Tue | Jul 23, 2024

Ja’s ‘Raised by Goats’ cops Sørfond prize in Cannes

Published:Sunday | June 16, 2024 | 12:09 AM

From left: Producer of ‘Raised By Goats’ Nadean Rawlins; Sørfond Project Manager Mads Wølner Voss and Director Gibrey Allen.
From left: Producer of ‘Raised By Goats’ Nadean Rawlins; Sørfond Project Manager Mads Wølner Voss and Director Gibrey Allen.

The Jamaican feature-film project, Raised by Goats, has achieved another first, this time as the first Jamaican project to receive the Sørfond Prize following the project’s and filmmakers’ selection, recent participation and pitch at the acclaimed La Fabrique Cinéma de l’Institut francais programme, held at the Cannes Film Festival in France in May.

Since 2020, La Fabrique Cinéma de l’Institut francais has had a partnership with Sørfond – the Norwegian South Film Fund. This year, Raised by Goats, directed by Gibrey Allen and produced by Nadean Rawlins, has been invited, as one of only six select international projects, to take part in the invitation-only Sørfond Pitching Forum in November.

The aim of the forum is to facilitate the project’s co-production with Norwegian producers who, as a minority producer, can apply for production grants for the project from the Sørfond.

“Among several fantastic projects presented in La Fabrique, this project stood out for its promising vision and ambition,” noted Sørfond project manager at the Oslo Festival Agency, Mads Wølner Voss. “So far, Sørfond has not supported a project from Jamaica, so it would be wonderful if Raised By Goats could find a Norwegian co-producer during the Sørfond Pitching Forum in Oslo, Norway, this year.”

The Sørfond, which is jointly run by the Oslo Festival Agency and the Norwegian Film Institute, grants top financing for the co-production of fiction and documentary films in development, where the main producer is located in a developing country, of which the director is also a citizen. Funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Sørfond was created with the goal of helping filmmakers in developing countries to realise film projects, given their need for both production capital, international professional networks and the demand for film productions from those countries.

Raised By Goats’ selection for the Sørfond Pitching Forum is a testament to the international recognition of and desire to see more Jamaican stories,” said Rawlins “It is also a tremendous step forward towards our project securing international collaborators and co-production funding.”

The project’s award comes on the heels of Jamaica’s recent launch of the Jamaica Screen Development Initiative fund, which can provide up to 65 per cent of production costs for applicant projects. “When our project and names were announced, we hesitated for a moment because we were so incredibly surprised,” recalled Allen.

“It has given a significant boost to the development of Raised by Goats and we’re extremely excited to now go to Norway to participate in the next phase of the award,” he added

Raised By Goats is a multi-generational suspenseful drama set in 1962 Jamaica about a grief-stricken woman, Trudy, who finds renewed hope and new love within the mysterious and mystical Blue Mountains. The Sørfond places emphasis on a project’s cultural identity, including the use of local languages and local shooting locations. Emphasis is also placed on the director’s and the producers’ experience, as well as the representation of women in key positions.

Since its inception, the Sørfond has supported 97 international co-productions with Norwegian minority producers. Several projects coming out of La Fabrique Cinema de l’Institut francais and the Sørfond Pitching Forum, have gone on to complete production and achieve international acclaim at prestigious film festivals such as Festival de Cannes, the International Film Festival of Rotterdam, Locarno Film Festival and Berlinale Film Festival.