Dancehall film scores big at WeBeat Festival
Patrons attending the movie night fare at the St James WeBeat Festival last week were treated to the stark and fascinating realities of Jamaica's dancehall experience with the screening of the acclaimed film, Hit Me With Music.
Several hundred adults thronged the open-air St James Amphitheatre to view the multiple award-winning documentary which formed part of the 2012 bpTT Community Cinergy series of free public screenings presented by the trinidad + tobago film festival (ttff). The St James screening was held in association with the St James Community Improvement Committee.
"The film was educational, entertaining and insightful. It is also very thought-provoking and it would be interesting to have older students experience it and get their views on the music and dance which they enjoy so much," said Crystal Prescod, a teacher at Mucurapo East Secondary School.
Released in 2012, the 74-minute Hit Me With Music was directed by Barcelona-born Miquel Galofré and was cleared for audiences 16 years and over. The film explores the various facets of dancehall culture, including feuds between rival musicians, skin bleaching and the risqué 'daggering' phenomenon. Superstar artistes such as Yellowman, the late Bogle, Elephant Man, Mavado and Vybz Kartel, the Gully and Gaza 'gods', dominate the film.
Danielle Jones, Corporate Communications Manager, bp Trinidad and Tobago, explained: "We are pleased that so many avid film lovers are taking advantage of the opportunity to experience these select films that would not normally be shown in the regular movie houses and cable channels. Dancehall music has a large following in Trinidad and Tobago and Hit Me With Music will certainly strike a chord with our local audiences."
In a question-and-answer session with the audience after the screening, director Galofré said he knew nothing about the Jamaican dancehall experience before he decided on doing the film. He said he became enamoured with the idea while working on a documentary, Why Do Jamaicans Run Fast?
Hit Me With Music won both the jury and audience awards for best documentary at the ttff 2011 screenings. It has been playing to enthusiastic audiences in both North America and Europe.
Melvina Hazard, director, community development, ttff, said she was "heartened by the tremendous response" from film lovers for the screening of the dancehall film. "We are happy that this cinergy between bpTT and the trinidad + tobago film festival is bearing positive results in all the communities we have reached out to. Of course, apart from bpTT, we are also grateful to all our sponsors for providing this opportunity," Hazard said.