Award-winning actress Tonya Lee Williams is among a team of advisors selected for this year’s Jamaica Film Festival (JFF).
Selected by Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), the advisors will provide logistics, technical and management support for the event and will assist local filmmakers with marketing and distributing their films locally and internationally.
“Jamaica is a country bursting with creative talent and ideas,” said JAMPRO president Diane Edwards. “The growth of the international film industry has set the stage for us to move forward as content creators and gives us the opportunity to display our culture all over the globe. The team of advisors will provide the necessary support JAMPRO and these filmmakers will need to get their films produced and shown locally and on the world stage.”
In 2001, Williams founded the ReelWorld Film Festival to showcase Canada’s diversity and provide a platform for visible minorities to display their artistic talent and in the process motivate audiences through film.
Crowned Miss Black Ontario in 1977 when she was 18, Williams landed small TV roles and worked in Canadian theatre for a few years before heading to Los Angeles 28 years ago in search of a major acting role. She is best known for her role as Dr. Olivia Hastings on the daytime drama, “The Young and the Restless” which she was associated with for 23 years.
The other advisors are Canada’s High Commissioner to Jamaica Robert Ready, actor Basil Wallace, media professional Bernard Stewart, retired journalist and filmmaker Paula Madison, TV producer Brian St. Juste, former Jamaica Tourist Board director of tourism John Lynch, Bart World Communications founder Bernard Stewart, Jamaican-born American actor Basil Wallace, Althea Wolfe and Horace Madison.
The JFF takes place in Kingston from July 7-11.
Jamaica has had a long and distinguished history in film, dating back to 1916 when Daughter of the Gods – a silent film featuring late Aussie swimmer/actress Annette Kellerman in the first-ever complete nude scene by a major star – became one of Hollywood’s first movies shot outside the United States. A 10-minute scene of Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz’s action adventure thriller, Knight & Day, was shot in Jamaica.
The list of popular movies filmed in Jamaica includes The Mighty Quinn, Marked for Death, Live and Let Die and Cool Runnings.