Clement Richards (2nd fr l) in the back row. Alwin Bully is in the center, front row

Clement Richards (2nd from left) in the back row; Dr. Alwin Bully is in the center, front row

Dominican Clement Richards was among screenwriters who received Production Awards at the end of a Regional Screenwriters Retreat in Antigua over the weekend.

Richards was awarded for his short film entitled “The Gangsta”. Guadeloupian Michelle Robin Clerc was awarded for “Florentine” while St. Lucian Davina Lee was awarded for “The Knot.” Chris Burton from Martinique also received an Honorable Mention for his film entitled “Can’t You Do Anything Good? (Dear Mom)”.

The retreat was organised by the OECS Competitive Business Unit and the Association of Independent Cinema of Guadeloupe (APCAG).

The OECS and the French Overseas Territories in the Caribbean (FCORs) will provide financial and logistical support to the four awardees to produce their films, which are expected to be of a high production quality, the release stated.

It added that the completed films will subsequently be screened at regional and international film festivals including the Trinidad & Tobago Film Festival and and the Festival Régional et International du Cinéma de Guadeloupe (FEMI), among others.

Further, the films will be distributed to content buyers and consumers regionally and internationally.

“This is the most significant production and marketing support package awarded for film production within the OECS to date. It is also the first time that our French neighbors were so intimately integrated within a regional training programme, which is a good omen for the future,” the release stated.

The four screen writers were part of a group of 13 writers from St. Kitts, Antigua, Dominica, St. Lucia and Grenada, as well as Guadeloupe and Martinique. These persons participated in an intense eight-month training programme in story and script development for short films, with a focus on social and lifestyle issues in the region.

Script Assessors gave high commendation for all screenplays submitted and were reportedly impressed with the varying styles and film genres which were employed. They also praised the pitches made by each participant in support of their script, especially since the latter was a new experience for each presenter.

The OECS/APCAG programme began in January 2015 with a 12-day Writers Retreat in Guadeloupe, followed by an intense eight-month script development process which was supervised and guided by accomplished screenwriter and filmmaker Nicole Brooks of Canada. Brooks served as creative guide and script doctor for each of the thirteen participant through regular contact via Skype calls and email exchanges, which was a remarkable accomplishment. Amber Chevennes from Jamaica also made an important contribution at the initial workshop in Guadeloupe.

Brooks was praised by workshop participants for her intuitive support and hands-on guidance which allowed each writer to discover and tell their unique story, some of which were of a personal and deeply emotive nature. The participants hope that she would in some way continue to be associated with the film development process in the Eastern Caribbean, a sentiment which Nicole reciprocated.

In addition, all participants in the programme were praised for their insightful and well-crafted stories by the assessors and workshop organisers.

The assessors of the completed screenplays were Film Producer Nina Vilus of Guadeloupe, Playwright and Writer Dobrene O’Marde of Antigua and Barbuda, and Writer and Cultural Activist Dr. Alwin Bully of Dominica.

The programme was funded partly with funds from the 10th European Development Fund (EDF) Regional Integration Programme for Trade in the OECS and the Regional Council of Guadeloupe.