It's An Islandwide Affair - Little-White Plans Film Tour
Just a few months ago, Lennie Little-White revealed that he was ready to shake up the film industry, with a brand-new, self-produced and directed feature - length production.
Now, approximately four months later, Little-White has not done just that but has simultaneously introduced a new treatment for the distribution of locally made films.
"After the film completes its run-through at Palace Amusement, we're going to be doing a very unique thing which I learned from my Nigerian filmmakers," he said, during the premiere of his latest feature-length project, It's A Family Affair. "We're going to be taking the film around Jamaica, to all small towns" much like a road tour. Little-White said it is the work of Nigerians in particular that has inspired his new approach to local film production and distribution.
"The Nigerians started making movies that could make a profit in their domestic market. Our African brothers and sisters have been making feature-length films that are now becoming world-renowned," he said. Little-White has observed that the Nigerian film space, affectionately referred to as 'Nollywood' has survived by avoiding the razzle-dazzle of Hollywood and making low-budget productions.
It's A Family Affair, starring Ian Ellis, Dahlia Harris, Tony Hendricks, Bertina MacCaulay, Brian Brown and Emprezz Golding (with a special guest appearance by Leonie Forbes) was filmed in about three locations over the course of six days. It was in post-production for six weeks. Though she agrees that high-quality content can be produced on low budgets, Film Commissioner RenÈe Robinson believes that more focus should be placed on writing and creative direction.
"I wouldn't necessarily agree that this approach or style is the answer to Jamaica's film agenda," she said. "The first step for our industry is to ensure that we are producing high-quality content - which is reflected from strong script writing and nuanced direction."
"I know it's not perfect," Little-White said, "but I hope that young film-makers in Jamaica ... will use this template as something they can follow to make films locally that employ Jamaicans, that go on Jamaican screens and put a little money in their pockets, before they try to show it to the diaspora."
"With the right marketing, many Jamaicans will see It's A Family Affair much more easily than if it were only shown in cinemas," Robinson told THE STAR, "and that is a good thing. Lennie's foresight in film entrepreneurship must be applauded," she said.
"What Lennie is proposing, to privately tour his film islandwide, is also indicative of an entrepreneurial advancement. Gone are the days of waiting for acquisition and print advertising to get your content seen. It is perfectly possible to identify a venue and charge your own ticket fees to a film for which you have the exhibition rights.
"Across the island we have limited screens, and those that do play, are required to fulfil international distribution contracts. Jamaicans want to see ourselves on screen, which has been evidenced by many of the local films that have in fact had the opportunity to screen at Palace Amusement in recent years. There is no doubt that specifically targeting local audiences with easily accessible content has a positive impact on 'bums in seats'."