Rommel Hall at the Barbados Independent Film Festival at the viewing of ‘Abiola’.

Film can go further in Barbados with right investment

Film Producer, Rommell Hall believes that there is talent right here in Barbados and there is a market for locally produced films.

Hall has been producing quite a number of successful films in Barbados such as the Barbadian sitcom series “Keeping up with the Joneses”, “Keeping up with the Joneses: The Movie” the web series “Abiola” and the “Winston Hall Documentary” etc.

The Barbadons Advocate spoke to Hall last week at the Barbados Independent Film Festival (BIFF) at the viewing of Abiola which was well received at Limegrove Cinema. In terms of driving the industry, he contended, “We believe that the Government needs to do everything but they shouldn’t, indeed the Government should provide the enabling framework for the industry to thrive but the private sector needs to get involved as well. There are wonderful initiatives such as the Barbados Cultural Industries Development Authority and there has also been legislation to benefit those in the cultural industries, however, though these things are in place there is still that hesitance from the private sector to invest in film as they still don’t believe they will see the return on investments. For Film to really take off, it needs that investment. We can’t keep asking people to do things for free. I am currently working on two documentaries, a short on Christmas in Queens Park and Christmas in Barbados. I’m also working on a documentary on a Barbadian entertainer.

"The festival is really good. What I like about this festival is that filmmakers from throughout the world can share ideas and we try to encourage each other because we know the struggles – and yet we continue,” he added.

Shakirah Bourne who has produced “Pay Day”, “Two Smart” with Alison Hinds and “A Caribbean Dream” also attended the event, she added, “My suggestion is that those interested in the film industry just do it. When Pay Day was released it had around 13 weeks in the cinemas in Barbados. Just do it and you don’t know what those opportunities will lead to and A Caribbean Dream actually had a Cinema run in London in November.”

According to her, “We need more of our local films showing on television. Look at the success of Keeping up with the Joneses, you can see the demand is there for local productions and films. There should be a stipulation that a certain percentage of content has to be locally generated, that would provide opportunity for more people to have an incentive to go out and do more local programmes. It is the distribution, it is not the talent, we are full of ideas and talent, therefore this is why festivals like this are great because you can showcase your work and see the work of people in the region. We are doing what we can and each country has their own film association, but hopefully in the future we will see a Caribbean Film and Association.” (NB)

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