Jamaica Gleaner
Published: Tuesday | October 13, 2009
Home : Entertainment
More work needed for Jamaica World Cinema Showcase
Like many businesses in our haphazardly plotted country, Finnigan's Winery is not where you might expect it to be, or look the way you might expect it to look. It is not nestled in Walker's Wood or found in the foothills of Portland. It is located, quite unceremoniously, on Cranbourne Avenue, St Andrew, a cork's throw from Eastwood Park Road. Surrounded by houses, it looks like a house, because it once was a house.

Last weekend, as on any other, Cranbourne Avenue offered little of interest - dogs at their gates, cars on the curb and men at leisure. But inside Finnigan's Winery, a world of aural and visual exploration awaited anyone with $450, as it hosted the first Jamaica World Cinema Showcase (JWCS '09).

The showcase, which ran October 7-10, was the brainchild of Lloyd Laing, a tall but slight 32-year-old with a love for cultural adventures. Laing began by soliciting independent filmmakers, both local and foreign, via email in May. A few months of persistence yielded more than 100 submissions, most of the fresh work making its way around the international festival circuit.

The screenings

From those hundred or so, Laing curated 15 films to showcase, hailing from as far as South Africa and as near as Cuba. Others came from the Americas - Venezuela, Brazil, Canada and the US. Among the screenings, Before the Music Dies, an Andrew Shapter documentary on the American pop music industry; The Corporation, treating conglomerates as psychiatric cases; and a sneak peek at Bashment Granny, Paul O. Beale's upcoming film adaptation of the hugely popular local play.

Patrons sat in an open-air brick courtyard at the rear of the property, with wine in ample supply. A chef appeared intermittently to stock a buffet table. All the prerequisites for an evening of well-heeled entertainment were in place. But the night The Gleaner attended, most of the chairs remained empty, an indicator that despite months of dedication, Laing may still have a lot more work to do.

The best of JWCS '09 will be screened at the Reggae Film Festival in 2010.

- Keiran King

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