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Lights! Camera! Calabash!: Calabash 2012 Kicks Off with Award Winning Film


The Calabash International Literary Festival makes its highly anticipated return after a one-year break in 2011. Rather than a traditional launch, Calabash is staging a pre-festival event with the acclaimed film Kinyarwanda, by Jamaican-born writer and director Alrick Brown, on Saturday, May 5, 2012.

Kinyarwanda is the 2011 Sundance Festival World Audience Award Winner, and certainly will provide a good start to this year’s staging which celebrates Jamaica’s 50th year of Independence under the theme Jubilation. The Calabash International Literary Trust is teaming up with the Jamaica Film Producers to stage two events around the film.

Kinyarwanda will be screened at Redbones the Blues Cafe, at 7:00pm. Earlier in the day, there will be a workchat where Brown will discuss the process from script to screen with members of the local film community. The workchat takes place from 9:00am to 3:00pm, at the JAMPRO training room. In keeping with the Calabash philosophy, both events will be free and open to the public.

Justine Henzell, Programme Director of Calabash, explained that the festival chose to use the film as its pre-launch event as it is a well-told story, an element that Calabash values in all forms. “As Colin Channer said, not all stories can be told in a three minute song and not all stories are best told in a book,” she explained.
Produced by Darren Dean, Tommy Oliver, & Alrick Brown and with Executive Producer Ishmael Ntihabose, Kinyarwanda bears the distinction of being the first feature film about the Rwanda genocide of 1994 that has been conceived and financed by Rwandan artists. In a style similar to that used by Crash, Pulp Fiction and Amores Perros, Kinyarwanda knits together six stories that look at human resilience. The film is based on true accounts from survivors who had taken refuge from the slaughter at the Grand Mosque of Kigali.

Henzell explains that Brown came to Calabash’s attention through founder and former artistic director of the festival Colin Channer. She explains that his work is ideally suited to Calabash as well as the One People documentary which she is co-producing. Henzell explains that in this time of jubilation, it is a good time for us to take note of a Jamaican who is making a big name for himself. “He was in a competition with 1100 films, this was his first film, shot in 16 days wit a limited EU grant, so his success is just tremendous,” she says.
 While the daytime event will be better suited for film producers and aspiring filmmakers, the general public will also get a chance to interact with Brown as the Redbones screening will be followed by a question and answer segment with the director.