Hit For Six was the first big budget film released by a Barbadian production team. The Alison Saunders-Franklin-guided production, seen in several key markets, was said to have a budget of over $600,000.
Years passed before we would see the dawning of the Hush series, which again took the Broken Trident into cinemas in Barbados and beyond, and had a highly successful DVD release –– which still sells in droves today.
Then, something happened! The vehicle, parked for so long in a dusty garage, found the people it needed to get on board and start the ignition, and suddenly what began with television series, including the wildly popular Bajan Bus Stop, and made-for-television movies starring the gorgeous Marvo Manning and her contemporaries, gave birth to highly promoted, well-produced films that attracted hundreds to cinemas in Barbados, the Caribbean islands, the United States and even Europe.
Laced with the thick Bajan accent and visuals from the Gem Of The Caribbean, the car pulled out of the garage. With the recent launch of the film Vigilante: The Crossing, hot on the heels of the record-setting Chrissy, Barbados’ most successful film of all time, and the well-received Payday and goose pimples-inducing thriller Two Smart, starring soca icon Alison Hinds, fans returned to the cinemas –– evidence that Barbados’ film industry was growing by leaps and bounds.
And, Marcia and Dave Weekes took the bold step to have their Vigilante: The Crossing premiered last month in Los Angeles, California, right in the heart of the global film sector –– a move that shouted: “We are here!”
Kirk Brown and country artist Malissa Alanna, no strangers to the spotlight, took to the glistening screen with solid performances –– sans guitar and drums, but armed with passion, tears, venom, and all of the emotions needed
With Rihanna’s mega film Home hitting global cinemas virtually at the same time, and, according to reports, breaking records in the early stages of its run, Barbados –– with our people, our twang, our vibe, our talent –– has been making its mark in yet another arena.
With the highly anticipated Porgie And Murda’s Unusual Suspects –– The Movie being prepped to obliterate big screens in Barbados and beyond, with its lovable now superstar key characters of Ah Feeling and Benup fame
(chart-topping, award-winning singers Lead Pipe And Saddis) in tow, our film sector is ready to go into third gear. Only time will tell if we go into hyperdrive; but with recent developments we would advise that you put on your seat belts and grab a hot, salty bag of popcorn, because this joyride is far from over.
We all know the saying “a Bajan can be found anywhere in the world”, but now there is no doubt that with our cultural penetration of every market in existence, now augmented by a thrust in film, a Bajan can be seen in every market on screen, heard on radio, seen in magazines, videos and on live stages –– through our strides in music, fashion, sports and, thankfully at this stage, in our development of film. Let the journey begin.
(Ronnie Morris is president of Gold Coast Records and director of the Barbados Music Awards. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)