Monday, 26 November 2012 02:30
By caribarena news
Antigua St. John's - President of the Motion Picture Association of Antigua & Barbuda (MPAAB) Bert Kirchner has dubbed the second annual Antigua & Barbuda International Film Festival a “huge success”.
Addressing the media at a small gathering on Sunday, Kirchner said the event has grown by leaps and bounds, having been well received in both the areas of the film features, the award ceremony and after party.
Awards were presented on Saturday night in seven categories including Best Feature Film, Best Short Film, Best Documentary, Best Animated Film, Best Music Video, Best Caribbean Film and Best Student Film.
“The entire week I think was great… I think it was an extremely successful festival 2012 and we are looking forward to 2013,” Kirchner said.
He added that the level of participation locally has increased notably, especially in the area of seminars. There is however still much to be desired in the area of the actual screening, with uneven attendance in this regard.
“I would have loved to see more people… Hopefully next year they would come and show a little more interest in it (the festival),” the MPAAB President said.
Renowned film producer Mitch Sacharoff, who has been working with the MPAAB over the past two years to build and promote the initiative by sourcing the actors and other similar people, said this year not only had a lot more on the agenda, but brought a lot more films and people from around the world of film to the shores of Antigua & Barbuda.
“I think it is just going to keep growing. And we need to get the word out to the people on the island that they can come and interact with the filmmakers and attend the seminars even if they are not into making a film themselves,” Sacharoff said.
Actor Mekhi Phifer said that based on the past week he would certainly recommend the twin-island state to anyone based on beauty alone. But from the perspective of film, he sees enormous potential for growth and innovation.
Phifer said it must be understood and accepted that as with any new venture the festival must experience “growing pains” as it moves to build awareness and creating the “positive” energy it needs to propel forward and become known as an integral part of the country’s calendar year.GOING FORWARD
Speaking on the way forward, celebrated actor Omar Benson said the next step for Antigua to is simply that ... another step.
He recommended that the MPAAB, with the support of the government and the people, should simply continue with the initiative until it gains a footing of its own. “People here need to take the risk and have the experience and fun of creating your own stuff… it is going to get better and only way it is going to get better is through practice. Practice really does make perfect and every year the film festival will get better.”
“All it takes is one to put Antigua & Barbuda on the global scene. Its wide open for you (Antigua). The more that happens is the more that is going to happen because in the film industry there is a saying that ‘work begets work’. So the more you put in the more you are going to get,” Benson said.
Kirchner said Antigua has certainly grown by leaps and bounds over last year and it is now that he could really call the festival “international”, considering the recent admission of the IFAAB into the Without-a-Box international film community.
He said the idea of the MPAAB is to attract the right people, including both actors and producers and directors, to come to Antigua and see the potential for both cinematography and country marketing.
“This is why we started up our first film academy for youngsters, which has already become part of our local school curriculum. We are very happy to create an avenue for artsy youngsters with a light at the end of the tunnel for them to get involved in film and get their creativity out,” Kirchner said.
The Association President said he was 100 percent certain that the initiative will grow to the levels achieved by the Bahamas and Jamaica as premier and recognized paradise locations for film production.
“I am 100 percent certain that we are going to succeed with that. We are going to attract film companies and we are going to get some more income because tourism alone can’t really do it. It is too fragile at this point with the world economy. The film industry is growing every year by 8 to 10 percent… and by this year it will be over $600 billion dollars. And we want some of the crumbs, since it might be too ambitious to say we want a whole slice,” Kirchner said.