Caribbean news. This week marked a significant day in the cultural landscape of the Caribbean community in the United Kingdom. On Thursday 27th March history was made when, Keeping
Stratford Picture House was the scene for what appeared to be a never ending flow of Caribbean movie lovers. Some enthusiastic and ultra nationalist patrons were decked off in Barbadian (Bajan) colours, blue, black and yellow, as a conspicuous display of their pride and support for something authentically Bajan.
Organised by UK film distributor Sankofa Televisual this premiere was planned carefully with particular emphasis placed on getting the logistics and the presentations right and a splendid job was done indeed. However, they very early in the evening’s proceedings realised the full intensity of the Caribbean community’s appetite for home grown film productions by having to place non-ticket holders on waiting lists.
Among the VIPs that attended was none other than acting Barbados High Commissioner H.E Donville Johnson JP, made an appearance accompanied by several key members of his senior staff to show support. Other dignitaries included High Commissioner for Antigua and Barbuda, H.E. Dr Carl B. Roberts CMG and Second Secretary to the Dominica High Commission, Ms Janet Charles.
The film, “Keeping Up With The Joneses: The Movie” is a spin-off from the award-winning hit television series of the same name which has been shown on satellite and cable television every day in Britain since May 2013 and has been very popular with viewers. So much so that British visitors to Barbados have often mobbed the actors in the street!
It is no wonder these characters were such hot property in Barbados as the cast which comprised actors Daniel Best, Rotchell Gibbons, Kayrie Rice-Smith and Erskine Niles as well as director / producer Rommel Hall were equally mobbed at the Picture House after patrons realised how personable and friendly they were.
What was also evident was their knack for spontaneous humour and they all seemed to be endowed with this talent which most certainly contributed, in large part, to the success of the series and movie. They are all, including director Rommel Hall, naturally funny!
British Caribbean creator / director / writer of web series All About the McKenzies Samuell Benta, was also featured as a successful Caribbean film maker in the United Kingdom.
Director Hall said the cast had great fun filming the many episodes and jelled immediately from the very first episode and regard themselves as a family. Though they were not able to attract funding for the project they persevered using their own finance and with the help of UK based Sankofa Televisual managed to stage a memorable showing that may hopefully go some way in attracting influential investors for other Hall-e-Wood productions.
Daniel said “It is nothing short of a dream come true and he considers himself blessed to be among such a group of extremely talented people”. The cast took pictures with many admirers before shooting off to their hotel following what they said was a very tiring but fantastic experience.
Sankofa Televisual promises to release other Caribbean films very shortly. For more details click on image: