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Filmmaker eager to change Ja's industry climate - Training youth to develop cool yet educational ideas

Published:Thursday | July 19, 2018 | 12:00 AMStephanie Lyew/Gleaner Writer
Filmmaker and CEO of GD Films, Garreth M. Daley
Garreth Daley, receives a welcome package from Avril Leonce, director of SME partnership and development at Scotiabank at the launch of the 2018 Scotiabank Vision Achievers Programme recently.

Garreth M. Daley is a veteran in Jamaica's film industry with almost two decades of work under his belt. Spending much of his life behind the scenes shooting commercials, music videos, and documentaries, Daley's career story board includes live television production, with him having worked with a number of local and international projects, including Marvel's Luke Cage TV series; Bravo TV's Real Housewives of Atlanta, and freelancing for ABC News (since 2004).

He has also worked twice with international hip-hop mogul Jay-Z as a steady cam-in operator, capturing content for the On The Run II tour with BeyoncÈ, and previously, as an assistant director for the collaboration with Damian 'Jr Gong' Marley on the single Bam.

According to Daley, his work is a testament that people do not necessarily have to leave Jamaica to make it.

"No matter how bad it is in terms of financial state, it is a good business platform and one of the best places in the Caribbean in terms of filming and as a destination," said Daley, whose career started out from apprenticeship at TVJ 18 years ago.

"It also has a lot to do with attitude - to advance, stop complaining and when you go to represent, give it 150 per cent because giving 100 per cent is so common."

The 37-year-old filmmaker and CEO of GD Films took the opportunity to step into the spotlight in March of this year when he applied, and was selected, to be one of 25 entrepreneurs to benefit from the Scotiabank Vision Achiever 2018 Programme.

When The Gleaner asked Daley about the importance of the project and working along with youth, he said, "I am big on development. Training an intern is one way to pass on the knowledge and change Jamaica's film industry and climate."

Moreover, he says, the film industry is all about the business of development and the current climate is dependent on technology, not the actual person behind the tools.

"There is no system in place to measure a real filmmaker from the man with a camera that thinks he is one," he said. "You find that it's hard to differentiate, and some persons, when all else has failed for them, the easiest move is to buy a camera without wanting to study the craft."

He believes that persons interested in entering the film industry should not only rely on the technology, but also aim to get some sort of training.

He added, "Any money I win will go back into the business to not only offer better services, but contribute to the continual training of young people."

He is hoping that through the exposure from the programme, he will gain the skills necessary to plan and manage the strategic growth of his business. In particular, he intends to put the training towards building traction behind GD Films' recently developed online series Creatives, a project that is currently acting as part of a mentorship system for college students.


Highlight creative people


"The whole point of the production is to highlight creative people in the industry, specifically, people behind the scenes. I wanted to do something that will have individuals looking on the subject as well as their career and say, 'I want to be like that person'," he said.

The series started out of the need to keep two student interns from the University of Technology occupied and learning (on days when there were no scheduled shoots) through the process of production. Daley says that it had to be informative and educational but also have a unique, attractive style to it. Already, it has featured Ruddy Roye, NY-based photographer, TIME Magazine's Instagram Photographer of 2016 and one of Daley's mentors, and Stefan Clarke, lecturer at the Edna Manley School of the Visual and Performing Arts, sculptor, and painter.

The knowledge gained from the programme has put Daley in a better position to realise his medium- to long-term goals for GD Films. He says that it is one of the avenues where he learnt to manage the business' financials, but not by focusing on the end product in dollar signs.

"As the CEO of a company, I have to train my team and explain to them the vision of the company. It means not just financial results, but developing the rapport you have with them, letting them know that they are a part of a bigger picture," he said. "I want GD Films to be the company of content creation in Jamaica and the Caribbean."

The people's choice competition will culminate on July 28. The top three winners in the programme will each benefit from more than $1.5 million in prizes from partners Development Bank of Jamaica Limited, eMedia Interactive Group, Digicel Business, and Business Access TV.