The Caribbean State of Art of Film Making
The New Caribbean Cinema (NCC) describes itself as a: “ fresh, pioneering approach to film-making in the Caribbean”. It’s most recent production of short films under the title ‘Ring Di Alarm’ has set high standards.
One of the directors of NCC’s creative collective of directors and producers Michael “Ras Tingle” Tingeling has advanced his skills in 15 years of film-making. Although becoming a film maker was rather a coincidence while catering on two sets before he was asked if he could help on set. “I started to experiment a lot and watched MTV to study how others put videos together. I understood that I want to become an authentic Jamaican film maker who doesn’t conforms but makes something worthwhile.” Ras Tingle told Vision.
And it was the NCC which provided that creative independence. According to Ras Tingle the: ”NCC stands as a citadel for new and upcoming filmmakers, without being dependent on people who give you funds and at the same time fool you around.
A wave of GOOD QUALITY FILMS coming from the region, especially Jamaica: “Filming right around the region, around the diaspora, I realised that we are all connected. Sometimes I would be in different islands and it felt like being in Jamaica. Culture spreads far and it interlopes, especially because of the history we have in common. Still, I see Jamaica as the film capital of the diaspora. The Harder They Come was a taste of that and Jamaica has always been a magnet from the times of buccaneers until now.”
Ras Tingle has also produced many MUSIC VIDEOS for: D’Angel, Cecile, Assassin, the last video for Buju Banton before he went in, Romain Virgo’s California and the documentary Reggae Gone Country.
“Making the documentary with Romain Virgo was a major eye-opener. I grew up on two radio stations (JBC and RGR) who played a lot of country music. When I went to Nashville they could not take it in that country music is so big in Jamaica. It came like a shock to them.”
We asked Ras Tingle to share a story with us working with all these artists…
“Well, most of the women I worked with were very punctual and work hard. But the funniest moments I had with a few of the male artist. Sometimes they have recorded the song we are shooting a video for 6 month ago and don’t know the lyrics anymore. They either start mumbling or exchange words. It’s amusing if we find out the artist is not singing. Then you have to shoot all these wide shots first – the non singing shots, giving them time to rehearse the song. Others like to come on set smelling like a bed of roses, making us wonder if they can smell him on TV. On my sets I like to keep a relaxed atmosphere. Making people laugh makes the work lighter and keeps the creative juices flowing.”
One of his mottoes is: WORKING TO UPLIFT THE YOUTHS, which he as a rastaman belonging to the Nyahbinghi, sees as vital aspect of rastafarianisim. “One of our praises ‘let the infants be cared for’ means that is important to uplift the youths, so when they get older they can work to make their own.
There are a lot of influences that would take young people on the other side. Especially the want to make money fast culture. I want to encourage them to use their brain to do the right decisions in life.
I go into my children’s school on ‘career days’ to share my skills. I bring my camera and tell them how to operate it. They would expect somebody else but I come there as a rastaman and show them how videos are made just like they can see them on MTV. More young people are looking towards production nowadays and see how they can make their way into a profitable person.
Sometimes when I film in a garrison I try to incorporate the youth. I mean filming there and being surrounded by boys who should be in school gives you the chills. I’m not schooling them, but you would find somebody to pass on a job to them, so that they can help themselves.“
RING DI ALARM which premiered in London last September is still being heavily promoted and much to the delight of the makers was screened at the Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles this February. “We still have not premiered it in Jamaica. I am very patriotic but the truth of the matter is that sometimes a project has to gather some wings and get feet before they (Jamaican’s) start to applaud it.
We are feeling very good about the overwhelming response we are getting from England, Trinidad and New York so far. It can only get better.”
Ras Tingle on the making of D’Angels Stronger video: I just wanted to show what I saw in her. Coming out into the world on her own, falling from grace and rising back into her true self.pictures from top: Ras Tingle at video shoot for NCC: “Land We Love”,Ras Tingle with NCC team and giving instructions, at video shoot with Agent Sasco and Beenie Man