Local production to premiere at international film festival

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(Photos courtesy Antigua Film Academy)
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The Antigua Film Academy is off to the premiere of its short film, “Nobody Hit Me Pickney” which has been accepted and will make its debut at Commffest Film Festival in Toronto, Canada from September 15 – 22, 2022.

“Nobody Hit Me Pickney” explores the pros and cons of corporal punishment. The topic is presented from the point of view of the students who not only wrote the story, but did the filming and editing of the movie.

In a press release, organisers said the students are very excited about the opportunity to have their work seen outside of Antigua and some of them are looking forward to the opportunity to travel to the film festival in Canada.

President of Commffest, Sandie De Freitas has been instrumental in the revival of the Antigua and Barbuda International Film Festival which is now part of our Annual Independence Celebration.

“It is very important for the students to get these film festival experiences. It not only showcases their talents and exposes their rich culture but may lead to more international opportunities,” she said.

The Antigua Film Academy is the educational arm of the Motion Picture Association of Antigua and Barbuda. Spearheaded by Dr Noel Howell, AFA holds its annual training sessions in the month of July.

The film “Nobody Hit Me Pickney” is a group project. The story and events were hashed out in their two-week theory workshops and filmed over a period of time thereafter. The students usually meet at Christian Faith Academy for the two weeks leading up to Carnival. They then take a break from the classroom and shoot for at least the following two weeks.

“Carnival is a very special time to shoot for the students. They usually get passes and exemptions from the Carnival Association and are allowed to film the various carnival events. They have done documentaries on calypsonians, queen contestants, and teen splash contestants,” Dr Howell added.

They have even incorporated some of these events into a number of their feature films, most notable “Cry Cry” in 2016. That year, two of the students, Abigail Piper and Jamal Gordon, won the Mr and Ms Teen Splash Competition.

This annual production has been free of cost to the students and the distinguishing factor is that every year, the students produce a feature film, short film, or a documentary.

Dr Howell said the goal is not just to teach the students the theory of filmmaking, but also to give them firsthand experience.

A lot of entities hold workshops and at the end of it the participants walk away with a wealth of knowledge and that is the end of it, but not so with AFA as having films at the end of their training is just as important as the knowledge obtained in the workshops.

“It is very important for the students to see their work on the big screen,” Dr Howell explained.

This year’s Film Academy will run from July 11 to 22 at Christian Faith Academy, for the in-class sessions, then the students will be filming across the island.

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