Antigua and Barbuda’s burgeoning film industry is getting a major boost this week, as the nation’s most celebrated film production company, HAMAFilms, begins production of its fifth motion picture, Deep Blue.
The film, which tells the tale of an environmentalist and an architect who are in love and war over a development project, is the most important subject undertaken by the prolific filmmaking duo, Howard and Mitzi Allen.
“This particular story is near and dear to our hearts, because it’s a story that resonates with people all over world and right here at home. It’s about the marine environment says the film’s director, Howard Allen.
“We’ve seen this, with steps we’ve taken as a nation to outlaw the use of single-use plastic bags and Styrofoam containers and community efforts to clean up our beaches. The film’s message aligns beautifully with the fight to ensure our environment is safe and healthy for future generations.”
The film, which has an ambitious 25-day production schedule, will include under-water photography and involve stunt work. It will feature a roster of international talent from Guyana, Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Britain, the United States, and Canada.
The film stars Jamaican-Canadian Actor, Peter Williams, who is fresh off the festival circuit, where he’s been busy promoting his most recent role in the bio-pic, Hero: Inspired By The Extraordinary Life And Times of Ulric Cross. Some of his other notable credits include: Catwoman (Warner Bros.), The Chronicles of Riddick (Universal), The Skin (HAMAFilms Antigua) and the sci-fi classic Stargate SG-1.
The film also co-stars Canadian Gemini-Award winning, Actress, Kim Huffman. Her first leading TV role was opposite a young Ewan MacGregor in Dennis Potter's highly acclaimed British mini-series Lipstick on Your Collar, followed by over 100 episodes and film roles.
Supporting actors include: British Actor, Tom Pritchard, the Crown, (Netflix); Antiguan-British Actress, Julie Hewlett, Turks and Caicos (BBC), The Sweetest Mango (HAMAFilms) and Born Kickin (BBC); Rhoma Spencer, Da Kink in My Hair (Global TV).
Musical performances will include, Causion, Antigua and Barbuda’s reggae ambassador. And the movie’s soundtrack will be produced by Grammy winner Maurice Gregory of Third World and will include vocals from other Antiguan artist.
Despite their previous credits, The Skin, The Sweetest Mango, No Seed, Diablesse and Paradise View, the husband and wife team say it’s still an uphill battle to raise financing to tell stories that are reflective of our Caribbean experience. In fact, this project has been in development for five years.
“While things are better today than when we were breaking new ground with our first feature 20 years ago, indigenous filmmaking is still being made on a shoe-string budget in the Caribbean. Because we’re still lacking things like co-production deals, tax credits and the necessary infrastructure,” says Mr. Allen.
“It’s happening slowly, but regionally, we have to recognize that filmmaking, creativity and the arts, in general, drive economic growth.”
The film will be shot in various locations across the island, through-out the month of May.
“Production of this film wouldn’t be possible without the support of the Ministry for Tourism. In fact, every one of the films we’ve made, they’ve been there to support says Mitzi Allen, the film’s Executive Producer. Allen says the Tourism Authority and their partners put together a package for their cast and crew that has brought tremendous value to the production. “I’d like to thank our partners, Bryson’s Shipping and Insurance the local agents for Nagico, West Jet, Ocean Point Hotel Resort and Spa, Town House Mega Store, Sugar Ridge Resort and Frank B. Armstrong and patrons Sir George Ryan and Lady Ryan and Makeda Mikael and Antigua Motors. Their support is key to the development of an industry.”
Deep Blue wraps shooting May 30th and is slated for release next spring.
Follow the Deep Blue film production journey at HAMAFilms Antigua on Facebook or at www.hamafilms.com.