Monday, August 16, 2010

Reggae film festival for Rototom Reggae Sunsplash -

BY BASIL WALTERS Observer staff reporter
Monday, August 16, 2010

AN added attraction has been introduced to the 2010 Rototom Reggae Sunsplash to be held for the first time in Benicassim, Spain from August 22 -25. As a booster, the organisers of the major summer reggae festival in Europe, have invited Jamaica Film Academy director, Barbara Blake Hannah, to present a three-night programme of the Best of the Reggae Film Festival.

After 16 years, this renowned brand of musicians, artistes and musical aficionados, usually assembled in Italy, if nothing else, will provide for Spain an extended celebration of its World Cup triumph two months ago.

Our Reggae Boyz (football team), is yet to enjoy such crowning glory, but no reggae festival, can boast authenticity without the Jamaican musical stalwarts, even though Europe is now producing its own sensations in the genre.

This is a fact the organisers of the Rototom Reggae Sunsplash who have been chased out of Italy by the authorities, have always recognised and have billed as they have always done, some of reggae’s finest ambassadors from yard.

The line-up for the 17-staging which is yet to be completed, so far include Anthony B, Big Youth, Bob Andy, Marcia Griffiths, Fantan Mojah, Glen Washington, Romaine Virgo, Alpha Blondy, Aswad, Alborosie, and many more to be added. And, as if for greater damage control because of the relocation, the Best of the Jamaica Reggae Film Festival has now been added.

Since 1972 when Jamaica’s first feature film The Harder They Come exposed reggae to the world on its soundtrack, a growing number of films have been made that focus on Jamaica’s reggae music culture.
In 2008 these ‘reggae films’ were gathered together in one place for the first ever Reggae Film Festival, held in New Kingston in February as part of Reggae Month.

The event was a collaboration between Jamaican filmmaker and film festival organiser Barbara Blake Hannah and British film archivist Peter Gittins of Reggae Films UK, with support from private sector sponsors and the Jamaican Ministry of Culture.

Sixteen feature and documentary films from Spain, Germany, Argentina, Canada, the UK and the USA were screened, at the end of which six Jamaican film pioneers appointed to head a Jamaica Film Academy dedicated to the objectives of the Jamaican film industry.

In 2009 a smaller programme premiered films from the USA, Serbia and a Spanish/Jamaican sports documentary that went on to win several international awards.

This year, the Reggae Film Festival saw the screenings of 22 films, a special daytime Children’s Programme and a Make-a-Film-in-24-Hours competition.

“Not only have filmmakers from all over the globe entered their films and travelled to Jamaica to present them and win awards, but the event has come to the notice of global reggae fans, international media and cultural organisations, several of which have established links for future collaboration,” she added.

Among the films to be shown are the Argentinian feature film Roots Time, award winning Japanese documentary Ruffn Tuff – Founders of the Immortal Riddim, a German documentary on Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, the animated film Kina Sky and Not To Me, the first feature film by noted Jamaican film–maker Ras Kassa.
“The directors of the Jamaica Film Academy and Reggae Film Festival are honoured by the invitation and recognition by Rototom Reggae Sunsplash,” Barbara Blake Hannah said.

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