Caribbean Entrepreneur Backs Creative Economy

NEW YORK – The creativity of Caribbean filmmakers will be a focus of the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s Caribbean Week in New York, June 4 to 11, 2011.

Frances-Anne Solomon, founder and CEO of CaribbeanTales Worldwide Distribution, announced a new partnership with the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) which will feature trailers of top Caribbean films during CTO meetings and events, and a day-long Caribbean film showcase with panel discussions and networking on Saturday, June 11.

“By presenting the best and brightest of our filmmakers, our intention is to create a platform on the world stage for Brand Caribbean,” said Solomon, who noted the linkages between film and the bread and butter tourism industry are obvious, but have not been exploited.

Sylma Brown-Bramble of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (left) and Frances-Anne Solomon in New York last week.

The Creative Economy Report 2010, recently launched at the United Nations, shows creative industries have more resilience to the global economic crisis than traditional manufacturing industries. Global exports of creative goods and services – ideas and creativity-centered industries such as arts and crafts, audiovisuals, books, design, films, music, new media, visual and performing arts – have more than doubled from 2002 to 2008, reaching nearly US$600 billion, according to the UN publication.

“In a Caribbean context, films create powerful and easily accessible images,” said Solomon. “The Caribbean can be promoted through feature films that tell our stories and documentaries that sensitize wide audiences about our identity, but also through local commercials or music videos which help to boost the creative economy,” she advised.

Nigeria’s US$2.75 billion film industry is the third largest in the world, following the US and India. Nigeria’s ‘Nollywood’ produces more than 1,000 films annually, creating thousands of jobs and is the country’s second most important industry after oil. In recognition of its importance, the Government has invested in the film industry, reforming policies and providing training to promote film production and distribution. And, in a highly unusual move, the World Bank also invests in ‘Nollywood’.

Sylma Brown-Bramble, Director of The Americas of the Caribbean Tourism Organization, thanked the Toronto-based Solomon for her company’s participation in Caribbean Week this year, noting the integration of the overseas Caribbean communities in the week’s activities was heartening.

“We are encouraged by the participation of the Diaspora in Caribbean Week this year and anticipate forging an even closer relationship with the community,” said Brown-Bramble.

Solomon, who hails from Trinidad, said more details about the film screenings will be shared in the weeks ahead. She thanked the CTO, the Consulate General of Barbados in New York, Caribbean International Network (CIN TV) and Distribution Specialist Michelle Materre for their early support of The CaribbeanTales New York Film Showcase. “We look forward to inviting more partners on board as we launch a movement to promote the region in a more creative and sustainable manner.”

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