For the first time in history a short film produced in St.Vincent and the Grenadines,
by a Vincentian filmmaker, is in the lineup at the 2022 Locarno Film Festival in Switzerland.
The festival has extended an invitation to the director of the short film, Akley Olton, and also to
Aiko Roudette, who created SVG’s Hairouna Film Festival, to represent
St. Vincent and the Grenadines in Switzerland this year.
For the next three years Locarno Film Festival is shining a special spotlight on Caribbean Cinema through film development initiatives, workshops, and other forms of collaboration. As a part of this spotlight they have made contact with Vincentian filmmakers Aiko Roudette and Akley Olton and invited them to attend the festival this year in Switzerland; Akley to represent his film, and Aiko to represent the film festival.
Their presence at this festival not only gives St. Vincent due representation in the global flm sector, but allows us to ensure that St. Vincent is able to benefit from these opportunities. With thousands of international flm industry members it will be an invaluable networking opportunity.
With a population of roughly 100,000, it was approximated that 72,000 Internet users navigate the web from over 132,000 screens in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, but where is the local content that tells the stories of our culture, our communities, and our country?
The islands are home to many naturally talented creatives, dancers, writers, actors, photographers, Storytellers, fashion designers, sculptors, animators, and painters. Vincentians spend their lives fighting to express themselves because our society does not know how to create economic activity with this abundant natural resource.
As global creative industries continue to generate billions, and as Caribbean nationals become more advanced with communication technology, it would be an advantage to create projects that will stimulate and develop this creative energy trapped in our people. Here are your two young Vincentians who have taken it on themselves to tackle the challenge of making a living as Vincentian creatives, who are successful and are making an impact at the highest levels possible. But in order for them to find opportunities to develop the film sector, they need your support.
ABOUT LOCARNO FILM FESTIVAL
Founded in 1946, Locarno Film Festival is ranked one of the best flm festivals in the world with almost 250,000 annual attendees. Committed to supporting emerging global talent, for the next three years Locarno Film Festival is focusing on Caribbean and Latin American cinema through their Open Doors Program.
ABOUT HAIROUNA FILM FESTIVAL
Hairouna Film Festival is a Film Festival based in St. Vincent and the Grenadines committed to developing the film sector in St. Vincent. To date HFF has held 3 very successful editions of the festival. Since the launch of Open Doors, Hairouna Film Festival has been developing a relationship with Locarno, who participated in Hairouna Film Festival 2022.
Akley Olton is a filmmaker and visual artist from St. Vincent and Grenadines, with a passion for stories that inspire & provoke. He is interested in exploring how aesthetics can regenerate fresh connections with ancestry, tradition and cultural identity. Established as a leading voice in the emerging Caribbean film industry, he has sharpened his advanced visual aesthetic and technical expertise to translate advanced concepts into beautiful forms that resonate with audiences on a higher level. A core theme behind Akley’s visual style is resistance, and testimony to transformative power and impact that art has on society. He is an alumnus of the University of the West Indies and the prestigious International School of Film and Televisions (EICTV) in Cuba. Akley has overseen the creative direction and execution of numerous projects for some of the Caribbean’s top brands and some international companies, has also worked in different capacities on award-winning fiction & documentaries films. His award-winning debut short film “Black Doll” hailed a new kind of intrinsic critique and analysis of Caribbean conceptions of beauty.
He has been featured in numerous Creative industry-related magazines and podcasts around the world. And has been recognized at multiple coveted creative industry awards and was recognized by UK’s “Pitchcool ” magazine where he was celebrated for his creative merit, as a door opener & pioneer.
Aiko Maya Roudette is a Caribbean filmmaker and founder/director of the Hairouna Film Festival; a Caribbean film festival based in her home country St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The majority of Aiko’s work is concerned with the power of the arts to create positive social and personal transformation particularly applied to the Caribbean region.
At 19 a scholarship sent her to New York where she obtained a Bachelor’s and Master’s in Film Production and Media Studies. Over the following 9 years Aiko would remain in New York studying and working as a freelance filmmaker. While there she collaborated with many notable artists and production companies, among which were Quest Love’s Production Company OkayPlayer, and Little Monster Films, responsible for the Oscar Award Winning documentary film Free Solo (2018). During this time she worked on several international productions in Berlin, Dominica, Uganda, St. Kitts and London. In her spare time Aiko volunteered shooting and editing videos for various human rights groups and was an active member of Decolonize This Place (DTP) a group that advocated for accountability from Art Institutions and Museums (including repatriation of stolen artifacts). Their protests were formulated through the concept of ‘Art and Action’ which sees art as having a central role in the reclamation of narrative necessary in the defense of human rights. DTP performed actions related to workers rights, anti-gentrification, palestinian rights, anti-police brutality and indigenous rights among others.
In 2018 Aiko moved back to St. Vincent where she would team up with other Vincentian creatives to form the Hairouna Film Festival; a free, outdoor, mobile Caribbean film festival. Since the inaugural year in 2019 Hairouna Film Festival has held 3 editions and in 2021 with support from Soho House Group, has launched the first script writing competition to be offered to exclusively to Vincentians. The winning film Cart Man by Grace Peters-Clarke is due to be shot in July 2022.
Aiko is presently working on three short documentaries and one short fiction film and is the Director of the Hairouna Film Festival. Her work has been shown in festivals and screenings in Toronto, London, Poland, New York, Trinidad, Berlin, St. Kitts, Aruba and St. Vincent. Her most recent additions to her client list include international members club Soho House Group and British/ Antiguan TV presentors Miquita and Andi Oliver