This year marked the return of the European Union Film Festival in Jamaica after a two-year absence. The festival, which was coordinated by the Embassy of the Kingdom of Spain with input from other EU member countries, took place this year at the Sagicor Auditorium in Kingston, Jamaica. Spanning 14 days, the festival screened 14 films from 11 countries. Of these films, Small Island (United Kingdom) centered on Jamaican immigrants in London.
According to Evelyn Van Eck of the Embassy of Belgium, the two-year absence of the film festival was due to difficulties in the logistics of organizing such an event, such as working with a small budget and dealing with censorship issues. However, representatives from Spain thought it was necessary to revive the festival as an important part of Jamaica’s cultural landscape.” Spanish Ambassador Jesús Silva expressed the EU members’ enthusiasm about the return of this “major cultural affair.”
Jamaica’s Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Olivia Grange emphasized that the return of the film festival was a consolidation of partnership between Jamaica and the EU, and described the festival as a gesture that would allow Jamaicans to enter the world of film beyond Hollywood. Citing two of Jamaica’s trailblazing films as examples—The Harder They Come and Cool Runnings—she explained that “film offers possibilities of life’s experience when it is engaged,” as in these cases, in which “the bold energy” and way of life of the Jamaican society were highlighted.