Film industry a viable path


For the past few years, Barbadians have slowly but surely embraced the burgeoning film and television sector industry as a choice for entertainment. To that end, it is encouraging to see the signs that more persons are choosing to become involved in this sector, as it provides the opportunity to expose Barbadian talent and elevate our unique brand of entertainment to higher levels. It is even more gratifying when those shows can evolve and/or contribute directly or indirectly to our main money earner, tourism.

The creators behind the Caribbean Cooking Channel, which was officially launched last month and appears on MCTV from this month, must be commended for further diversifying their brand. Having hosted various culinary-based shows over the years – Eggonomics, In Da Mix, Five Minute Meals to mention a few – the idea of pushing culinary tourism by featuring this channel in hotels further redounds to the benefit of our local brand, given that tourists appreciate signature products or services in the country they visit.

Premieres at cinemas and on the lone television station provide an avenue by which local entertainment can grow bigger and better. Given that the Cultural Industries Act is a reality, there are more paths filmmakers and showrunners can use to pitch television or movie ideas that propel our arts industry. In an age where innovation is a buzz word, there are endless opportunities for creative persons to advance business. This has been supported by the Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development, Donville Inniss, who also made the point that entrepreneurs even have the option of branching out to the Eastern Caribbean and expand their businesses. We would add the international level as well, given that Marcia Weekes, whose first movie ‘Hush’ resonated with local audiences, staged a successful showing of the movie “Vigilante – The Crossing” at the Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles earlier last month. The film is also to shown this month at local cinemas.

It further highlights the importance of a recent screening to Parkinson Secondary School students, since it introduced them to the works of young Barbadian filmmakers who had created pieces for the 2014 NIFCA showpiece. According to Ms. Annette Nias, the NCF’s Cultural Officer for Film and Photography and the co-ordinator, “The main objectives of the Secondary Schools Film Screening Showcase were to create an appetite for filmmaking in schools, to encourage participation at NIFCA and in the long-term to position film as a viable career path for these young students.” Previous exposure to film-making has also been introduced to youth via the Ministry of Youth’s National Summer Camp, where campers produced short films.

As Barbados’ tourism industry rebounds, there is much more this island can show that is uniquely Barbadian apart from sun, sand and sea. As we branch out into niche ideas, cultural tourism no longer has to apply to music and the varying festivals or events held annually. A film and movie industry – showcasing local talent and creativity – helps to provide a unique vehicle through which Barbadians can see themselves on the bigscreen as well as create jobs across the filmmaking spectrum.

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