A local production previewed at the international film festival

(Photos courtesy of Antigua Film Academy)

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The Antigua Film Academy is on its way to the premiere of its short film, “Nobody Hit Me Pickney”, which has been accepted and will debut at the Commffest Film Festival in Toronto, Canada, September 15-22, 2022.

“Nobody Hit Me Pickney” explores the pros and cons of corporal punishment. The subject is presented from the point of view of the students who not only wrote the story, but carried out the filming and editing of the film.

In a press release, the organizers said that the students were very excited to see their work outside of Antigua and that some of them were looking forward to the opportunity to travel to the film festival in Canada.

President of Commffest, Sandie De Freitas was instrumental in reviving the Antigua and Barbuda International Film Festival, which is now part of our annual Independence Day celebration.

“It is very important for students to have these film festival experiences. Not only does this showcase their talents and expose their rich culture, but it can lead to more international opportunities,” she said.

The Antigua Film Academy is the educational arm of the Motion Picture Association of Antigua and Barbuda. Led by Dr. Noel Howell, the AFA organizes its annual training sessions in July.

The film “Nobody Hit Me Pickney” is a group project. The story and events were summarized in their two-week theory workshops and filmed over a period of time afterwards. Students typically gather at Christian Faith Academy for the two weeks leading up to Carnival. They then take a break from the classroom and tour for at least the next two weeks.

“Carnival is a very special filming moment for students. They usually get passes and exemptions from the Carnival Association and are allowed to film the various Carnival events. They have made documentaries about calypsonians, queens and teenage girls, Dr Howell added.

They’ve even incorporated some of these events into a number of their feature films, including the most notable “Cry Cry” in 2016. That year, two of the students, Abigail Piper and Jamal Gordon, won the Mr and Ms competition. Teen Splash.

This annual production is free for students and the distinguishing factor is that each year students produce a feature film, a short film or a documentary.

Dr Howell said the aim is not just to teach students film theory, but also to give them first-hand experience.

Many entities organize workshops and at the end the participants leave with a wealth of knowledge and that’s it, but not with the AFA because having films at the end of their training is just as important as the knowledge obtained in workshops.

“It’s very important for students to see their work on the big screen,” Dr. Howell explained.

This year’s Film Academy will take place July 11-22 at the Christian Faith Academy, for in-class sessions and then students will film across the island.

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