Shopping Sweet Rind: The director's cut
Funding wanted for local filmSunday, October 11, 2020
Film-making and Jamaica have been partners from the 1950s thanks to the efforts of the likes of American Errol Flynn and his wife, actress Patrice Wymore, who attracted the Hollywood set to Jamaica for leisure but, in turn, found the island ideal as a location to film.
As the years pass Jamaican film-makers are slowly making a name for themselves on the international circuit.
The latest success story is that of the film Sweet Rind, which copped three major awards at the LA Sun Film Festival in California last week. The short film took home the awards for Best Director (Andre Wynter), while Sherando Ferril and Kadeem Wilson won for Best Actress and Best Actor, respectively. The increased access to tools of the trade as well as information about the business has lead to an opening of the gates for the home-grown talent.
The film festival circuit is the route now being taken by a number of these young film-makers as a means of networking, marketing and just learning more about the business. Films such as Storm Saulter's latest work Sprinter as well as as his previous feature Better Mus' Come, and Flight by Kia Moses have all earned accolades in recent years at various film festivals.
For the producers and director of Sweet Rind, this route is also being taken because they have applied to be part of a total of 40 film festivals.
For Wynter his win at the LA Sun Film Festival is his first award as a film-maker, and he noted that in addition to being a great confidence-booster film festivals are also a great place to get the information you need about your film.
“So far we have gotten into 11 of the festivals we have applied for. Due to COVID-19 and the pandemic a number of the festivals have been set back, so this is the second one [festival] thus far. We were proud to get into the Pan African Film [and Arts] Festival of Cannes. We were the second Jamaican film to do so following Flight by Kia Moses two years ago.”
With a running time of 28 minutes the producers of Sweet Rind are hoping to upgrade their short into a feature-length film in the future, and will again be using the audience at the various film festivals to help attract funding.
“Getting funding is always difficult. My policy is to price it for the market in which it can sell. It doesn't make sense to get the funding for a film that costs $10 million but then only make $500,000. You have to look at it from both sides...as a creative as well as from the business side. That's where film festivals come in handy. They really help us to know where our markets are and what sort of funding is available for films in those markets. In addition, these festivals are great for just meeting industry persons, learning about the latest technology, as well as trends in film. The feedback on your work is also invaluable and can only help you to make your next project even better,” Wynter told the Jamaica Observer during a telephone interview.
He advised young film-makers looking to raise funds for their film to create a complete business plan rather than just a creative pitch for the work. He noted that the majority of new-generation, local film-makers are coming with teams that include not only the creatives but persons with business acumen, which makes the project more attractive to an investor.
Wynter, who is presently a postgraduate student at Savannah College of Art and Design in Atlanta, completing a master's degree in film and television, is extremely passionate about Sweet Rind, which follows the actions of a woman determined to avenge the death of her father after he suffered a heart attack upon realising that he had been duped at the hands of a Jamaican lottery scammer.
“This is such a relevant topic, and by extension film, for the Diaspora. The plot is so linked to our culture and identity. It touches on themes of religion and history, and the cast of two is led by a strong black woman. This is something we have not seen in Jamaican films. I strongly believe it will speak to a very wide audience, especially when you realise that it is not a zinc fence shoot-'em-up. It has very high production value and should truly start a discussion,” said Wynter.
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