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In The Spotlight: Reggae Film Festival at Rototom and Miss Jamaica Universe

In The Spotlight: Reggae Film Festival at Rototom and Miss Jamaica Universe

In The Spotlight: Reggae Film Festival at Rototom and Miss Jamaica Universe

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This week in Jamaica ... and Spain.


The Reggae Film Festival was presented in Spain last week as a special 3-night feature of the Rototom Reggae Sunsplash – Europe's largest annual event celebrating Jamaica's music culture. A special programme of feature, documentary and animation films, including 5 made by Jamaicans and some of the Honour Award winners of the February 2010 event, were presented to an interested audience in a special showcase that began after the live stage performances ended each night.

Though the Reggae Film Festival went to Rototom, I did not. The films were introduced each night by Peter Gittins, the UK-based co-director of the Reggae Film Festival who has been the 'other half' of the event since we both conceptualized it in 2007. Though I had been provided full travel and accommodation by the Rototom organizers, I could not get an early appointment for an interview to renew my US Visa before my scheduled departure date, and had to miss the flight. (Yes, I got the renewal, but a day too late!)

It was a disappointment, as I looked forward to the chance to be at Rototom in person and see and report on what the event is like. The Rototom invitation was important, because it shows the opening of an international distribution link and exposure for films from and about Jamaica. With attendance of 150,000, the enormous potential for access to the young European market was clear. Peter reports that people were so interested in everything Jamaican that we could have sold not only our films, but also products such as T-shirts, banana chips, jerk sauces, Beer, books.

The Reggae Film Festival will return to Rototom next year, and we are presently negotiating invitations to present the event in the USA and in Africa. In its 3 short years the Reggae Film Festival is fulfilling its objective of assisting the growth of the Jamaican film industry and the spread of Jamaican culture through film.


Last June at Caribbean Fashion Week a slim, sparkling Yendi Phillips just back from South Africa posed for my camera and told me she was entering the Miss Jamaica Universe competition. I encouraged her to keep doing what she was good at. Now that Yendi has boomed Jamaica's positive image around the world, those who questioned my early support for our newest Jamaican beauty queen now see what all the fuss was about.

Looking good in all her personal appearances from the early days of the iss Universe contest, Yendi brought a sparkling personality that showed in her bright smile, her classy poses and her charming interviews. The Judges voted her the 'beach beauty' and 2nd best evening gown, so when she made it to the final 5 of the judging, Jamaicans all over the world held their collective breath, bursting with pride just to see her standing there.

Then there were just two, and as Yendi stood in the spotlight with Miss Mexico, Jamaica's hopes were high. When Miss Mexico was announced the winner, I know I am not the only Jamaican who felt the decision was wrong, but Jamaicans still smiled as is was so clear that Yendi was definitely the prettiest girl.

Congrats to Yendi for joining the ranks of Jamaicans who made their country proud by showcasing what wonderful, great and beautiful people we are.


“We are ready to go and Buju is looking forward to his day in court.” - David Oscar Markus of Buju Banton’s legal team.

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