Delighted to have been selected as one of 22 competitors in the Jamaican Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) FI WI Short Film Competition, first-time filmmaker Nasika Alliman says she believes this competition is a springboard for his film career.
“Honestly, I didn’t think I came in,” Alliman said. the gleanersharing her reaction when she first heard the news.
“I was home on my day off, and my friend Jhanielle called to tell me we were selected! I literally jumped into my bed. It was the first film I produced, so I was overjoyed. It was as if the possibilities [of] a whole new world has opened up. Part of me completely forgot it was a competition, I was so excited to be motivated enough to create my own movie,” she continued.
Her friend Jhanielle Powell, who also submitted an entry and was selected from the 22 filmmakers, was the driving force that pushed her to step out of her comfort zone and submit an entry.
“I always expressed my passion for cinema to him and we offered each other ideas. When she found out about the competition, she motivated [and] begged me to come in with her. My colleagues Justin Graham and Renard Anderson were also incredibly supportive,” she explained, when asked what inspired her to participate.
The competition is the brainchild of the JCDC’s Dramatic and Theatrical Arts Unit. It was open to young Jamaicans aged 12 to 18 and adults aged 19 and over who had never directed a film or had a screenplay produced. Participants were asked to examine one of five selected Jamaican proverbs and create a short film based on their interpretation.
Alliman chose the proverb “Nuh dash weh yuh tick before yuh done crass riva”, as she thought it would be easier to turn into a comedy.
“Pugo, the main character, wishes with all his heart to emigrate to America and seeks the help of “knowledgeable sources” to help him acquire it. We basically watch his desperation leading him to make hasty decisions. And the proverb I used refers to not engaging in premature celebrations; and so having Pugo celebrate something he’s not sure about was where the comedy comes in. The play is only five minutes long, so it starts with the conflict, and we immediately progress to a solution, which determines the Pugo result later. Whether it is a favorable or unfortunate outcome, we will have to see, ”she explained.
The University of the West Indies Journalism and Film Studies graduate said she started writing films in 2019, after her sister berated her for not documenting her ideas on paper.
She is inspired by Jamaican filmmakers who have left their mark on the local and Caribbean film industry.
“[I am inspired by] Storm Sault! He made movies like Better come (2011) and Sprinter (2018); his work is amazing! I believe he has an eye for effectively portraying the Jamaican experience. Trevor Rhone was also exceptionally good in his time; Orange smile and The more they come are still two of my absolute favorite films because of their authenticity and the tone of humor that persists throughout this one,” she said conversationally.
Its ultimate goal is to tell authentic Jamaican stories.
“My goal is to make films that reflect the true Jamaican experience, which to me is any experience that a Jamaican has had. There is no one way to experience the diversity and true beauty of being. Jamaican. I want to stay away from stereotypical representations and provide representation for all different classes and experiences,” she said.