Antigua-Barbuda Renews Commitment to Travelling Caribbean Film Showcase

Caption: (L-R) Antigua and Barbuda were represented at the Cuba meeting on the Travelling Caribbean Film Showcase by new Film Commissioner Bert Kirchner, Mitzi and Howard Allen of HAMAFilms Antigua; with support from the Cuban Film Institute (ICAIC). (HAMAFilms Photo)


Published: 8th July, 2017 

HAVANA, Cuba — Antigua and Barbuda has recommitted to supporting the Travelling Caribbean Film Showcase (TCFS), which is a platform for sharing quality audio-visual content from across the region.

Howard and Mitzi Allen of HAMAFilms Antigua recently attended the meeting of the coordinating committees in Havana, Cuba, to share their experience of producing the TCFS on behalf of the ministry of culture with support from the Cuban embassy in Antigua and Barbuda.

Bert Kirchner, the newly appointed film commissioner in the ministry of culture was also in attendance and signed on to the agreement to provide the financial support requested from each Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country by the Cuban Film Institute.

Kirchner in his presentation said, “The travelling film showcase, properly executed, is a great platform to introduce, educate and sensitize our government, business stakeholders and our population …to the world of film.”

The film commissioner added that many opportunities were available within the film industry and was “a means of developing national pride and identity. I firmly believe that support will come through understanding and in this regard the film showcase is a great tool to reach that goal.” He confirmed his government’s commitment to provide the full annual financial support to host the showcase.

In their presentation to the committee, the HAMA team shared the successes and challenges of hosting the film showcase in Antigua and Barbuda. Since 2010, more than 1,800 students and adults have been able to watch the movies free of cost at local venues across Antigua and Barbuda. Howard and Mitzi Allen have also coordinated screenings of the films in the showcase at the Alliouagana Festival of the Word on Montserrat in 2012 and 2016.

They are recommending that, to increase the number of people who can see the films, the National Festival Commission incorporates the event into its calendar of activities for the week leading up to the independence celebration. During that time, special screenings can be held for the schools. They are also recommending that earlier and more intensive promotion of the screenings be done at least two weeks in advance with banners, posters and trailers on local television.

“As independent filmmakers, we see the value in sustaining the TCFS because being able to see each other’s work from across the region and the diaspora brings us closer together. As the presenter Clarence Rolle from The Bahamas said, we are different and yet the same,” Mitzi Allen shared.

Film director Howard Allen added that “filmmaking is now a part of our social development as a people and for independent producers the TCFS is an excellent tool for distribution.”

There have been seven editions of the Travelling Caribbean Film Showcase since its inception in 2006. It has been called the most significant regional action for the promotion of the Caribbean cinema and audio-visual in the region and in other areas of the world. The films are shown free of cost to audiences and have enabled thousands of viewers in the host countries to gain knowledge of the diversity and similarities of Caribbean cultural identities and also historical and social realities.

Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Colombia, Curacao, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Haiti, Cayman Islands, Panama, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, St Barts, St Maarten, and Trinidad and Tobago all coordinate TCFS events.

The eighth edition of the Travelling Caribbean Film Showcase will be announced once the new submissions have been curated.