Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Made in Jamaica, A Powerful Portrait of the Reggae Music Movement

Toronto International Film Festival presents the worldwide premiere of Made in Jamaica, a powerful portrait of the reggae music movement

TORONTO – August 28, 2006

The Toronto International Film Festival features the worldwide premiere of Made in Jamaica, a feature length documentary telling how a small island nation of only three million people has made music that resonates around the world. The first screening, for Press & Industry, takes place at the Royal Ontario Museum, on Tuesday, September 12, 2006, at 2:30PM.

Made in Jamaica tells how reggae became such a worldwide phenomenon and provides a powerful portrait of the leaders of the movement. Filmmaker Jerome Laperrousaz tells how reggae music sprang into life in the 70s, making Jamaica one of the first third world countries to make itself heard on an international scale. The reggae sound became a celebration of life and a universal message of hope.

But the movement did not stop there. Now a new generation of reggae artists has emerged, influenced by their predecessors, but creating a new and equally as important brand of music. Dancehall, emerging from reggae, is drawing large crowds from across the world. At its core, dancehall is influenced by religion. But like rap music, its message contains lyrics about sex, violence, and social issues, including much on women’s rights. Its messages are important, powerful and straightforward.

The film features the best reggae and dancehall artists ever assembled. Extensive interviews throughout, with names such as Toots (2005 Grammy award winner), Gregory Isaacs, Bunny Wailer, Blessed, Tanya Stephens, Elephant Man, Koolant and Third World, the film describes how they have struggled to leave their native ghetto to achieve international fame and create a musical phenomenon in the process. In essence, it is about how they are the embodiment of the “Jamaican Dream”.

Standouts include the story of Lady Saw, who has collaborated with music sensations No Doubt and is routinely called “The First Lady of Dancehall”. She was born in St. Mary in 1972 and in 1994 she recorded the single Want it Tonight.

Also featured is Capleton, a 2006 Grammy award nominee. He is one of the best reggae music deejays of his generation. He has produced numerous dancehall classics and is constantly topping the charts.

Also featured in the film are some standout live performances. Laperrousaz weaves between the interviews, a selection of the beautiful and uplifting music of reggae and the grinding sounds of dancehall. The performances from many of the featured artists capture the spirit and struggle of Jamaican music and provide the perfect complement to the illuminating interviews.

Filmmaker Jerome Laperrousaz has 25 years of family history in Jamaica. In 1980 he directed Prisoners in the Street: ‘Third World’ (Cannes Festival selection), which highlighted Jamaican reggae through the experience of the group Third World. His past films include Continental Circus (Jean Vigo and Academy Award selection for foreign production) and Human in which he cast Terence Stamp and Jeanne Moreau. He has a special talent for exposing the sensitive and personal and this is especially evident in Made in Jamaica. He is able to capture the recording studios of Kingston alongside the pulsing sounds of Ochos- Rios and the morning light of the Blue Mountains in all its full glory.

Made in Jamaica (a co-production between Lawrence Pictures and Herold & Family), is making its worldwide premiere at Toronto International Film Festival. The film will be a treat for fans of reggae and dancehall and for those unfamiliar, it will be the perfect introduction.

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