Soaring to new heights

BY RICHARD JOHNSON
Observer senior reporter
johnsonr@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, September 22, 2019

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Things continue to happen for Flight, the Jamaican short film written by Kia Moses and co-directed by Moses and Adrian McDonald.

The 13-minute film which was one of five such productions in the Short Film category of the American Black Film Festival (ABFF) in Miami in June of this year, is set to have its UK première on September 29.

Co-director Kia Moses is all excited about her “little” film making it across the Atlantic and being given this level of exposure. She explained to the Jamaica Observer that all the films in the HBO-sponsored short film category at ABFF will be screened at the first ABFF Global Film Series London to be held at Picturehouse Central, a state-of-the-art seven-screen cinema located in Piccadilly Circus in London.

“For us it is very exciting to have our London première because one of the things I'm trying to do is build out my film network, both in the US and the UK, but based in the Jamaica. I am very passionate about staying in Jamaica and trying to whether bring business in or make things and export it, or write scripts here and then sell to the US or the UK. I'm very passionate about seeing what that can look like because I have been lucky enough to have multiple citizenship, so I am looking to how I can not just help myself but the film industry on a whole in Jamaica. How many projects can I get done and just be crossing those boundaries in the best way possible?” Moses explained.

Flight tells the story of a boy who wants to become an astronaut and travel to space, to be closer to his mother who died. His father did not support those aspirations in the beginning but after realising why his son dreamt of space travel, not only supported him, but became co-pilot. The film stars Jermaine “Zbek” Nelson, as well as child actors Roheim Phillips, Craig Robinson and Akalia Golding.

“In making the film I definitely did not think it would have this kind of reception because it was my very first screenplay, my very first time directing. I was trying to learn as I went along. I never went to film school, I majored in advertising in college so this was a very big leap of faith for me to finally go after my dream of also telling stories beyond sixty seconds. I was focussing on just trying to do the best first job possible. Once it was finished I was nervous about applying to international festivals with this little film from Jamaica, but I gave it a shot. I am very strategic from having an advertising background, so I did work out a little festival strategy. I got some great advice as well from people in my network when I asked for recommendations on festivals and the way I could approach the festivals. The strategy was to really target festivals that are more open to international content and created by women or black people as a starting point, and then include some of the more general festivals,” Moses shared.

This is not the first stop for Flight which has been having an impressive run at local and international film festivals since it was developed through the Propella initiative organised by the Jamaica Film Commission. Flight has been raked in a trove of awards, including Best Screenplay, Audience Award and Best in Festival at the Black Women Film Network in the United States. It also won Best Short Film and People's Choice at the Nouveau Regards Film Festival in Guadeloupe; Best Short Film at the Festival International du Film Panafricain in Cannes, France. Here in Jamaica, Flight swept five awards at this year's staging of Gatffest, where it took home Best of Gatffest, Spirit of Gatffest, Best Directing, Best Cinematography and Best Local Film.

“The benefits of doing the festival route is that you meet a lot of amazing people working in film, including studio execs. They are coming to see what's out there so you definitely get their attention. You also meet other filmmakers who may want to collaborate with you on other projects. There may also be that director who is looking for a writer, or a writer who is looking for a director, so its about building that network with your peers. Then the more awards you win the more doors are opened to you in terms of meetings that you will be able to have being on the radar. Plus if you are looking to make a feature film, which we are looking to make with Flight, it helps it helps with credibility and fund-raising,” said Moses.


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