by Curlan Campbell, NOW Grenada
12°N61°W Grenadian Film Festival allowing emerging and aspiring filmmakers to tell their own stories through film
The 3-day film festival expected to feature 47 film screenings including 22 Grenadian content
Organisers of the 12°N61°W Grenadian Film Festival seek to change the narrative of people of African descent especially within Grenada and the Caribbean, by allowing emerging and aspiring filmmakers to tell their own stories through film.
This initiative is led by Grenadian/American filmmaker Meschida Philip, a former student of the Boca Secondary School who has a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Film from The City College of New York with a concentration on documentary filmmaking. Her directorial work includes a short documentary on parent-child separation as a consequence of migration entitled “Scars of our Mothers’ Dreams.” Philip has also described herself as an activist who has championed the rights of women and children affected by social issues.
Philip has again returned to Grenada, but this time is in the process of preparing to stage a number of activities for the inaugural 12°N61°W Grenadian Film Festival scheduled to take place Friday, 3 May to Sunday, 5 May.
As the theme “Beyond Boundaries” suggests, the film festival will best “represent blackness” and the black experience through the featuring of the short film, documentaries, and narratives.
She laments on the fact that most film on mainstream media about people of African descent has largely been stereotypical. “As a Grenadian American what was significant for me is the black cultural representation. I grew up in an era where people I saw in leadership positions were black, but when you migrate to another country as I had, that shifted and now the representation of black people were very stereotypical and since getting into this business, I made it an absolute point for myself that a lot of the things that I am spearheading or attaching my name too hard to be something that represents blackness,” Philip said.
The 3-day film festival is expected to feature 47 film screenings from around the world including approximately 22 Grenadian content creators drawing attention to black experiences and culture. These films will be displayed at various locations in Grenada including Lavo Lanes, Movie Palace-Excel Plaza, Deluxe Cinema and Grenville.
Philip believes Grenada can be a hub for emerging filmmakers to export their work due to the island’s unique history and culture.
“I hope this is the beginning of us having a very nice collaborative community here among artists. I have experience in both places and it will be nice for things that I know to share it with emerging filmmakers here in Grenada and so a year from now, two years from now or even five years from now, the dialogue and the kind of material that is coming out of Grenada has the space on the international market.”
Prior to the official opening of the 12°N61°W Grenadian Film Festival in May, there will be various industry-focused workshops, featuring international producers and facilitators from around the Caribbean region and North America. Starting on 29 April, there will be a workshop on “Film Budgeting/Scheduling” facilitated by Leslie Ann Caton of Fixer Films which will be followed by an afternoon workshop on “How to pitch your ideas” and “Raising money” facilitated by film director Christina Raia of Seed & Spark.
On 29 April Shelley Waldorf of Elan Grenada will facilitate a workshop on Film/Stage Character makeup while Raia will again host another workshop in the afternoon on how to distribute your film. The workshops will conclude on 2 May with Trinidadian writer, filmmaker, and educator Stacia Yearwood facilitating a workshop on Scriptwriting and Story Development.
In the end, Philip hoped that a database of filmmakers can be created in Grenada. “If we get the reception necessary, then I would love to come again and do more workshops to prepare people on how to get their projects in places and spaces, and I am hoping to have a database of creators here,” she said.
Emerging filmmakers or those just interested in the field can visit their website www.1261filmfestival.com for full workshops and film schedule and details on the registration process.