovell, were screened.
The Barbados Visual Media Festival ends this Sunday with the Barbados Visual Media Awards.
For more information on this year’s Barbados Visual Media Festival and the Barbados Film and Video Association, visit the festival‘s Facebook page and that of the association and visit the association’s website.