Monday, April 22, 2019

Art is Life - From the Classroom to the Silver Screen

The University of the Virgin Islands Department of Communication, Art, Theatre and Music hosted of its first weekend-long Caribbean Film and Artistic Cinematic Festival this month. Theory inside the classroom blossomed onto the stage with two days of best in Caribbean film.

The cultural festival, which ran from April 6-7, featured original films by UVI students and local film enthusiasts. Caribbean artists and filmmakers from the Virgin Islands, Georgia, Texas, Colorado, Puerto Rico and Barbados screened their work and hosted presentations.

“Response to this first-time film event was extraordinary, and the film artists were eager to showcase their talents,” says Dr. Sharon Albert Honore, UVI Communication Department chair and festival coordinator. “The festival served as the primary fundraiser for our department and we are extremely grateful to the USVI community, local businesses and festival participants.”

UVI student participants and the other participants were judged separately in various categories. A panel of judges selected the following winners:

Most Creative Feature Film, “Under Her Wings,” Toni Lance, Narrator; Elizabeth Hertzfeldt-Kamprath, filmmaker. Funded by the Center for Environmental Filmmaking and The Neel Foundation.

Best Documentary Short, "Guasabara,” (subtitles) Roberto Lebron and Cristian Carretero, producers

Best Original Feature Film - "Proudly We Serve: VI Veterans of the Korean War," Joan Keenan (producer), Jean Picou (director)

Best Visual Art Film- “Three Baja’s Plastic Bottles,” Carla Bellot (animation producer, Julie McNeal (executive producer), Jehroum Wood (narrator), made possible by Waste O/* Resources Trust

Best in Show Music Video. "Lovely Wedding," Khalil James (producer)

Most Creative, Best Dramatic Short Film, "The Basis of Communication," Stephon Smith, (producer)

Community entry, (short), "Water Sustainability: HBCU Making & Innovative Showcase," sponsored by the National Science Foundation. George Ellis, producer

Best Production, Dramatic Short Film, “Yolanda,” Cristian Carretero, producer/director

Best in show, movie trailers. "Life at Traxco," "Dangers of the Tongue," "The Womanizer", & "The Rats," Raymon Richardson, producer.

“I enjoyed attending the Caribbean Film & Artistic Cinematic Festival, the films were thought-provoking and riveting,” said Robin Jones, Virgin Islands educator. “The festival provided a wide variety of filmmakers from various parts of the Caribbean along with varying perspectives," Jones added.

A group of eight graduating Communication majors were tasked with formatting and creating a film project for their senior seminar course. The final assignments were submitted for the festival competition and included:

“Nigerian Experience” by Techele Evans

“Culture of Dialect” by Nigencia James

“Journey to Moterhood” by Shereene Batiste

“Brotherhood Workshop” by Kristi Geaux

“Morning Glory” by Lanie Jno Batiste

“The Basis of Communication” by Stephon Smith

   “Standards of Beauty” by Kyla Joseph

  “UVI Recruitment by Asia Vetter

The first-place winner, Stephon Smith traveled to STX to receive his award which included a certificate, token of appreciation from Crucian Gold Jewelry and $150 cash prize.

The festival also featured interactive ‘Sip and Paint’ sessions which were conducted by visual artists Don Matthews from Atlanta and Danica David from St. Croix. “The Community’s response to the “Sip and Paint” was great,” Dr. Honore says.

“Several guests paid to come both days and practice their artistic skills. Everyone took home their own artwork and also worked together to create a mini art piece," Honore states.

She further explains, “The colorful designs form a ‘conch puzzle,’ and represent this years’ theme: ‘Sound the Conch: Liberation though Film.’” The unique artwork was painted and signed by each participant.

Another highlight of the festival were panel discussions that included media industry experts such as CBS USVI correspondent Kellie Meyer, commercial artist, Din Matthews, digital marketing executive Lawrence LeBee, editor Taylor H., educator and business owner Dr. Glennis Gaines, and film animator Carla Bellot. This group addressed a number of relevant topics including Construction and Deconstruction of Rap Music Videos; Creating an Effective Storyboard (film); Marketing Techniques, Animation and 2D motion.

The curtains were brought down with the closing credits, in the form of a Sunset SoirĂ©e, hosted in part, by the Fred Hotel in Fredricksted, which marked the official close to the festival. Amidst colourful lights, food and music, awards were presented to participants, film winners, and sponsors. Among those in attendance were Senator Positive Nelson and his wife, Kimberley, Rick Grant, special projects coordinator in the Office of the Governor, who conveyed messages of support and encouragement to the participants. Grant is a UVI Communication graduate.

Honore stated that she received help from as far away as Philadelphia, Los Angeles and Denver and gave special thanks to creative consultants, Margarita Sweet, Fraser Kershaw and Toi Matthews.

The Caribbean Film and Artistic Cinematic Festival was made possible by generous sponsors, including: U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism, Virgin Islands Council on the Arts (VICA), Crucian Gold, V.I. Lottery, Cape Air, First Bank, CBS and ABC USVI News, and Economic Development Authority (EDA), Food Town, Gaines Family Dentistry (Georgia) and VI Christian Ministry (St. Thomas).