Barbados proposes the use of film to tell the story of the Caribbean
In order to tell the real story of the Caribbean and help spread the promotion of Caribbean holidays to extend to a worldwide appeal, the Barbadian Minister of Cultrue has called upon Barbadian and Caribbean filmmakers to develop films about the Caribbean
For the promotion of Barbados holidays and with the purpose of telling the story of the Caribbean, Barbadian and Caribbean filmmakers are being encouraged to develop their own product to tell the story of the region and its contribution to the Americas.
The call came from Barbados Minister of Community Development and Culture, Steve Blackett, who cited the success of African and Indian movies as products, which have developed their own niche market. The same practice in the Caribbean could further help with the promotion of Caribbean holidays, enriching their value and letting worldwide travellers know what the region is truly all about
Blackett speaking at the opening of the Caribbean Tales Film Festival Symposium in Barbados pointed out that in a short space of time the term "African movie" has become accepted in the Barbadian vernacular, noting that while the majority of these films were mass-produced, there was no doubt of their popularity among Barbadian viewers.
"Could it be that this popularity is sparked by the fact that they give Barbadians an opportunity to see themselves reflected on the screen? That they allow them to see situations which are often reminiscent of their own reality - the interaction between family members, between neighbours, for instance?" he asked.
Blackett also maintained that seeking to attract American audiences should not be the primary goal of Caribbean film producers but rather to attract a wider scope of viewers from all corners of the planet.
"We in the Caribbean [must] develop our own idiom. Our product must be easily identifiable... I am not sure that it would be a practical approach to try to reach the whole American market. Is such a goal attainable? Would we have the money to invest in such an undertaking?" he asked again
According to the Culture Minister, within the wider market there are many persons of African descent who would be able to relate to Caribbean films and would be willing audiences, as a result they may want to embark on Caribbean holidays to get a real taste of what they saw on screen. He added that regional filmmakers should not be limited to the feature film Hollywood blockbuster model to recount the history of Caribbean people, but could utilise documentaries, docu-dramas, and television mini-series to appeal to travellers and viewers worldwide.
"The story of the people of the Caribbean has never been adequately told... Our filmmakers must document the story of the contribution which we in the region have made to the development, not only of this hemisphere, but also to the development of Europe," - Blackett opined.
It is for this reason, he suggested, that his Ministry has sought to have the historic city of Bridgetown and its Garrison inscribed on the prestigious UNESCO World Heritage List, giving worldwide travellers another reason to take Barbados holidays.
"We see that there is an imbalance that needs to be redressed. We have to start first of all by telling a balanced story of the region to ourselves, [and] to our young people, because we have been languishing for too long in an atmosphere of insecurity and inferiority," the Culture Minister stressed.
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