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JAFTA members boast benefits

Jamaica Gleaner / Ranging from veteran practitioners to emerging professionals, the Jamaica Film and Television Association (JAFTA) is designed to support the efforts of the film industry by engaging its members with educational programmes, international networking opportunities, and competitive activities, often with post-production goals in mind.

From script development programmes to short-film funding, JAFTA boasts consistent and propelling activities as relayed by members who have enjoyed numerous benefits and opportunities since becoming part of the association.

“I’m a new JAFTA member and I feel a strong sense of pride to be part of a community that is interested in showcasing the talents and efforts of Jamaican writers by way of film and television,” said Letay Williams, one of 14 participants in the recently held Make Development Work script-development workshop. “This was my first professional screenwriting workshop, and to be able to interact with other writers, producers, and script editors has made the workshop an invaluable experience for me.

“It was such an honour to be selected as a screenwriter for the workshop. I truly appreciate JAFTA for this opportunity because my writing has been elevated as a result of this incredible workshop,” she said.

MIGRATED Well-known entertainer, Tony ‘Paleface’ Hendriks told The Sunday Gleaner , that he migrated to the United Kingdom to make a living as an entertainer and producer.

“Returning to Jamaica, I heard a group of like-minded people had come together to form JAFTA,” he told The Sunday Gleaner . “This is an invaluable experience. Instead of a flaccid film festival, with no local films to show, JAFTA invented PROPELLA!,” Hendriks said.

Last year’s PROPELLA! Initiative granted five film-makers $500,000 to produce short films, evolved into a film delegation that took the filmmakers to the Toronto International and the Trinidad and Tobago Film Festivals. According to JAFTA representatives, the submission tally for this year’s PROPELLA! initiative has doubled.

“I was one of the fortunate five filmmakers to receive funds to produce a short film. I learnt the ins and outs of international film festivals – how and where to schmooze and sell your work,” Hendriks shared. The long-time thespian developed his PROPELLA! short film called Shoot The Girl into a feature-length screenplay, which was accepted into the script-development workshop. Now, Hendriks is writing a second draft “with greater knowledge and improved insight that will, hopefully, help me get it read, noticed and produced,” he added.

Hendriks said that being among industry peers who advise and share information demonstrates solidarity and support within the fledgling industry.

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