Director of Hall-e-wood Productions Rommell Hall made a strong appeal to the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) to give local producers a better deal as he addressed the launch of the Barbados Visual Media Festival last night.
Hall, the brain behind the Barbadian sitcom series Keeping up with the Joneses, complained it was a big challenge to get their content on the CBC and he stressed the need for the state-owned broadcasting corporation to be more flexible.
“It is really daunting, when as a filmmaker, the hardest part of the process is whether or not I will be able to get my content on the lone television station in Barbados and this is not right.
“I’m really calling for the channels and negotiations to be reopened between the association [Barbados Film and Video Association] and with CBC,” stressed Hall.
He suggested that CBC must move beyond airing local programmes mainly during Independence celebrations to ensure more exposure for local producers while the television station would benefit from quality content.
“If CBC would show more local content outside of November things would go so much more smoothly for the organization,” he said, adding, “I’m really hoping CBC can get on board with us”.
Turning his attention to local producers, Hall encouraged filmmakers to be unapologetically Barbadian in their work, saying “We need to be Barbadian, we need to do our own thing for our own people and if the stories are good enough they will travel across the world.
“It is not going to be an easy road. We have to push, we have to put the structure in place, we have to keep pressing forward and we will have a successful industry.”
Andrea King, director of the Cultural Industries Development Authority (CIDA), told the gathering that the Ministry of Culture was currently in the process of developing a policy to strengthen the development of the Barbados Film and Digital Media Commission.
“The Commission promises to be beneficial to local and international filmmakers,” said King, adding that it was intended to market Barbados internationally to attract foreign production companies to use the island as a filming location for productions.
King pointed that that a film commissioner’s desk had already been established at CIDA and as a result, shoots from Canada, Europe and the United States of America had taken place over the last 18 months.
Stressing the importance of the cultural industry to the island’s economy, the CIDA director said, “We have heard repeatedly that the traditional sectors of agriculture and manufacturing are declining and Barbados can no longer depend on these sectors to lead its economic growth. Even tourism, the leading sector, has the potential to die if offers do not go beyond the sea and the sand.
The [film] industry stands to be enhanced as Barbados increases its capacity with the staging of some festivals such as this one, and using the filmmaking whether by offering Barbados as a location or through the exploitation of core production opportunities to boost the economy.”
The film festival concludes on October 31. ([email protected])