Future for film

Writer and producer, Marcia Weekes (second right) with Chrissy star, Makalah Harrison (right) and other supporting members of the cast.

by Latoya Burnham

A Barbados-born, US-based film and celebrity make-up artist believes this island has the talent to take films to the international stage.

Furthermore, Marietta Carter-Narcisse said bringing films here could also tap into an extensive market that could rival tourism.

Speaking at the premiere of the film Chrissy this week, the creative consultant on the film said she was particularly proud of writer and director Marcia Weekes for consistently improving on quality in each production.

This, she said, was what was needed in the region as a whole and not just persons with cameras producing sub-standard material for the market.

She told Barbados TODAY, ahead of the inaugural screening of the film: “Unfortunately a lot of films I see coming up [from the Caribbean], the production value isn’t very high and that is why I am excited to work with Marcia because she wants that production value to be higher.

“So that is one of the things we have been working together on just to make sure that every production gets better and better. So when you look at the raw production value they become more globally competitive. I think that is the ultimate goal.”

It was an issue Weekes spoke to Barbados TODAY about last week at the press launch of the anti-bullying campaign attached to the film, when she commented that sourcing the kind of quality talent that will take her films to the next level has been one of her biggest challenges, next to funding.

Carter-Narcisse said funding was a critical issue in the Caribbean, noting that if regional backers would put money into the film industry the returns could be significant.

“We need funding and I think the population as a whole needs to understand more about film. I don’t think the population as a whole understand what film is and how involved it is and what it takes to make a film. I think there is some education that is needed and that is crucial…

“I also think that people need to understand that film can be a very lucrative product for a country as a whole, especially countries so small and that is why people want films made in their area because there has to be incentives for them to come and shoot so literally they get the most bang for their buck,” she said.

The entrepreneur, who worked on such movies as Malcolm X and the recent Sparkle film recalled that while working on The Mighty Quinn in Jamaica for two-and-a-half months, she had more money to spend there than there were places to spend it.

“I can’t even begin to tell you how much money we dumped, and that’s not even production, that’s just the crew. Some days I was walking around with thousands of dollars on me, but I had nowhere to go spend it. So when you have a crew that comes in you have disposable money because that is per diem that we get.

“You are going to shop, you have to eat, you have to do laundry and you are going to pay someone to do laundry, you are going to pay someone to clean your house, that’s money that is coming in.

“It generates a lot of revenue and that is what people don’t understand. That is revenue that could compete with tourism. You rent people’s houses and it goes on and on and on. Yes it can be a bit intrusive sometimes, but also for people here who are willing to take the chance and invest in local films where they can make them even more competitive so they can compete globally. I think it could do great here.”


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