St Lucian Michelle Serieux Making Waves In Caribbean Film-Making

Do you recall the days when film production was restricted to Hollywood? Those days are long gone! Today, Caribbean filmmakers have taken up the challenge; and guess what, they have done well and will continue to do well. How do I know?

Films such as The Mosquito Coast, Rain, Shottas and The Harder They Come demonstrate the film-making prowess of Caribbean film-makers. The best part about it is, today, females are also rising to the occasion – directing and producing movies as well. One such young lady, Michelle Serieux is making waves in the film-making industry with the joint production of the film series Ring Di Alarm!

Michelle Serieux Serieux is a St. Lucian-born writer/actress/director/producer and co-founder of New Caribbean Cinema (NCC). (NCC) is a collective group of young, innovative and talented film-makers who are passionate about their craft and therefore lend their different talents in a collective pool to optimize the production quality of each individual’s work. If you were impressed by that alone, let me tell you, they do it with no reliance on external funding! Currently, there are 6 members including founders Storm Saulter, mastermind behind award winning Jamaican film ‘Better Mus Come’.

Image Credit: open.uwi.edu

Serieux is not only talented at her work, but she possesses the requisite qualifications as well. Her rather impressive resume boasts UWI Mona and Edna Manley College. She is also an alumnus of Columbia University’s School of the Arts. This extensive training has given her a strong background in theatre. Interestingly, Serieux sees herself first as a performer, then as a film-maker; producer-writer-director; and from what we hear, however, she is simply a creative genius!

Image Credit: http://www.boomshots.com/

Here, in an interview with Tallawah, Serieux explains why Jamaican film aficionadas will have to wait a bit longer to see the film and how it’s been going so far:

TALLAWAH: Countless Jamaican film buffs were looking forward to an October 2012 premiere for Ring Di Alarm! . What’s caused the delay?

Serieux: The delay is a necessary evil. The NCC is covering the international festival-circuit strategically. The reason is, we may become ineligible for festivals if we were to screen anywhere else before, including home. This is why we have chosen to do a couple of festivals, and then do Jamaica.

TALLAWAH: When will we get a peek at the film?

Serieux: As you would imagine, attempting to find the exact date to premier any endeavour, let alone a movie is never an easy feat. At present, the exact date is unsure as varied dates are being explored. Rest assured though, Ring Di Alarm! Will definitely premiere in the first quarter of this year.

TALLAWAH: How has Ring Di Alarm! been received so far?

Serieux: The anxious anticipation that has been created around the film in Jamaica has surely been generated from the great reviews the film has been getting abroad. Ring Di Alarm! has been received exceptionally well both by the Jamaican Diaspora and foreigners as well.

Jamaicans abroad love and appreciate the fact that Jamaica is being brought back to them, albeit on the big screen. This is especially true for those Jamaicans who have been away for many years. Imagine that slight, sweet taste of Jamaica after years of being away from paradise.

The interesting thing about Ring Di Alarm is that it captures the different moods of Jamaica, creating different feelings, but still being true to the real Jamaican stories. More importantly, it integrates all these concepts in seven different films.

TALLAWAH: How would you describe the experience of being the sole female director in the New Caribbean Cinema family?

Serieux: (Laughs). As a female working with these guys, it’s really interesting, and we’re a good mix. It’s fine. The important thing is that everybody knows exactly what their roles are, as such; we’re able to get along well, which is really great for New Caribbean Cinema, I think. And there are some other local female directors around who are doing their thing, and I’m always, always excited to hear about new women directors coming up.

TALLAWAH: So what does the collective have in the works for 2013?

Serieux: A lot. We’ll be making an official announcement very soon, but there’s a lot happening and we’re trying to keep people updated through our blog as we decide what we’re going to be rolling out. There’s a lot to look forward to this year.

Image Credit: http://www.boomshots.com

The Caribbean film industry is at a pivotal time in its development. It’s a defining time in which the industry must shape its own niche. Michelle views her role in the Caribbean film industry as creating “not just a movement but a genre – a way of creating work in the Caribbean that would reflect a philosophy and a particular style of filmmaking…something that could define us.” The NCC has been doing it with Ring Di Alarm! With their communal style and creative pooling, who knows the works of genius they will be able to produce in the future?

By Norvan Martin

Source: Tallawah magazine

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