Martin Massiah and Omari Joseph, Guyanese who participated in the Caribbean Pitch Tank used their creative skills to delve into film production and copped first and fifth places, respectively, at the Caribbean Pitch Tank.
A group of regional applicants participated in virtual Film, Animation and Music Production training in 2022 and benefited from the expertise of well renowned film writers, producers and directors at the Caribbean Pitch Tank, a release by the Forward Ever Foundation said.
The project was conceptualized by the Forward Ever Foundation and funded by Caribbean Development Bank (CDB). This project aims to help Caribbean youths (ages 13 to 29) by equipping them with skills for employability. Particularly, this project focused on skills in the areas of film, music and animation, using training and mentoring techniques. Christopher Din Chong, Chairman of the Forward Ever Foundation, is the brainchild behind The Caribbean Pitch Tank.
Massiah who is the first place (male) winner said he used the concept of culture, music and film as tools of empowerment, rather than as traditional forms of entertainment.
For his pitch, he highlighted the indigenous culture and promoted youths and women.
“It came from my experience working on a film project in a gold mining community located in the rainforests in Guyana.
“I wanted to share the Guyanese and Caribbean stories through film,” he said.
Massiah also said he admires the work of the CDB and CIIF. According to Massiah, the organisations are “setting the framework for youths across the Caribbean to do what we love in a sustainable and strategic way”.
“We have so much value to share with the world, and they are giving us an opportunity to bring wealth and development to our communities,” he said.
Meanwhile, Joseph, who secured fifth place, said his pitch was about Guyana’s forgotten cultural practices. He said he intends to make an impact in the film industry.
“My goal is to build a media production business that delivers provocative, inspirational and culturally impactful content,” Joseph said.
The other winners Andrea Dennison, a Belizean who got the Top Female Pitch, Joshua Harrow from St Lucia who placed third and Ashad Brooks from Anguilla who placed fourth.
Dennison’s animated film is called “Bow” and is set in the future, emphasising the negative effects on the Caribbean Sea due to issues such as pollution, climate change and harmful activities such as overfishing.
The third place winner said he has already begun production on his film called ‘Primodials’ which centres on three omnipotent beings – Darkness, Light and Love. His hope that that the film will capture the interest of Netflix.
The fourth place winner said he learned a lot about storytelling in the training. He wrote a story called ‘Crazed’. Brooks intends to improve his craft to create a franchise through storytelling and art.
Two of the finalists are currently working with Los Angeles based filmmaker Mason Richards. Richards said he used his time working with the talented youths “to encourage them to curate their stories and make them specific to their lives and experiences, living and growing up in the Caribbean diaspora because the world needs to be enlightened, entertained and educated by our truths.”