6-2 | Table of Con­tents | http://​dx​.doi​.org/​1​0​.​1​7​7​4​2​/​I​M​A​G​E​.​C​C​N​.​6​-​2.2 | Saulter | Martens PDF


STORM SAULTER and EMIEL MARTENS

FRAMING STORM SAULTER'S WORK

In Jan­u­ary 2015 Storm Saulter was appoint­ed as Film­mak­er in Res­i­dence at the Depart­ment of Lit­er­a­tures in Eng­lish, Uni­ver­si­ty of the West Indies (UWI). Dur­ing his tenure, which last­ed until May, the Jamaican film­mak­er con­tributed to the Department’s Film Stud­ies pro­gramme by teach­ing the course, Cre­ative Writ­ing: Screen/Stage, and offer­ing guid­ance to stu­dents inter­est­ed in the world of film­mak­ing.

I wasn't sure what to expect teach­ing this class but very ear­ly I realised that there was a room full of great sto­ry­tellers with real­ly strong and deep ideas and who were pas­sion­ate about film. We ran it like a script devel­op­ment work­shop and each stu­dent had their own idea to devel­op into a fea­ture film. Young Jamaicans are way more exposed to all kinds of media and are influ­enced as much by Japan­ese ani­me as they are by Hol­ly­wood stu­dio films. Thank­ful­ly they are try­ing to break-out of the Hol­ly­wood sto­ry­telling arche­types and devel­op a new aes­thet­ic. That is what I encour­aged and that is what the stu­dents set out to achieve, and the results were real­ly sur­pris­ing and pow­er­ful. I def­i­nite­ly want to see some of those sto­ries on the screen. I nev­er went to a clas­sic uni­ver­si­ty myself so work­ing with stu­dents that age was a new and ener­giz­ing expe­ri­ence for me as well.”

Besides teach­ing, Storm also par­tic­i­pat­ed in the annu­al ‘March is Movie Month at Mona’ series host­ed by the Depart­ment. He named his talk, which was sup­port­ed by dif­fer­ent excerpts of his work, ‘Towards a New Caribbean Cin­e­ma’, after the title of this inter­view.

In my talk I real­ly tried to ham­mer home the impor­tance of devel­op­ing our own aes­thet­ic. In look­ing at the things that make the Caribbean unique, our land­scape, the phys­i­cal­i­ty of our peo­ple, the mixed up lan­guages and sounds, the rich­ness of colours in our world. Not to shy away from those things but to inten­tion­al­ly weave them into the fab­ric and tex­ture of our film­mak­ing. To cre­ate a film­mak­ing lan­guage that tran­scends any one film. This was also the aim of a short film work­shop I ran in the sum­mer months. This work­shop con­sist­ed of four inten­sive weeks where par­tic­i­pants came with ideas and left with a ful­ly devel­oped script that was ready to be pro­duced.”

Fol­low­ing the res­i­den­cy, Storm was select­ed to take part in the inau­gur­al Caribbean Film Mart at the tenth edi­tion of the Trinidad + Toba­go Film Fes­ti­val. Co-financed by the ACP Cul­tures+ Pro­gramme, fund­ed by the Euro­pean Union (Euro­pean Devel­op­ment Fund) and imple­ment­ed by the APC Group of States, “the pri­ma­ry goal of the Caribbean Film Mart is to fos­ter direct rela­tion­ships between the Caribbean and the inter­na­tion­al film indus­try, by stim­u­lat­ing and cre­at­ing viable cin­e­mat­ic co-pro­duc­tions” (ttfilm​fes​ti​val​.com). In total fif­teen film­mak­ers were select­ed to pitch their projects (in devel­op­ment or pre-pro­duc­tion) to inter­na­tion­al film pro­duc­ers, com­mis­sion­ers, sales agents and funds—and one of them was Storm with his fic­tion film project, Spin­ter.

This was one of the most help­ful devel­op­ment pro­grams I’ve par­tic­i­pat­ed in because of its focus on Caribbean films specif­i­cal­ly and because of the qual­i­ty of indus­try pro­fes­sion­als brought in to meet with us about our projects. The col­lec­tion of film­mak­ers there was a great rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the new wave of Caribbean cin­e­ma and all projects involved in the mart moved for­ward in some way. This was the unan­i­mous feel­ing of the film­mak­ers. I devel­oped new part­ner­ships for Sprint­er and I know the seeds plant­ed there will bear fruit.”


