Shopped for potential international distributors and buyers at the recently-concluded Cannes Film Market (Marché du Film), where it was repped by Los Angeles-based California Pictures, was Kingston Paradise - a new Jamaican feature film by Mary Wells, which was also nominated for the “Best Diaspora Feature” award at the African Movie Academy Awards.
Kingston Paradise is described as an off beat urban thriller that follows Rocksy, a small-time hustler who journeys to steal a car, while his lady friend Rosie, dreams for peace, depicted in a painting that forces a crime of reckless desperation that changes their lives forever, as they fight to survive the chaos and their broken dreams and aspirations.
Executive produced by CaribbeanTales (CaribbeanTales Worldwide Distribution, the region’s premier film marketing and distribution entity representing the Caribbean Diaspora's most promising filmmakers), the Cannes Film Market offers the film a very unique opportunity for broad and international exposure that is nearly unprecedented for a small independent Caribbean film of this nature.
“It is very difficult to attract international distribution and from such a company. With its awards received to date, the AMAA nomination and now this deal with California Pictures, there are some great additional possibilities”, says Wells.
The film stars Chris ‘Johnny’ Daley, Munair Zacca, Camille Small, Greggory Nelson and Paul Shoucair, alongside other local and international cast and crew.
The film seemingly faces similar uphill challenges that other African Diaspora features face in the international marketplace when it comes to distribution. Feature films set in the Caribbean, by Caribbeans and about Caribbeans are an even rarer breed. The self-fulfilling prophecy that "black films don't sell" certainly doesn't encourage matters.
Mary Wells (an award winning independent filmmaker and producer from Jamaica and the USA) is co-producing with Frances-Anne Solomon of CaribbeanTales.
Its original music score will be composed by acclaimed Canadian composer, John Welsman.
Kingston Paradise is Wells' first feature narrative, and she’s the first woman from Jamaica to direct a feature film.
Watch a trailer below: