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Songs of Redemption and Kingston Paradise Score Big at Caribbean Tales 2013

Kingston Paradise written and directed by Mary Wells earned the Audience Award

When the 8th installment of the Caribbean Tales film showcase in Toronto ended recently, 7 winners were declared from the 10 feature-length and 35 short films entered into competition. Among them were two Jamaican films: Kingston Paradise and Songs of Redemption.

Miguel Galofre and Amanda Sans earned the Caribbean Spirit Award for Best Feature Documentary with Songs of Redemption, a film which explores the impact of the music programme in Jamaica’s general penitentiary. Songs of Redemption was described as “an inspiring illustration of rehabilitation, rediscovery and repair” by juror Erica Henry Jackman.

Mary Wells’ Kingston Paradise earned two nods. The film, which had its world premiere at Caribbean Tales, proved itself an audience favourite, snagging the Audience Award. It also received kudos from the jury who gave it a special mention for Best Narrative Feature. Wells’ film received high praise for its cinematography, production values and performances.

However, it was the Dominican Republic/ US film, Elliott Loves, written and directed by Terracino, which reeled in the Best Narrative Feature award. Elliott Loves gives two takes on the life of a young gay man, first as he attempts to bond with his single-mother and later as a young man looking for love in New York City. The film has been hailed for its quirky and engaging approach.

Four shorts received awards, two narrative films and two documentary. Shirley Bruno’s Things I See (Haiti/ United Kingdom) and Dominique Telemaque’s Cinco Minutos Para Mi Pais (Haiti/ Dominican Republic) earned nods for best narrative shorts while Ryan Singh’s Mom, and Princess Simone Donelan’s Footprints copped awards for best documentary shorts.

“The winning short films were cinematically shot, with brilliant storytelling, and each succeeded in opening a window on Caribbean life,” said Malinda Francis, head of the Showcase’s Shorts programme.

Karen Chapman swiped The Perfect Pitch Award for her documentary film Cocoon. The Perfect Pitch Award results from the Caribbean Tales incubator programme and the awardee was selected by an audience of 60 at the Caribbean Pitch Breakfast on Sept 8, 2013.

The Caribbean Tales 2013 was a month long programme running from 17 August, through to 14 September, 2013. The showcase was held at the Harbourfront, Toronto, Canada.