The T&T Film Festival saw the Caribbean Premiere screening of Kingston Paradise directed by Jamaican filmmaker Mary Wells.
This exciting new Jamaican film follows Rocksy, (Chris “Johnny” Daley) a young, small time hustler/taxi driver, desperate to escape a life of poverty and violence in Kingston, Jamaica.
Rocksy naively believes he’s ready for the big time and steals a car to sell its parts, while his prostitute girlfriend (Camille Small) fantasises for a peaceful life through a painting on their bedroom wall, the quintessential Caribbean view, a beach scene.
However, his criminal act drives their lives into total chaos that may break them apart forever. This off-beat, quirky, crime drama brings a very different view of a city, where every character fails “Gangster 101” and isn’t quite the cliché.
A rich, layered story, it’s a powerful journey that promises to leave audiences deeply moved as it takes us through the broken dreams and aspirations of our youth.
A release from the film’s producers said Kingston Paradise is set among an incredible cast and crew of wonderful young people, with many first timers, but the lead, Chris Daley, is a well known talented actor from Jamaica’s theatre community.
The production shoot was aided and assisted by the CHASE fund, (Culture Health Arts Sports and Education Fund, Jamaica), a Dutch entity, Caribbean Creativity and the Jamaican Government Media House, The Creative Production Training Centre Ltd, (The CPTC). The post-production and executive producers are CaribbeanTales/Frances-Anne Solomon, who had it not been for her incredible guidance and support, this films completion would not have been possible.
Edited in Canada, it has an amazing film score by John Welsman, a well-known composer and veteran Canadian composer for films. Kingston Paradise is written, directed and produced by Mary Wells who has done documentaries and short dramas mostly for the Caribbean.
Wells said: “Kingston Paradise is a very important story and is a very important film from an artistic point of view. It has also been extremely important from a personal learning experience.
“To date, it’s been quite a journey. For a small black international niche film, it’s set for something truly special.”
The film hopes to grab not only Caribbean audiences, but a cross-over international audience as well, mostly in urban centres unafraid of the gritty images of the real Caribbean. Kingston Paradise shows the ongoing struggles and humiliation of a people and is a wicked reminder of who we really are.
ABOUT THE FILMAKER
Mary Wells is an award-winning independent film director/writer and producer based in Jamaica with more than 20 years experience in TV and Film production. She studied TV Production and the Theatre Arts in the USA, and has a BA from the George Washington University, Washington DC, 1982. Kingston Paradise is her first feature narrative.