NEW YORK – The head of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) declared his organization supports the arts because Caribbean artistes are among the best in the world.
Hugh Riley, the CTO’s Secretary General, applauded the work of CaribbeanTales Worldwide Distribution, producers of last weekend’s New York Film Showcase, for profiling the talent of the Caribbean and preserving the region’s story-telling culture.
Addressing the opening of the CaribbeanTales New York Film Showcase last Saturday in Brooklyn, Riley explained his organization supports the cultural industries because Caribbean’s artistes, writers and filmmakers are among the most skilled story tellers in the world.
“At CTO we focus a great deal of our time, energy and attention on marketing the Caribbean as the world’s premier warm weather tourism destination … we do it for the social and economic benefit of the people of the Caribbean – (however) to truly benefit our citizens we need to understand their stories and to tell them with power, persuasion and passion,” asserted Riley.
The tourism chief contended that in today’s era of social media and cutting edge telecommunications “if you really want to move from conversation to persuasion, if you truly want to move both the mind and the heart, no medium can match the immersive experience we get when we sit in the dark (with) our mind and body relaxed and (we are) focused on a film.”
At the Spike Lee Screening Room at Long Island University’s Brooklyn Campus, patrons viewed a number of Caribbean-produced trailers and shorts, along with feature films “Calypso Dreams,” arguably the best film ever made about calypso, and the riveting documentary “Fire in Babylon”, the inspiring story of how a West Indies cricket side triumphed over its colonial masters.
Joking that not all Caribbean films involved pirates, Riley described the well-attended showcase, a fitting closing act for Caribbean Week in New York. It was, he continued, “a chance to give expression to our values as Caribbean people and tell the stories that we too often forget.”
The showcase included a keynote address by Caribbean-American Mark Walton, The Africa Channel’s executive vice president of sponsorship and corporate development, panel discussions featuring rising Caribbean filmmakers and a live interview with the Mighty Sparrow conducted by Trinidadian scholar and author Dr. Elizabeth Nunez.
CTWD, a member of the BIM Ventures family of entrepreneurs, has hosted two film festivals in Barbados, another in Canada, produced training workshops for filmmakers, and now has more than 60 films in its catalog.
The CaribbeanTales New York Film Showcase was supported by The Africa Channel, Barbados Tourism Authority, Bay Gardens Resorts (Saint Lucia), Brammer’s Subway of Brooklyn, Bullzii Marketing, Caribbean Cookbook by Rita G. Springer, Caribbean Lifestyle TV, Caribbean Tourism Organization, the Consulate General of Barbados in New York, Caribbean International Network (CIN TV), Cockspur Rum, Creatively Speaking, cynergy spa, Distribution Specialist Michelle Materre, Falco Ink, Funsation4 Media, Great Huts Resort (Jamaica), OCEAN Style Magazine, Spanish Court Hotel (Jamaica), Third World Newsreel, Tribeca Film, and ZYNC TV.