Barbados is on course to have a full-fledged audio-visual sector, says Barbados Film And Video Association president Lynette Eastmond. Furthermore, she anticipates that within the next ten years, more foreign film-makers will have their productions done in Barbados, in addition to many more local films being distributed overseas.
Speaking to Barbados TODAY this morning, after a media briefing at the Barbados Investment & Development Corpoartion on Harbour Road in St Michael to launch the Barbados Visual Media Festival, Eastmond was adamant that this target could be reached. She stressed, however, that legislation needed to be instituted to give it push.
The former Minister of Commerce and Business Development in the Barbados Labour Party administration was confident that such legislation, with provisions for incentives to encourage more foreign producers to utilize the capabilities of the island, could be passed as early as in another 18 months. Eastmond stated that the goal of encouraging film-makers to not only film in island, but as well to establish studios here, was very attainable since at present there were a number of foreign producers already doing this monthly.
And Eastmond revealed that thus far a film commission desk had been established and coming shortly would be a film commissioner, who would be appointed to promote Barbados as a film destination akin to how the Barbados Tourism Authority promoted Barbados as a tourist destination.
“You have to build this industry; it is nothing new. We’ve built the manufacturing industry; we’ve built the business sector; we built the tourism sector, very deliberately by putting deliberate pieces of legislation in place . . . . Why would [an audio-visual sector] be any more difficult?
“We built an international business sector. It wasn’t always there; it was manufactured through legislation. We passed legislation and then we promoted Barbados as an international business destination –– we did it deliberately. It was created by us; so it is quite doable. That is what development is about. It doesn’t just happen, unlike what Barbadians believe. Nothing just happens; you have to make it happen,” Eastmond told Barbados TODAY.
The inaugural Barbados Visual Media Festival will be held from September 16 until October 16, with the opening ceremony at the picturesque Church Village Greens in The City and the awards ceremony on October 17 at the Frank Collymore Hall.
An introductory component this year was the Schools’ Challenge where schools were invited to make documentaries about their institutions. Eastmond noted this was an incentive her association planned to continue, so as to involve children from early in the industry.
So far several schools have responded well, producing documentaries that will be screened at the opening ceremony, Eastmond added. There have also been much interested from several independent film-makers from the United States and Venezuela.
From the Caribbean the Grenadian film Forever Forward by Bruce Paddington will be screened. Screening will take place across Barbados, at least one in every parish.
“We have a vision for building the festival out into an event that is actual more than a film festival and simply the screening of film which is for the most part what film festivals focus on. We want to make it very clear to participants in the industry that it covers visual media in its entirety. Our intention is for it to be a community festival.
“We know that Barbadians have been supporting out local film-makers, but we think that there are still many Barbadians who have not seen many of the films that have come out, that have been made by Barbadians. So we want to take those films to them,” Eastmond said.