JAM | Jun 5, 2023

’16 Days of GATFFEST’ for annual staging

/ Our Today

Reading Time: 4 minutes
Scenes from the 2019 staging of GATFFEST at the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus. (Photo:

Making its 11th staging this year, Greater August Town Film Festival (GATFFEST), the largest community film festival in the Caribbean, can certainly lay claim to standing tall within this spectrum. 

GATFFEST, which serves as a platform for the exposure of film-making talents of directors, producers, casts and crews, presents a fantastic opportunity to showcase new and emerging filmmakers who are telling stories through a mix of short films and documentaries. The film festival features premieres, workshops, community film nights and special events.

GATFFEST will run from June 19 to July 2.

Festival director Savannah Peridot revealed that this year, the festival will host a record 16 days of activities and will screen 51 films in total; eight feature length films, 43 short films, 32 local films and 19 international films. The films will be screened at Palace Cineplex, Sovereign Centre.

Savanna Peridot, festival director, delivering greetings at the 2018 staging of GATFFEST at the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus. (Photo:

There will be two premiere events to include the opening night gala and GATFFEST UWI 75th anniversary premiere which will be held on June 19 at Mona Inn and Conference Centre, formerly the Mona Visitor’s Lodge.

Schedule of events during the 2023 staging of the Greater August Town Film Festival (GATFFEST). (Photo:

The film to be screened is “The Untold Legacy of the UWI Mona Principals” and on Tuesday June 20, 2023 there will be the GATFFEST Film Pitch Premiere hosted by the French Embassy. Two films from the winners of the second GATFFEST Film Pitch Competition winners held in December 2022 will be screened.  A grant of J$1.7 million will be shared between the winners to fund the production of their film for GATFFEST 2023, thanks to the Bob Marley Foundation and Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF).

Jamaican filmmakers (from left) Renard Anderson, Jhanielle Powell, Kyle Chin, and Kevin Jackson. (Photo: Contributed)

This year, for the film screening nights we have partnered with the embassies and consulates of Canada, Spain, Japan, Colombia, Germany, France, Mexico and the Dominican Republic; and CARIMAC. In addition, the festival will also have International and Jamaica nights and a Community Film Night.

GATFFEST which has its roots in the community is organized by the Mona Social Services and UWI Community Film Project at the University of the West Indies and was created as an outlet for graduates of the UWI Community Film Project to showcase the films that were produced during its film and production training course.

The inaugural GATFFEST was held in 2013 and included films from inner-city youths who graduated from the film project. The event screened their work along with that of other local and international independent and emerging filmmakers.

Alicia Williams, manager of the Bob Marley Foundation shares lens time with Dr. Olivene Burke, executive director of the MSS/UWICFP; Professor Ian Boxill, deputy principal of the UWI Mona campus; and Savannah Peridot, GATFFEST director. (Photo: Contributed)
Savannah Peridot, GATFFEST director, pictured with Daniel Beltré-Acosta, Head of Cultural Affairs, Embassy of the Dominican Republic in Jamaica. (Photo: Contributed)

In October 2022, a call was made for film pitch ideas for the GATFFEST 2022 Film Pitch Competition. A total of twenty-seven film treatments were submitted. From these submissions, ten finalists were chosen, granting them the opportunity to pitch their films in December 2022 before a panel of judges at the GATFFEST Film Pitch Competition event.

The ten film pitches were categorized into two groups: Experienced Filmmakers and Emerging Filmmakers. In the end, Joshua Paul’s film “Key Love” emerged as the winner in the Experienced Filmmakers category, while Jhanielle Powell won in the Emerging Filmmakers category with her film pitch titled “Jayna Johnson Reporting.”


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