STORM SAULTER PORTFOLIO

Web - 00 Storm_imaginations profile_1Pho­to­graph of Storm Saulter by Yard­Edge founder Karin Wil­son Edmonds.

Web - 01 still from _waterboot__video art 2003Still from Storm’s ear­ly work Water­boot, a 2003 video art piece that was part of the exhi­bi­tion ‘Infi­nite Island: Con­tem­po­rary Caribbean Art’ at the Brook­lyn Muse­um in New York. “I reg­u­lar­ly returned home and just doc­u­ment­ed every­thing with my dig­i­tal cam­era, lit­tle ran­dom Jamaican things, which I then edit­ed in a cer­tain way.”

Web - 02 Flashpoint Film FestivalPoster of the third and last edi­tion of the Flash­point Film Fes­ti­val in 2008 in Port Roy­al. “I believe Flash­point kicked a lot of peo­ple on the island in the butt in terms of real­iz­ing that this is what we need to do to get the film indus­try going.”

Web - 03 BMC_theatricalposter_27x39.5Offi­cial film poster of Storm’s first fea­ture film Bet­ter Mus’ Come (2011) fea­tur­ing Shel­don Shep­herd and Sky Nicole Grey. “I real­ly want­ed to make a film about the sev­en­ties. I had always been fas­ci­nat­ed with the Cold War and the inter­na­tion­al geopol­i­tics at the time.”

Web - 04 BMC commissioned poster by Leasho JohnsonCom­mis­sioned film poster of Bet­ter Mus’ Come made by Jamaican artist and graph­ic design­er Leasho John­son. “It became clear that, for me, the ulti­mate sto­ry of the Cold War era was about the poor peo­ple who were the suf­fer­ers, so the sto­ry had to rep­re­sent them.”

05Film still from Better Mus’ Come featuring main actor Sheldon Shepherd. “The Green Bay Massacre became the endpoint of my story which I then built backwards – into a journey of one character in particular.”

05 Film still from Bet­ter Mus’ Come fea­tur­ing main actor Shel­don Shep­herd. “The Green Bay Mas­sacre became the end­point of my sto­ry which I then built back­wards – into a jour­ney of one char­ac­ter in par­tic­u­lar.”

Film still from Bet­ter Mus’ Come fea­tur­ing main actor Shel­don Shep­herd. “The Green Bay Mas­sacre became the end­point of my sto­ry which I then built back­wards – into a jour­ney of one char­ac­ter in par­tic­u­lar.”

Web - 06 flames1Film still from Bet­ter Mus’ Come fea­tur­ing Ever­al­do Cleary (front), Shel­don Shep­herd (mid­dle), and Ricar­do Orgil (back). “We pret­ty much audi­tioned any­one in the com­mu­ni­ty who was inter­est­ed. This is how we found Ricar­do Orgil, who plays Flames.”

Web - 07 BetterMusComeStormSaulter-768x1024Pro­duc­tion still of Bet­ter Mus’ Come show­ing Storm at work. “Although we did every­thing in a real­ly low-bud­get way, we were very metic­u­lous with get­ting the look and feel right.”

Web - 08 New Caribbean CinemaStorm togeth­er with Michelle Serieux, co-founder of New Caribbean Cin­e­ma, at the British Film Insti­tute in Lon­don (pho­to by free­lance pho­tog­ra­ph­er Fred­erique Rapi­er). “Michelle and I decid­ed to join forces to cre­ate oppor­tu­ni­ties for young film­mak­ers to pro­duce work that could put them on the map.”

web - 09 New Caribbean CinemaFour mem­bers of the New Caribbean Cin­e­ma team: from left to right, Nile and Storm Saulter, Joel Burke and Michelle Serieux (pho­to by Jamaican pho­tog­ra­ph­er Mar­lon James). “New Caribbean Cin­e­ma became a mix of a feel­ing of get­ting work done and a method of how to get it done—a ‘by any means nec­es­sary’ approach to film­mak­ing.”

Web - 10 RING DI ALARM!_poster1Film poster of Ring di Alarm (2013), the first round of films by the mem­bers of the New Caribbean Cin­e­ma team. “We all made one short film and worked togeth­er on each other’s films.”

