RISE film festival seeks out local talent

With the “creative industries” the hottest “trending” topic around these days and a seemingly renewed interest in the “arts,” one organization has seen it fitting to tap into the wealth of talent from within our youth for its latest venture.
RISE (St. Lucia) Inc, a non-profit, non-governmental organization established in 2007 dedicated to the healthy development of youth, is hosting a film festival. The event is geared toward attracting short films by young St Lucian artists with a  positive message for youth. With several of the island’s youth increasingly using new media as well as social networks to express themselves through audio visuals, it is felt that this latest initiative is quite timely.
According to Colin Weekes who is spearheading the film festival, already close to a dozen groups and individuals have expressed their interest in the activity which is expected culminate in an awards ceremony April 20, 2013 at Coco Palm, Rodney Bay. Ahead of that a number of screenings will take place at venues across the island.
“So far we are pretty happy with the response to the festival and we are encouraged by the fact that already a number of groups and individuals, close to a dozen, intend on participating,” Weekes says. “RISE has engaged a number of youth groups around the island as well as schools through the Ministry of Education and after school programs here as a way of mobilizing participation in the festival,” he added.
Ahead of the event, a number of workshops are being held as way of increasing the potential of the final products and allowing participants to sharpen their skills and gain valuable knowledge.
So far, the organizers have held workshops on copyright through ECCO and a class on scripting with Michele Serieux.
One area Weekes is particularly excited about is the acceptance of an invitation by a representative of Raindance who will conduct a master class with the young film makers. Raindance is a UK based institution which trains thousands of new and established filmmakers each year, in all aspects of film.
Among its high profile alumni are Christopher Nolan (Batman Begins) and David Yates (Harry Potter). Raindance has also set up the Independent Film Trust, a charity to help support the film festival, the BIFA awards as well as film training for disadvantaged kids and of course its very own Raindance Film Festival since 1993.
The goal of the “Rise-Youth Film Festival” organizers say, is to provide an avenue for young St Lucian filmmakers to showcase their work, improve their skills and network through workshops and informal sessions with professional artists, viewing parties and the awards ceremony. The event which is expected to become an annual one is expected to be expanded to include additional educational opportunities.
One of the main sponsors of the Rise Youth Film Festival is Courts (St.Lucia) Ltd, title sponsor, offering fabulous prizes for the top three places. The first place will walk away with a top of the line laptop, second place will receive an iPad and a digital camera will go to the third place.
As title sponsors, participants wishing to produce a film on Courts, can do so for a chance to win the “Courts You Can” Award, which is a Digital package comprising a laptop, digital camera and hand held video camera. This prize will go to the film which best captures the spirit of Courts!
Filmmakers are invited to take part in remaining workshops and RISE will accept films to be included in the festival and for consideration for awards until 28th March 2013.
The event is also being supported by UNDP and is endorsed by the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Industries and the CDF. Other sponsors include Coco Palm, Holiday Taxi, Wingz N Tings and Excel Signs.

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