HaMa Films takes another historic step with ‘Deep Blue’ screening in Barbuda

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By Carlena Knight

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Movie lovers and fans of HaMa Films Antigua on the sister island will get the opportunity to celebrate with the local production company as they are set to premiere their fifth feature film, ‘Deep Blue’.

This is the first time in its 30-year existence that HaMa Films will premiere any of their films in Barbuda.

HaMa Films — which stands for Howard and Mitzi Allen Films — is a husband-and-wife independent film and television production company founded in 1992.

Producer Mitzi Allen explained exactly why they chose to do something different.

“We just want to let Barbudans know and be ready for when we get there because we want to share this wonderful story which I believe will resonate with them. So, I am looking forward to sharing it there and we have to put Barbuda first.

“For the past 30 years, we have been back and forth to Barbuda. We have many friends there and distant relatives and over the years when we have done our films we have always premiered in Antigua and poor Barbuda perhaps would see it a year or two later and when we get there, they would say what took you so long and so, we thought to rectify something that we were wrong and we apologise, we are going to start with Barbuda first and we just thought it was a great way to celebrate,” Mitzi explained.

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Deep Blue, HaMa Films Antigua’s next feature film is expected to premiere this week on the sister isle.

The company produced their first feature film, ‘The Sweetest Mango’ in 2001 which became Antigua and Barbuda’s first locally produced feature film and the first indigenous film for the Eastern Caribbean.

They will be making their return to the big screen later this summer with ‘Deep Blue’.

The movie has been in the making for 10 years.

“We decided to do this movie because over the years we have been doing a lot of documentaries on the environment and we believe that they preach to the converted. So, Howard thought if we tell this story in the form of a feature film maybe people will start to take ownership of some of the issues surrounding conservation and development because it is not all black and white,” Mitzi added.

Howard is the screenwriter and director of the new film which focusses on bringing awareness to environmental issues.

The story is that of a Canadian marine biologist who is trying to help the residents of a small fishing village maintain their way of life. But the biologist ends up in conflict with a developer and members of the community because she is suggesting something new and revolutionary to the community, which is to stop fishing for a while in order to rebuild the fish stock, and what the developer is proposing is something that could deplete the fish stock.

“That’s one of the things we are trying to make come across in the film. These are very complex issues and with the fishermen, you can’t just tell them to stop fishing because that’s their living and so, if you are telling them to stop fishing what is going to be the thing that is going to take the place of the fishing? And then you have different players who have their own little secrets and their own little agendas. So, some people who appear to be saying one thing, in the background could be saying something completely different,” Howard explained.

“There are all these complex issues and we are kind of presenting these different people to you and showing you how this development is impacting their lives.”

Like many filmmakers in the region, the HaMa Films team came from the world of television.

Howard worked on the local television and cable channel scene and Mitzi from broadcast journalism in Canada. She is an award-winning journalist.

The screening will be held at the Sir McChesney George Secondary School on February 18 starting at 7pm.

Admission for students is $10 with popcorn and for adults $25 with refreshments.

Interested persons can also reserve their tickets by calling 776-3339.

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