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Fast film from Caribbean filmmakers
Along with being known as the birthplace of the fastest man in the world, the Caribbean may very soon grow a reputation of being home to the fastest completed film productions of the world. The Barbadian feature film Payday, from writer Shakirah Bourne of Let’s Do This Filmz, could easily be a contender for a new record for the fastest feature film ever made in the Caribbean. The comedy, about two friends who try to save their money toward fulfilling a dream of owning their own mechanic shop was produced, filmed and edited in one week flat. The R-rated film is an official selection of the CaribbeanTales Film Festival in Toronto, Canada, as well as the T&T Film Festival, both taking place in September. Bourne has also been selected to participate in the RBC Focus: Filmmakers’ Immersion programme at TTFF/13. The Filmmakers’ Immersion is an intensive development programme that provides ten selected filmmakers from the Caribbean and its diaspora with the opportunity to learn from film professionals and pitch a future project and with the chance of winning a $20,000 cash prize.
There has been considerable buzz surrounding the film in Barbados over the last few weeks given the community support and inclusiveness that went into the film’s creation. It opens there in early September. Bourne, an accomplished writer and editor, is an alum of the Cropper Foundation Caribbean Writers Workshop 2010. She is grateful for all the recent opportunities her film is attracting. “Trinidad has been very supportive and encouraging of the movie so far, and I just aim to learn as much as I can from the facilitator and other participants in the [Filmmakers’ Immersion] programme.” So how exactly did they film and edit a 97-minute feature in only one week? “It was a whirlwind of 20-hour days, lots of begging and creativity, so at the end of that one week I wasn’t completely sure how we managed to pull it off, but I am extremely grateful that we did! “Everyone assumed multiple roles and when we shot in Bayfield, St Philip, curious bystanders and people in the community became extras, production assistants and location scouts. We stopped worrying about the common challenges associated with producing a feature film—mainly funding—and used our own resources to start production of the film. We are extremely lucky to have very supporting family and friends, and cast members who believed in our vision and didn’t hesitate to help us out in any way they could.”
The film production team collaboration began with Selwyne Browne, the director of Payday, who brought Bourne and others together with the goal of making a movie that was easy to shoot and had a fun narrative. The main production team—Marc Gibson (producer), Ricky Redman (marketing), Rasheed Singh (videographer), Stephanie Chase (acting coach) and Bourne—came together for the first time in February and realised that they had a strong synergy created by the desire to have a fully produced feature film out by the mid-year holidays. The plan behind the marketing and distribution of Payday has also received a lot of attention for the innovative style that it has rolled out in Barbados and soon to other markets in the Caribbean and internationally. “We’re focused on strengthening the Payday brand. All of our marketing efforts so far have been innovative, and we’re not allowing the lack of budget to limit our efforts. “Before the movie was released to the general public, we introduced moving posters (moving characters on a still poster background), [the] original Payday soundtrack, music videos, and video featurettes to garner more interest about the movie. The response has been great so far, with several thousand views on YouTube.
“We intend to have the film screened in as many places as possible, mainly film festivals and theatres, and eventually do a DVD release.” Bourne believes in the importance of telling visual stories from the Caribbean. In spite of the success of the guerrilla film production approach to Payday, Bourne echoes many Caribbean filmmakers in endorsing the need for support from corporations, the investment community and governments in creating a successful film industry. “Since the release of Payday and creation of Let’s Do This Filmz, some investors and forward-thinking companies have approached us, many of whom were impressed that we were able to produce a feature with so little, and in such a short period of time.” Upon the release of the movie, she is hoping to get even more support for future projects. You can view Payday during the TTFF in September.
• More info: ttfilmfestival.com/film-synopsis/payday
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