Friday, July 8, 2011

Guyanese short films for New York Film festival-Gov't injects $30M

TRAINER of film-making, Brian Zahm, MFA of Ohio University noted that while in the United States artistic budgetary funding is being slashed, it is beautiful that in Guyana the reverse is happening. And this was reiterated by His Excellency President Bharrat Jagdeo during his address last evening at the premiere of the initial productions of eight short films made possible through the President’s Film Endowment Project 2011.
The President stressed that, as a result of years of prudent fiscal management that entailed great sacrifices, counter-cyclical to that trend, the existential bread-and-butter issues are now being economically manageable, which has created room for investments in the arts and culture.
He made reference to the investment being made by Government in the area of literature, in particular the publishing of an initial 25 out-of-print publications spanning about 300 years, which have been dubbed the “Guyana Classics.” This is one of Government’s initiatives to revive Guyana’s deep literary traditions, said the President, which he asserted affords him a deep sense of satisfaction.
He alluded to Guyana’s colonial past, when arts and culture were pursued in context of what pleased the ruling class, with merely a few exceptions to the general practice.
However, while the will was there in the post-colonial era, the opportunities were limited because of a lack of funding, declared the President, who noted that the Private Sector had endured its own traumas and had paid scant heed to fostering the arts. He contended that an awareness in the consciousness of entrepreneurs on the need to support these initiatives should be developed through orientation and education.
He drew attention to the Government-funded learning channel, which was also made possible because of the Government’s prudent fiscal management.
This channel is accessible to every community in Guyana, according to President Jagdeo, who stressed that programming would not only focus on the traditional educational pathways, but would open up and expand avenues for pursuit of new frontiers of education and information-dissemination.
Elucidating on the new and expanded platforms and opportunities expanded bandwith presents, the President said that content production is vital, and that soon in Guyana movies could be viewed on handsets as speeds develop.
According to President Jagdeo, this film-making initiative is living university in this knowledge-driven, information-overladen world, and he made reference to the expansion of the University of Guyana into bio-diversity research.
As monies becomes available as a result of Guyana’s success in “climbing out of the deep hole into which we have dug ourselves”, new investments are being made in the areas of sports, the arts and culture, reiterated the President, who said that Guyana has “new frontiers to storm” and reminded the audience that prior to present times, sporting facilities were only available to exclusive club members.
Today, the recreational facilities are on par with international standards.
President Jagdeo expressed hope that Guyana’s films would also reach world-class standards. To achieve this, the President pledged an additional $30 million to the original grant, which had also been augmented by $10 million from the Ministry of Culture’s arts fund, as well as additional outlays when those funds ran out.
President Jagdeo lauded the efforts of young film-making trainer Brian Zahm of the Ohio University, whose father had died a mere two days before he boarded the plane to participate in this activity, and who broke down at the podium as he spoke of his wonderful experience working to develop film-making in Guyana afforded him. The President said of the young man’s efforts that passionate people make changes in the world.

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