This year’s independence celebrations encompassed the participation of citizens from around the island including bikers, athletes, youth and filmmakers. The Caribbean Youth Film Festival (CYFF), in collaboration with the St. Lucia National Independence Anniversary Committee, organised an Independence Film Competition for which twelve short films were submitted. The CYFF will host a number of different activities throughout the year, the competition being just one of them. This year’s Independence Film Competition was open to people of all ages, no matter their level of experience. Organisers stated that they were interested in finding filmmakers who were capable of expressing in innovative ways the things that make Saint Lucia truly unique.
On March 4, 2017 an awards ceremony was hosted at The Yard for the Independence Film Competition. The films were judged based on a criteria of keeping to the theme, cinematography and how the message was used to portray Saint Lucia’s uniqueness. The panel of judges included experienced filmmakers from Saint Lucia and England. Each film lasted between five and ten minutes. The competitors were separated into two age categories: under-eighteen and over-eighteen.
Colin Weekes, director of CYFF, declared that he was delighted to see how different people viewed Saint Lucia. Their themes included positive and encouraging messages showcasing Saint Lucia’s scenery, our people, our traditions, and other societal highlights and lowlights, some even touching on the impact of crime on the island.
The ceremony started with a screening session of the twelve intriguing short films. All participants were recognized and it was highlighted that the age range was between twelve and sixty years. The quality of films, especially from amateur participants, was a surprise to the judges; this made it difficult to choose the winners. When the defining moment finally occurred, the winners were announced as Andres Devaux in the under-eighteen category and Pierre Chester in the over-eighteen category. Both Devaux and Chester received phones sponsored by FLOW. Obtaining the second place prizes (sponsored by FLOW and Sandals) were Kerbriyan Charlery for under-eighteen and Wyndell Neptune for over-eighteen.
Other participants did not seem at all disappointed, probably owing to the fact that the Caribbean Youth Film Festival has a number of events, including workshops, to build film knowledge. They mentioned looking forward to taking up new challenges in film and being thankful for the experience of the competition.
The short films are all available for viewing on the Caribbean Youth Film Festival Facebook page. Take a look at the filmmakers’ skill and concepts of what makes Saint Lucia unique!