Northern Caribbean University’s (NCU) Lignum Vitae Film Festival, which was held in Mandeville last week, has caught the attention of at least one Hollywood producer, who has indicated an interest in developing a student submission into a feature film.
Chair of the Department of Communication Studies (DCS) at NCU Elaine Oxamendi Vicet said executives from Creative Entertainment and Media Inc., a production company in California, were intrigued by the quality of the students’ work.
“They have said to us that they want to develop the film ‘Secrets’shown at last year’s festival into a full-length feature film,” Oxamendi said.
The films shown at this year’s Lignum Vitae Film Festival will also get international attention, as Real Yaad TV, a channel that will begin broadcasting the New York Tri-State Area in the United States this August, wants to showcase all the films that won prizes.
Young filmmaker Christopher Byfield took home the top prize for his film, Red Amber Green. The film depicts the lives of three Kingston street boys, who make their living hustling at stoplights, while still managing to have morals and to be considerate of those less fortunate than they are.
“All the films that I have seen this evening are extremely great; they demonstrated that producers and directors knew what they were doing. With amount of talent that is at NCU, I am really thankful for the win,” Byfield said.
Department of Communication Studies final year student, Jason‘Beanz’ Sawyers who also won best concept for his film, The Physics Lesson, took second place. The Physics Lesson explores the antithetical forces that determine success or failure, and a young college student’s battle to outwit, outrun and eventually overcome the dark forces of underachievement.
Final year DCSstudent Kereen Williams won third with her PSA Drunk Driving. Williams also picked up the sectional prize Best Use of Effects for her film, A-Wire
Film Commissioner of Jamaica Kim-Marie Spence, who was one of the judges at the event, extended an invitation to all the entrants to a meeting at JAMPRO to discuss their films, as a means of improving the skills of the young filmmakers.
“I have been here before and I must say each year gets better and better. I am particularly impressed with the organisers for going after the best in the film industry to assess the work of students and to give them positive feedback,” Spence added.
Spence was joined on the judging panel by vice president of the Jamaica Film Producers Association Tanya Taylor and acclaimed actor Paul Campbell.
Campbell praised the students’ talent but urged them to focus more on telling the story in film, rather than getting carried away with effects.
“I have been to a lot of places and what I saw here tonight was of international standard,” Campbell said.
Vice President of the Jamaica Film Producers Association Tanya Taylor also praised the students’ work.
“I have seen films from other schools in the island and what I saw here tonight are some of the best films I have seen, was particularly impressed with the technical competence,” Taylor said.
The Lignum Vitae Film Festival, which started as a screening of student work in the advanced TV production class, has become an annual that is highly anticipated by students, members of the university community and, now, key players in the film industry.
This year, the festival culminated the DCS Communication Symposium, which was held over two days under the theme, ‘Modern Media Influencing Public Policy and Public Opinion’.
Posted By :Kerry-Kay McCatty
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