ROSEAU, Dominica – Filmmaker and television producer Howard Allen was one of the key audio-visual professionals meeting in Dominica last week to workshop strategies for producing a new television series with the backing of the OECS.
Allen, who heads HAMAFilms Antigua, was invited to provide technical support to develop a pilot for a regional television series during the three-day workshop held March 9-12, 2016.
Having more than 30 years in the television and film production industry across the Caribbean, Howard has keen knowledge of the challenges producers face in funding projects, finding talent and telling island-centric stories.
Allen shared with his colleagues that it was important that the Caribbean define why we want to have a film and television industry. He pointed to the European Union and Canada as examples. “They see the importance of protecting their countries from cultural erosion and so they invested heavily in the creative media as a way of managing this” The filmmaker also said Caribbean governments must support the production of local programming if they want to develop their societies economically and to maintain their culture.
Participants attending represented the audio visual industries in Grenada, Antigua, St. Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Kitts and Nevis, Barbados and Guadeloupe.
The exercise, facilitated by the OECS Competitive Business Unit, brought together leading practitioners from across OECS Member States who are interested in deepening collaboration and strengthening the regional network in the audio-visual sub-sector of the creative industries, said a statement from the organisers.
The current work programme by the OECS CBU in creative industries forms part of the broader agenda by the OECS Commission in driving some of the key economic sectors including work in the creative industries sector.
Howard Allen’s directorial credits include The Sweetest Mango (200), No Seed (2002) and Diablesse (2005). He wrote the screenplay for his fourth film The Skin (2011) a supernatural thriller starring Jamaican film icon Carl Bradshaw. His work as a filmmaker has been singled out by the department of Cinema and Photography at Ithaca College in New York, for his innovative approach to filmmaking in a developing country. He has conducted master classes at Ithaca College on “Feature Filmmaking on a Shoestring Budget.”