Fit for the silver screen

by Donna Sealy

From left: Shane Holford, Chantelle Evelyn, Duane King and Rosemary Boyce on the set.
From left: Shane Holford, Chantelle Evelyn, Duane King and Rosemary Boyce on the set.

A Barbadian filmmaker is hoping to ‘jones’ all the way into Europe and North America.

Managing Director of Hall-e-Wood Productions, Rommel Hall, who produced the sit-com, Keeping up with the Joneses, said it will be on the silver screen later this year.

In an interview this afternoon with Barbados TODAY, he stated they were filming this month and next month with a 57-member cast that includes the main characters, Irvin, Angela, Nathan, Tracy, and Anderson.

Hall-e-Wood Productions and Blue Light Media are the production companies behind the show.

“Filming of the movie has already commenced and will take the cast and crew across the length and breadth of Barbados from Malvern in St. John to Bridgetown in St. Michael. The film will step away from the ‘mockumentary’ style which the show is known for and forge into the realm of the cinematic.

“It promises to be action-packed and chock-full of the intrigue and humour which made Keeping up with the Joneses Barbados’ #1 show (according to the December 2011 Systematic survey),” said Hall.

During the interview he said they were working around people’s schedules and “we’re looking at 39 days of filming, we’re not filming every day… ,” he added.

The producer further explained that the difference between the film and the series was the length, and noted that both of them were intense.

“Both of them are difficult but the difference with the movie is everything happens every week, but with the series we only used to film two weeks out of the month and the rest of the time was rehearsals.

“Those last two weeks will get intense but with the movie, from the time we started everything is happening one behind the next.”

A third series of Keeping up with the Joneses was on the cards but this had to be scrapped because of a lack of “adequate sponsorship”.

“We decided to do a movie which collectively is a little cheaper than doing a series because it’s less filming. A series is six episodes, six episodes is 25 minutes or so. Sponsorship is very difficult. I thought that even due to the unprecedented success of the show, we would have gotten sponsorship but it is very difficult no matter who you are.

“I guess you have to know somebody and it has been a little disappointing. We have been getting turned around a lot, people would say ‘yeah’ then they don’t bother.

“The thing is, what happens is that in Barbados when people don’t have money to do these things [they] say ‘okay I just ain’t go do it’ but when you look back 20 years later nobody isn’t doing anything because nobody has money. So at some point in time somebody, somewhere has to get up and say ‘you know what, even though we have no money we have to do something’. That’s how Hollywood was built.

“The first set of movies that came out of Hollywood were built on a shoestring budget, Hollywood was not built in a day. Somebody somewhere had to get up and say let me do this thing, I might not make any money off of it but somebody has to start … that’s how we ended up where were are,” said Hall.

On one hand it was the lack of good local entertainment that motivated him to make the series and the movie and on the other hand it was to inspire young movie makers.

“I don’t know if there’s some seven or eight year-old somewhere watching .., but it is to try to pave the way for them. We also have Marcia Weekes who is doing good work with HUSH and Chrissy. My motivation is to get good Barbadian talent out there. We have a lot of talent on these shows and we don’t use it.

“A lot of people don’t know the talent that’s out there. We are constantly bombarded with shows from all over the Caribbean and all over the world but you hardly get any films from Barbados and again it goes back to the money. My thing was to try to get something of quality out there that Barbadians could watch and appreciate,” the managing director stated.

Hall’s plan is to have the film in cinemas here by September and then try to get it into regional markets, and those in Europe and North-America afterwards.

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