Kingston 18 February 2019 – The Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia Grange, has announced that the Reggae Films In The Park event launched preparations to establish the new digital Reggae Film Archive at the National Library of Jamaica as “a big step towards preserving Jamaica’s cultural heritage and Reggae history on film.”
Addressing the Emancipation Park audience at the February 15 screening of ‘Legends of Ska’ the Minister said:
“The film side of Reggae doesn’t get mentioned that often and this is mainly due to the fact there is very little early footage which is easily accessible of the founding Reggae musicians. Most of the footage that does exist is scattered across the globe in archives and private collections and is often difficult and costly to access.”
“A music as important as Reggae needs to have its film history documented and preserved for future generations so that they can appreciate and have a good understanding of the music and the people who created it. Many Reggae legends have never been seen on film, some people will know their music but will have only ever seen photos of the artist, so to have moving images of them at work is of great importance.”
Accompanied by Beverley Lashley, National Librarian at the National Library of Jamaica, Minister Grange explained that the database will be an innovation that will preserve the hundreds of documentaries, feature films and videos to enable study and research, as well as viewing of films that record Jamaica's Reggae music history. More than 200 films collected during the staging of the Reggae Film Festival between 2008 and 2013 will be donated by film festival organiser Barbara Blake-Hannah to begin the database, which will be added to by films from Reggae Films UK archivist, Peter Gittins.
Minster Grange said it was her intention that “one day people will be able to come into the National Library of Jamaica and type in the name of any Reggae practitioner and be able to view a long list of all the films that exist of that particular artist/musician to learn from, to teach about and to spread Jamaica's musical gift to the world.”
BMG Films, producers of ‘Rude Boy: the Trojan Story’, will present Minister Grange with their ‘Q’ Award as a donation to the Reggae Film Archive.