Web - 11 ring-di-alarm_paff-2013_flyer-lo-resAnnounce­ment of the screen­ing of Ring di Alarm at the 2013 Pan-African Film Fes­ti­val in Los Ange­les. “I def­i­nite­ly think New Caribbean Cin­e­ma is a dri­ver for Caribbean cin­e­ma in gen­er­al. I just see it.”

Web - 12 Watching-Him-Kissing-Her-Racquel-Jones-plays-a-woman-on-a-vengeful-path-resizedFilm still from Watch­ing Him Kiss­ing Her, the Ring di Alarm film direct­ed by Storm. “Although the Ring di Alarm films are very dif­fer­ent from each oth­er, I do think they have some­thing in com­mon and that is a slight inter­est in the dark side of life.”

Web - 13 COAST-Patasha-Patasha-McLean-tracks-a-thief-Kreshna-Jones-resizedFilm still from Coast, the Ring di Alarm film direct­ed by Nile Saulter on which Storm worked as a cin­e­matog­ra­ph­er and co-pro­duc­er. “The Caribbean film aes­thet­ic is still very much open, but it is def­i­nite­ly mag­i­cal, col­or­ful, kalei­do­scop­ic, lan­guage-rich and musi­cal.”

Web - 14 ARCADE FIRE_Rolling Stone Magazine Oct. 2013Image from Storm’s pho­to-shoot of the band Arcade Fire at the Tri­dent Cas­tle in Port Anto­nio, Jamaica, pub­lished in the Rolling Stone mag­a­zine (2013). “Through­out the week I am often in touch with a cou­ple of pro­duc­tion com­pa­nies.”

Web - 15 2013Pho­to­graph by Storm of Trinida­di­an fash­ion design­er Ayana Riv­ièra, also pub­lished in the Rolling Stonemag­a­zine (2013). “I over­see treat­ments, I deliv­er edits, I go to meet­ings, I scout loca­tions, I am in pre-pro­duc­tion or I am actu­al­ly shoot­ing.”

Web - 16 Storm Saulter Who Knows Behind the Scenes Protoje and ChronixxPro­duc­tion still of Storm shoot­ing the music video “Who Knows” by the Jamaican artists Pro­to­je and Chronixx. “I usu­al­ly have a few of these projects going on at the same time, in dif­fer­ent stages of devel­op­ment.”

Web - 17 Still Who Knows 2014Still from the music video “Who Knows” fea­tur­ing Pro­to­je and Chronixx. “When I have a dead­line, I just have to stay up for a few nights and get it done.”

Web - 18 CHRONIXX for LRG Clothing 2014Pho­to­graph by Storm of Chronixx as part of a cam­paign for Lift­ed Research Group (LRG), a cre­ative lifestyle cloth­ing com­pa­ny (2014). “I do quite a bit of com­mer­cial work; that is actu­al­ly what I do most of the time.”

Web - 19 Still from video piece for Canopy Guild by Storm Saulter 2014Film still from a video piece Storm did for the Canopy Guild, a com­mu­ni­ty pho­tog­ra­phy, fash­ion, and object-design project-cum-exhi­bi­tion ini­ti­at­ed by Trinida­di­an artist Rodell Warn­er. “I feel any moment now we can make the big hit films, I def­i­nite­ly feel that.”

Web - 20 Website Usain Bolt for Soul ElectronicsScreen shot of Storm’s home­page http://​storm​saulter​.com fea­tur­ing a pho­to­graph by Storm of Jamaican sprint­er Usain Bolt for media tech­nol­o­gy com­pa­ny Soul Elec­tron­ics. “I want to make the films that epit­o­mize Caribbean cin­e­ma.”

Links | Bet­ter Mus’ Come Offi­cial Trail­er | Inter­view with Storm and Bet­ter Mus’ Come lead actor Shel­don Shep­herd | Fea­ture on the Bet­ter Mus’ Come pre­miere in Philadel­phia on the Lavonne Nichols Show | New Caribbean Cin­e­ma Fea­turette | Fea­ture on New Caribbean Cin­e­ma on Dutch tele­vi­sion (VPRO Cin­e­ma) | Ring di Alarm Offi­cial Trail­er | ‘Who Knows’ Music Video | Storm’s Offi­cial Home­page


Copy­right Storm Saulter and Emiel Martens. This arti­cle is licensed under a Cre­ative Com­mons 3.0 License although cer­tain works ref­er­enced here­in may be sep­a­rate­ly licensed, or the author has exer­cised their right to fair deal­ing under the Cana­di­an Copy­right Act.