New Caribbean Cinema rising with ‘Ring Di Alarm’

New Caribbean Cinema rising with ‘Ring Di Alarm’

Written by Editor

Topics: Film & Theatre

It wasn’t so long ago, as Michelle Serieux recalls it, that she met with Storm Saulter under the serene shade of a poui tree at Hope Gardens in St. Andrew to discuss a vision for independent filmmaking in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean. This vision, framed by a strong spirit of collaboration and camaraderie, galvanised a core of six young and talented directors, and ultimately gave rise to New Caribbean Cinema (NCC) – a bold, enterprising and exciting vanguard in regional filmmaking that is now poised to make its mark internationally with the premiere of the anthology film “Ring Di Alarm” at the prestigious British Film Institute (BFI) on September 2, 2012.

Michelle Serieux and Storm Saulter of New Caribbean Cinema.

“The BFI is a pretty big deal…the fact that they are giving us a platform to really make that direct connection, and of course the fact that we’re going there on the heels of our athletes completely dominating [at the London Olympics]…we’d like to feel that they went and softened them up and now we’re going to finish them off,” said Saulter, his words trailing off into laughter that soon spread to all the persons in attendance at the special NCC press announcement staged at JAMPRO on August 15.

“Ring Di Alarm” showcases seven short films by six Caribbean directors – Joel Burke (“My Vote”), Nile Saulter (“Coast” and “The Young Sea”), Kyle Chin (“Sunday”), Michael “Ras Tingle” Tingling (“Parish Bull”), Michelle Serieux (“Missed”) and Storm Saulter (“Watching Him Kissing Her”). Serieux, who is from St. Lucia, is the only non-Jamaican member of the NCC filmmaker collective.

New Caribbean Cinema directors, from left: Kyle Chin, Joel Burke, Michelle Serieux, Storm Saulter and Nile Saulter. Missing from this photo is Michael "Ras Tingle" Tingling.

Jointly produced by Serieux and Saulter, the films were each shot in a day with the directors providing support for each other’s projects. The productions relied heavily on the creative and technical support of Joel Burke and Nile Saulter, as well as the effort of the production crew.

Advocating the power of communal filmmaking, Saulter noted, “It really takes everybody involved to give that much more of themselves…It’s not for profit, it’s for passion, because everybody realises that collectively we can move forward a lot faster.”

It took a little under two years to complete the portmanteau film, and Saulter described the process as “a true experiment in guerilla filmmaking in the Caribbean”. For Serieux, it was a “labour of love” and “Caribbean independent cinema at its truest”. Two of the films have already earned noteworthy honours, with Serieux’s “Missed” being included in the Short Film corner at Cannes 2012 and Nile Saulter’s “Coast” winning the Best Cinematography Award in the Caribbean film corner at London’s Portobello Film Festival.

Patasha McLean in Nile Saulter's "Coast"

The screening of “Ring Di Alarm” at BFI was initialised during a meeting between Serieux and David Somerset, BFI’s Programmer, in the UK last year. The event will be a part of a larger celebration under the title “Jamaica Land We Love”. The weekend kicks off with a special screening of Storm Saulter’s multi-award winning Jamaican feature film “Better Mus’ Come” on Saturday, September 1 at the BFI’s Southbank location, followed by a Question and Answer session with the filmmaker and a cocktail reception. The weekend will continue with the world premiere of “Ring Di Alarm” on Sunday, September 2. The filmmakers behind this unique production will also be present for a talkback session with the audience.

The gathering at the press conference at JAMPRO had the opportunity to get a first look at Michael “Ras Tingle” Tingling’s “Parish Bull” – a story about a ladies’ man who has a brush with the supernatural.

The next stop for the NCC team after London is Trinidad and Tobago, where they have been invited to present a workshop on communal filmmaking. Saulter indicated that they were currently working to have “Ring Di Alarm” in local theatres by the end of the year.

Some of the cast and crew of New Caribbean Cinema.

PHOTO GALLERY

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