The annual GATFFEST Film Festival is a gargantuan effort. Over the past week, there have been community film screenings planned and executed in Trench Town, Nannyville and Port Royal. The festival continues this week with Japanese Film Night, two International Film Nights, Colombian Film Night and a Jamaican Film Night.
However, this weekend was reserved for the festival’s premiere gala event – the screening of Hear Me Move, the first-ever South African ‘Sbujwa’ street dance film.
Professor Ian Boxill, dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, and chair of the GATFFEST planning committee, reiterated the importance of film as an art-form, and as a potential catalyst for community development. He explained that the festival usually reserves the gala premiere night for a community-based film, but this time around, the festival utilised its international prowess, choosing to premiere Hear Me Move as a demonstration of social parallels between underserved communities in South Africa and in the Caribbean.
The film’s scenes were cinematographically pristine, backdropped by vibrant graffiti, and the story was universally communicable.
“Dance and music is not integral only to South Africa, but also to Jamaica,” said Gabrielle Blackwood, film-maker and president of the Jamaica Film and Television. She continued, “Hear Me Move highlighted how members of a low-income and marginalised community could come together to express themselves by representing their culture. It was not just about who had the best dance moves, but also about heart and spirit.”