“SUGAR,” the second short film released by Michelle Serieux, a St. Lucian filmmaker living and working in Jamaica, was produced as part of the first JAFTA Propella series, in 2016. Through the series, Jamaica’s Film Commissioner is driving investment in the film industry, and created the Propella as a way secure investments for film and impact the development of emerging filmmakers working in Jamaica.
Through the Propella, 5 short films are produced each year. There is a submission process and filmmakers who are selected as finalists, receive training and funds to produce their film. Once produced, the films are screened at the Trinidad & Tobago Film Festival, with all of the filmmakers in attendance. Several similar screenings are organized with different festivals around the world.
SUGAR, stars Shantol Jackson, a young, but busy Jamaican actress. After making this film, she was selected for one of the lead roles in YARDIE, the directorial debut of Idris Elba, which is making its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, this year, in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition.
SUGAR, made its world premiere at the 2017 Miami International Film Festival, and is now available exclusively on Studio Anansi.
SYNOPSIS: Synopsis – A young black Jamaican girl from the underclass and on the brink of womanhood, works at a Jamaican resort where she witnesses tourists’ affluence on a daily basis. As the de facto breadwinner for her very large family, she faces a crisis of conscience, when a tourist couple seems to be the answer to her financial predicament.
Watch SUGAR now:
Writer – Sharon Leach
Director/Producer – Michelle Serieux
Producer – Sarah Manley
Producer – Laurie Parker
Cinematographer – Gareth Cobran
Still Photographer – Jeff Crossley
Soleil Michelle Serieux, is a filmmaker and actress local to St Lucia and Jamaica, working in fiction, non-fiction and new media. Her work has been supported by the Sundance Institute, Tribeca Film Institute, Chicken and Egg Pictures, Women Make Movies, The Alter-Cine Foundation, Maine Media Workshops and a Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival documentary development workshop. She holds a MA in Film + Cinema Studies from Columbia University with Honours in New Media and a BA with First Class Honours in Media and Communication, Drama and Cultural Studies from the University of the West Indies.
SUGAR, a first time collaboration with Jamaican writer Sharon Leach, was a winner of the inaugural JAFTA PROPELLA initiative. She is the 2018 Filmmaker in Residence at the University of the West Indies Mona through its Department of Literatures in English, and also Lecturer of Audio Visual Histories in the UWI Mona Department of History.
Shantol Jackson, most popularly known for her starring role in Dahlia Harris’ “Thicker than Water,” television series, and the popular teen drama, “Real Friends,” discovered her love for acting when she entered the drama club at the Ardenne High school. Under the guidance and tutelage of Suzanne Beadle, she managed to secure several Jamaica Culture Development Commission gold medals and National Awards during her time in high school. She later went on to entering the University of the West Indies’ Tallawah competition, there receiving multiple awards. Shantol has worked not only as an actress but also has experience in Stage Management and has served Costume Mistress.
With just 5 years in the business, Shantol, has performed in various stage plays, including Hurricane Honeymoon and The Mountaintop. In 2016 Shantol starred in her first feature film “Sprinter” written and directed by Storm Saulter. She later starred in the short film “Sugar,” part of the Jampro Propella project, written by Sharon Leach and directed by Michelle Serieux. In her latest project, she is in the starring role her second feature film “Yardie,” which was directed by Idris Elba in his directorial debut.
Sharon Leach, is a Jamaican writer. A 2011 Bronze Musgrave medallist for excellence in literature, she has published two short-story collections, What You Can’t Tell Him (Star Apple Publishers, Trinidad, 2006) and, Love It When You Come, Hate It When You Go (Peepal Tree Press, UK, 2014), which was shortlisted for the Grand Prix littéraire as well as the Guyana Prize for Caribbean Literature. A third collection of stories was recently completed.
She has also recently begun writing screenplays. Sugar, is her first short film, an adaptation for her story of the same name.