Film-makers recognised in Guyana

Award-winner Rashan Reid is congratulated by Bishop Alleyne

The second Loyola Documentary Film Festival has taken place in Guyana. It is an initiative of the Jesuit-led CatholicTV (CTV) that aims to create and promote awareness among people about socio-economic and cultural issues that affect Guyana as a nation. It allows film-makers and corporate bodies to actively engage in developing the skills and expertise of Guyanese.

There were a total of seven entries in the 2015 Film Festival, four produced by amateurs and three from professional film-makers. The screenings and awards took place at the Theatre Guild, Kingston in Georgetown, introduced by Dr Paloma Mohamed-Martin, the Head of the Communications Department at the University of Guyana. Participants then received their awards from Bishop Francis Alleyne OSB. Among those who took part in the Film Festival were students of the Communications Department in the University of Guyana, under Ms Carolyn Walcott.

Launched in 2013 by Fr Justin Prabhu SJ, the Director of CTV, the Loyola Documentary Film Festival was set up to mark the 35th anniversary of the death of Jesuit Priest Fr Bernard Darke SJ who was brutally killed in broad daylight on Brickdam. Since then, it has paved the way for the Guyanese Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport to teach film-making in Guyana.

On 14 July 1979, a gang of government supporters attacked demonstrators of the Working People’s Alliance. Father Darke was a keen photographer and was attempting to take photographs for the Catholic Standard. He was killed when the government supporters turned and began attacking innocent bystanders. “It is easy to label Fr Darke as a scout leader, as a photographer, as a teacher, as a priest,” says Fr Prabhu, “but the labels should not mask the unity and motives of a likeable and hardworking Jesuit striving to do all for the greater glory of God.”

Documentaries that transform societyThe 2015 Loyola Film Festival Logo

The Competition that culminates in the Loyola Film Festival stems from the Summer Media School that CTV holds, which seeks to develop the art of documentary and film making in young Guyanese. It gives them six months for production and allows both amateurs and professional to create quality documentaries for the world stage that are capable of transforming Guyanese society. CatholicTV shares the documentaries via its network regionally and internationally to give exposure and credibility to the skills of Guyanese film makers.

The Loyola Film Festival’s logo (right) was designed by Samanthani Singh-McLean, who was originally a volunteer at CTV and is now its Media Manager. It features a silhouette of a 2013 Summer School student operating his camera against coloured films. The logo signifies CTV’s commitment to developing skills in modern technology and techniques for the art of film and documentary production and promoting the development of television journalism.