Exploring the Artistic Side of St. Lucians

Ed Umoja Herman is the founder of Piton International Film Festival. His wife Dr Kathleen E. Walls serves as vice president. On Monday the couple hosted their third festival here, and took the opportunity to unload some exciting news. Said Herman: “If St. Lucians are to get on the world stage, we have to make sure we have the required skills. This year we have several actors and actresses to run our boot camp for us.”

The line-up for the week included Batshidi Moeti, the second highest-ranking poet in Botswana, who entertained the audience at the grand master camp of International Poetry & Arts Jam at Blue Hotel on Tuesday.

Attif Lanier, writer, producer and actor, conducted a film-making workshop called ‘From Start To Finish’ which concentrated on the process from concept to production. “There is more than one way to skin a cat,” he mused. For those curious about the use of cell phones in film-making this workshop was heaven-sent.


The Piton International Film Festival team at the media launch.

There were also the famous: Tanya Thompson from New York, the first American woman to be promoted to a director title at the Daytime Emmy Awards, and Jacinth Sutphin who starred in films such as ‘Diary of a Badman’ and who taught aspiring actors everything, from the nature of acting to why one would consider it as a career. She introduced techniques, discussed head shots, resumes, the business of acting, tips on how to get started and basic movie-making procedures.

“We are excited to meet the people of Saint Lucia and to share our talents,” said Sutphin. “ We will be doing some location scouting to shoot some feature films down here. We really want to show you how to pursue your dream, to find your purpose.”

Rosemary Wilson conducted a writers’ workshop on Tuesday. An interesting master class in Caperiora dance was taught by Professora Amazonas.

Other activities included video screenings, documentaries and movies from nine countries, all hosted by Caribbean Cinemas.

At the media launch Benny Chitolie represented two groups: the local Association of Professional Martial Artistes and the North American Federation of Martial Arts. The organisations will be involved in next year’s action movie creations, expected to be “one of the biggest film events staged in the Caribbean.” Close to twenty countries will be participating, including the UK.

International jazz vocalist and pianist Shayne Frederick also contributed to the workshop that kicked off with a Meet and Greet at the Rooftop Café lounge in Castries.

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