In 2001 the first feature length film to come from the Eastern Caribbean was produced from a small film company in Antigua, HAMA productions, founded by Howard and Mitzi Allen. The romantic comedy, The Sweetest Mango, made history by being the highest grossing film ever to show in Antigua, outshining high budget film giants such as Titanic and Jurassic Park. The duo that produced, directed and edited The Sweetest Mango on a shoe string budget, have shown the world what vision, creativity, hard work and a camera can do. HAMA has contributed to creating a film industry in Antigua. The production company is now on its fourth film, has recently purchased a cable channel, and is working with Ithaca College (in Ithaca, New York) to bring interns to Antigua in order to get hands-on experience.
Howard and Mitzi Allen began in the 1990’s as independent producers of documentaries, corporate and industrial videos, music videos, and television programs. They began creating films in 2002. Referring to their first movie, which cost $100,000 to make, Mitzi Allen says, “We knew we could either build our dream house or make a movie. We decided that we wanted to make a film.” Their films provide a rich cultural cinematic lens through which the audience can experience Antigua and its people in a meaningful way. The overriding theme in their movies is the communication of the Caribbean cultural viewpoint. Howard Allen explains, “The story of the Caribbean is our story and the story of our films.”