Busy plotting follow-up film projects to his debut feature film Better Mus’ Come, a reflective Storm Saulter squeezed some time in for an interview with SO last week at his West King’s House Road production office. Back on The Rock after an eventful trip last weekend to the prestigious Bahamas International Film Festival (BIFF) where Better Mus’ Come snagged the Audience Award and an honourable mention in the Spirit of Freedom category, the talented director’s elation came shining through his controlled demeanour. After all, accolades are still rolling in for the beloved little movie that could, as Jamaica’s Observer reports.
While Jamaican audiences saw the movie during its local run months ago, momentum for the searing 1970s-set political drama is steadily picking up steam beyond our shores. Before the recognition at BIFF, the film picked up Best Feature Film and Fan Favourite honours at the Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival, and with the warm audience reception it continues to receive, Saulter is brimming with optimism that even more plaudits could be around the corner. Still on cloud nine, Saulter disclosed: “In terms of the reaction in Bahamas, it was really major…people [outside Jamaica] feel like they are discovering something they never knew about before…it’s a lot of excitement…and I feel, going into 2012, the film is really going to start making steps internationally.”
A platform release for the independent dramatic film is in the works, and SO learns that at Toronto’s highly touted Bell Light Box will see Better Mus’ Come opening their Black History Month screening. Serious consideration is also being given to enter international film festivals. “We are also in talks with the British Film Institute to screen the new Caribbean Cinema Films [a series of film shorts unrelated to Better Mus’ Come] and to have a major presence in London next year,” Saulter divulges.
The Westmoreland-born director expresses amazement that his politically inspired film which nods to the real-life bloody Green Bay Massacre has since outgrown what he initially conceived as a time-specific story. Asked whether he feared the movie would have been able to transcend the cultures of foreign audiences, he replied: “I was worried that maybe the film would be too specific to Jamaica for it to be appreciated, but what I’ve learnt at these festivals where most of the guests are international people from outside of the Caribbean is that they are blown away. The current state of world affairs with political instability in so many places and many situations of political corruption, the film keeps getting more relevant.”
“It’s mirroring the Middle East, even the ‘Occupy protests’ all over the United States…people are getting fed up with their government and being taken for granted … Better Mus’ Come is a big statement between government and people,” he added.
And what of his future directorial efforts?
Saulter shares that pre-production work is almost finished on the White Witch of Rose Hall horror drama he is working on with Mark Kenny, executive producer of the hit reality show The Contender. Casting and actual filming on the movie should hopefully get underway by late 2013. There is also a period adventure drama with a distinctive Jamaican feel he wants to direct, but he remains tight-lipped about the specifics. “I don’t want to say too much about it,” Saulter responds to our pleas, “but I intend to shoot a trailer for it next year to help secure financing for it.” Asked if a Best Director Academy Award is his ultimate wish fulfilment, the slightly over-caffeinated director does not deny it would be great to have the golden Oscar statue as his very own. “I would love to win an Oscar and I also wouldn’t mind winning a BAFTA, but I would love to win a Palme d’Or [from France’s Cannes Film Festival] the most,” he admits. Fingers are crossed that it happens, Storm.
For the original report go to http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/lifestyle/Keeps-Getting-Better_10361248