Amateur film-makers Akeem White and Wesley Hylton have copped the top prize in the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission’s (JCDC) FI WI Short Film Competition.
The team submitted the film titled, ‘Too Much Massa’ using the Jamaican proverb, ‘Dawg wid too much massa sleep without suppa’ to create the film. In addition to a trophy and cash award, they also walked away with the sectional awards for Viewer’s Choice, Best Director, Best Story and Best Editing, with a cash prize of $15,000 for each category.
Best Cinematography and second place overall went to the film, ‘Consequence’ (Nuh hide yuh tick an lick a man) by Naceve Blackstock. He won $100,000 plus an extra $15,000 for his sectional prize.
Third place was awarded to ‘Bad Timing’ (Hat needle bun tred), which copped $60,000.
The nine finalists in the competition received gold medals with the top three getting trophies along with their cash prizes. The entries are available for viewing on the JCDC’s YouTube channel.
Speaking at a virtual presentation ceremony held on Thursday (September 2) Adjudicator and Lecturer at the University of the West Indies, Mona, Dr. Lisa Tomlinson, praised the work of the finalists, stating that they were able to create quality-pieces, despite budgetary and scheduling challenges, as well as the added difficulty of production during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Dr. Tomlinson, who assessed the completed films, said the entrants played multiple roles of writer, director, actor, even cinematographer. She said that the competition is testament to the vibrant local film industry that continues to grow daily.
“This initiative is timely and a relevant addition to Jamaica’s growing film culture… If you look around now in Jamaica and the Caribbean, there are film festivals, competitions and we now have access to training in films in the form of degree programmes at the UWI Mona campus,” she added.
She said the amateur filmmakers were linked with mentors who guided them along the production process of the films. She said that the judges were looking for authenticity, creativity, plot, characters, cinematography, direction, audio, theme, entertainment value and quality of production.
The competition, the brainchild of the JCDC’s Drama and Theatre Arts Unit, was open to Jamaicans from 17 to 45 years old, who have never made a film or had a screen play produced. Entrants were asked to examine one of five selected Jamaican proverbs and create a short film based on their interpretation.