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Missed Aims for Cannes Short Film Corner

Michelle Serieux (photo by Marlon James)

Missed, a short film written and directed by Michelle Serieux of New Caribbean Cinema has been accepted into the Court Métrage, The Short Film Corner, as well as the Marché  du Film (film market) of the Cannes Film Festival, May 16 - 26, 2012. Cannes is one of cinema’s most important events.

Missed is one of a few Caribbean films that will be streamed amongst hundreds of others from around the world as young filmmakers try to break into major markets. The 20 minute film set Jamaica’s Blue Mountains, stars Roger Guenveur Smith, Sharea Samuels and Marlon Stewart Gaynor. The film is Serieux’ first short film since she left film school.

Serieux explains that the greatest element of inclusion in the Short Film Corner is the validation it brings to herself, the cast and crew. “It’s a shared victory for all of us all of the crew that has been working on the project.”

As Serieux is keen to point out, the film is not in competition at Cannes, however participation in the Court Métrage provides opportunities for professional development, and most importantly, the opportunity to network with some of the world’s top film professionals and with your film acting as a calling card at the ready.

The Short Film Corner is specifically designed by the organizers of Cannes to create connections between the worlds of short films and features. Serieux and her creative and business partner Storm (Better Mus Come) are headed off to Cannes to do just that. The two will dive into a sea of activities from both the Short Film Corner and the Film Market, the latter of which will get most of their attention. Serieux and Storm will attend meetings, themed conferences, the producers network etc, as the two seek co-producers, pre-sales agreement, investors and partners for four feature-length projects that they have in the pipeline.

Missed is a film that bridges the divide between short films and features. It is part of the collective of short films being produced by New Caribbean Cinema under the working title Jamaica We Love You. The title is itself a homage to oneMissed (photograph courtesy of New Caribbean Cinema) of the most popular anthology films (a feature film with discrete short stories) Paris Je T’aime (Paris I Love You)Jamaica We Love You will also feature Coast (Nile Saulter), My Vote (Joel Burke), Sunday (Kyle Chin), Parish Bull (Ras Tingle), Land of My Birth (Desmond Young), and The Two of You (Storm).

Keeping information about their upcoming projects relatively close to her chest, Serieux revealed that the four projects comprise three dramatic pieces and one documentary. She explained that the stories, include a modern day drama, hard hitting social commentary and a period action/adventure piece and are set in Jamaica and Seriuex’ homeland, St Lucia. Serieux and Storm hope to complete at least three of the projects within the next two years.

The trip to France is being self-funded and Serieux explains that this is in keeping with New Caribbean Cinema’s approach. She explains that they embrace a do-it-yourself attitude which is critical due to the absence of funding and institutional support in the Caribbean.

“If we were to sit around and wait for JAMPRO, or the government or corporate Jamaica we wouldn’t be where we are,” Serieux said. She notes however, that NCC’s success has also been achieved through the generosity of select companies and individuals that have made Jamaica We Love You a reality. She points to Sling Shot, Phase 3, Marlon James Photography and all the crew and cast of the films.

“It’s been critical that we do what we can, how we can, with what we can,” Serieux explained. Their main tools have been their creative capacity and technical know how.  According to Serieux the approach used by NCC was what they referred to in St. Lucia as “Coup de Main” which is a communal all hands on deck way of collaborating to get work done. “If we don’t create, we’re gonna die So we do it by any means necessary, even if it means being broke for a month, then taking a job with corporate Jamaica.”

Serieux believes that with each victory, even a small one, the film industry further proves its viability and makes one step closer to earning the support that it deserves.

“Slowly, slowly, slowly, we’re making the steps to creating a more solidified Caribbean cinema,” she said. “We have a ways to go and it can only get better.”