Barbados is set to become a regional centre of excellence for film, video production and other related audio-visual services. However, a director of one of the leading film houses on the island believes more support is needed, especially from within the ranks of the private sector.
Ricky Redman of Bajans In Motion (BIM) told Bajan Vibes recently that BIM had a lot more movies on the table – “about 30 right now” – at various stages of the production line.
“We are now starting to scratch the surface of the private sector, but not at the level that we are seeing in the rest of the Caribbean. Trinidad . . . if you go there tomorrow, we are going to get through better. Even when we went there last year . . . we went to Cuba with Trinidadian film and the amount of support . . . . We really need to have our cultural industries recognized in value, and I think they are.
“I’m not knocking them. It is not going to happen overnight, but we are getting better. I’m seeing, from between when we started and now, improvements; and we have been recognized at two, three or more [film] festivals. [But] that is not indicative of success. Success is when we can actually put on these movies [like Payday and Two Smart] and make a comfortable living for everybody,” he said, noting that they were not yet there but it was a goal being worked towards.
A delegation of Barbadian film entrepreneurs recently returned home from the 35th Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) in South Africa, with bright prospects for penetrating new and untapped market segments in that region.
Led by senior business development officer at the Barbados Investment & Development Corporation (BIDC), Modou Diagne, the group comprised the director of the short movie Auntie, Lisa Harewood; the director of Chrissy, Marcia Weekes; the producer of Two Smart, Shakirah Bourne; the assistant director and producer of Keeping Up With The Joneses, Chantelle Evelyn; and the president of the Barbados Film And Video Association, Lynnette Eastmond.
Coming out of that road trip, it is understood that Barbadian films are currently being considered by the largest station in South Africa (South Africa Broadcasting) for acquisition.
In the meantime, Redman has set his sights and that of BIM on putting out three movies a year, noting that while it was not an inexpensive undertaking, their methods for controlling cost came in the design phase of the production.
“We design the movie to make sure that we can manage our budget and not limit our creativity. Actually, the limitations on the budget enhance our creativity. Yes, three movies [can be] stressful, but we have done it in our first year and we need now to get some support from the private sector. We have proven ourselves.
“We have proven not only that we can do it, but we can fill the cinema for 13 weeks in the case of our first movie Payday. We have proven that we can get accepted in festivals overseas and have them pay our way there, and we are proving that Barbados has a film industry,” he declared.