Record submissions for fifth GATFEST

May 15, 2017
Colombian Ambassador to Jamaica, Roberto Garcia Marquez (left), and Masanori Nakano, Japanese Ambassador to Jamaica, were among the diplomats who attended the launch of the fifth GATFEST last Thursday.
Jampro's Film Commissioner Renee Robinson (right) and Olayinka Jacombs-Bonnick (director, Jamaica and Caribbean, British Council) at the launch of the fifth GATFEST at the University of the West Indies, Mona's Faculty of Medical Sciences, last Thursday.
Fayval Williams, minister of state, Ministry of Finance and Public Service, delivers the keynote address.
Professor Archibald McDonald, pro vice-chancellor and Principal, University of the West Indies, Mona, speaks at the launch of the 2017 GATFEST last Thursday.

What began as the Greater August Town Film Festival (GATFEST) has ballooned into an event that has attracted global attention and participation. It began as an initiative of the UWI Community Film Project and the Centre for Tourism and Policy Research. The mission of GATFFEST is to serve as a platform for local and international exposure of film making talent. For its fifth anniversary, GATFFEST submissions were opened up internationally, and there was an overwhelming response.

At the launch event held on Thursday, May 11, at The Atrium of the Faculty of Medical Sciences, UWI, Mona, Dean of Social Sciences, Professor Ian Boxill, revealed that the festival co-ordinators received over 1,600 submissions,

Introduced in 2013, the festival was designed to showcase the work of the graduates of the UWI Community Film Project, which offers training in film and video production to youth in underserved communities. Rather than just showcasing material, the festival now provides an ideal opportunity for emerging film makers, as it includes special events and panel discussions with stakeholders in tourism, academia and in the film industry.

The launch attracted ambassadors to Jamaica from Brazil, Japan, Mexico, Korea, India and France, as well as the head of the European Union (EU) delegation to Jamaica. Professor Boxill declared this festival to be one of the most successful community projects, especially considering the extent to which it has attracted international attention and participation.


Wealth of submissions


GATFFEST will take place this year from June 15 June 24. For nine nights, the festival will showcase fiction, documentaries made by young Jamaicans, as well as works from young international film-makers. Each night of the festival will have a different theme, to accommodate the wealth of submissions. Business manager of the Centre for Tourism and Policy Research, Savannah Peridot, outlined the schedule, saying that the themes were decided by geographical location.

The festival will begin on June 15, with the premiere of the documentary Children of the Incursion, produced by 22 year old Denham Town resident Allan Powell. There will be Indian Film Night (June 16), Local and International Film Night (June 17), August Town Benefit (June 18), North American Films (June 19), European Films (June 20), Japanese Film Night (June 21), Caribbean and Latin American Film Night (June 22), Jamaican Film Night (June 23) and the GATFFEST Awards Ceremony on June 24.

Fourteen awards will be presented at the end of the festival. They include Best Directing (named for famed Caribbean film-maker Franklyn 'Chappie' St. Juste), Best Original Screenplay, Best Local Film. Best International Original Film, Best Animation and the Best of GATFFEST (to be named for Professor Archibald McDonald).

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