Tue | Jan 19, 2021

Diversity in Cannes - ‘Flight’ makes it to Film Mecca

Published:Sunday | May 19, 2019 | 12:00 AMKimberley Small - Staff Reporter
'Flight' film-makers. From left: Kia Moses, Adrian McDonald, and Gabrielle Blackwood at the screening of the film at the Pan African Film Festival.
The trophy 'Flight' won at the Pan African Film Festival.
Kia Moses and Gabrielle Blackwood at the awards ceremony at the Pan African Film Festival.

Jamaican film-makers Kia Moses and Adrian McDonald have been enjoying the type of exposure amateurs dream of. Their 13 minutes-long short film, Flight, produced as part of the JAFTA Propella Short Film Initiative, is making its way to the biggest film stage in the world – Cannes Film Festival.

The film-makers are currently in France to be part of the Diversity in Cannes Short Film Showcase. “It’s been really surreal. We’re just so grateful to see how it moves audiences all across the world, crossing borders and different languages,” Moses told The Sunday Gleaner. Before getting selected to be screened in Cannes, Flight has been jetting across Arkansas, Florida, and California, moving audiences and impressing international industry professionals to earn enviable accolades and cash prizes to boot.

“It’s a real, beautiful chaos in terms of the go-go-go,” Moses added.


In March, Flight competed for the first time at the BWFN (Black Women in Film Network) Film Festival, where it was nominated in seven categories, winning three: Best Screenplay, Audience Award, and Best in Festival, the overall prize, which included cash and a meeting with HBO executives.

That same month, Flight was nominated for and won two awards (Best Short Film and Audience Award) at the Nouveaux Regards Film Festival in Guadeloupe. “This was our second film festival and another amazing achievement and in a French-speaking country this time!” Moses exclaimed.

More exciting than the awards in Guadeloupe was a show of national excellence. According to Moses, Jamaica “dominated” Nouveaux Regards with Storm Saulter’s latest film, Sprinter, winning Best Feature and Flight winning Best Short. “Like a Jamaican film Olympic team winning both long and short distances,” Moses quipped.

Though they were unable to physically claim their awards in Guadeloupe, the crew found sponsorship support from the Alacran Foundation and R ubi s, along with a special donation from Zeal Jamaica and were able to jet to France to collect their trophy from the third competition. Flight went to the Festival International du Film Pan African de Cannes in France – where they took the prize for Best Short Film.

Earlier this month, Flight travelled to Arkansas for the Bentonville Film Festival (BFF). Founded by actress Geena Davis (known for her roles in Beetlejuice and The Long Kiss Goodnight) and ARC Entertainment executive Trevor Drinkwater focused on diversity in film. The BFF is the only film festival in the world to offer guaranteed multiplatform distribution to its winners. Films that win the Audience, Jury, and Best Family Film awards receive theatrical distribution from AMC Theatres, are shown on Lifetime television, and get a DVD or video-on-demand release from Walmart and Vudu.

Flight was given the BFF Audience Award.

Diversity in Cannes

Presented by American publicist and event producer Yolonda Brinkley, with support from Academy Award winner Viola Davis and Julius Tennon’s JuVee Productions, Midian Films, and director Crystle C. Roberson, the Diversity in Cannes Short Film Showcase will present 16 films in competition. With an acceptance rate of less than 10 per cent, the films were hand-selected by a 53-member international screening committee of diverse entertainment industry professionals and film enthusiasts from a record 359 submissions from 34 countries including China, Denmark, Ethiopia, Ghana, Jamaica, Japan, Russia, Turkey, and New Zealand.

Brinkley, creator of Diversity in Cannes, is a pioneer in promoting diversity and inclusion at the festival. “It’s the unwavering support of film-makers like Kia Moses and Adrian McDonald that inspire the continual momentum necessary to ensure marginalised voices and underrepresented stories are seen and heard at the Cannes Film Festival and beyond,” she said in a release. The 2019 Diversity in Cannes Short Film Showcase is on Monday, May 20.

HBO Short Film

Flight has also been selected to be in a Short Film Corner for ‘underrepresented groups’ at Cannes. Continuing their inclusion efforts, Diversity in Cannes is producing two independent screenings in the Palais de Festival (home of the Cannes Film Festival), with a focus on global women of colour in film and black lives, black stories. This is only the first leg of Flight’s journey through the film festival circuit.

Next up, Moses and McDonald’s film will go to the American Black Film Festival. “We’re one of only five short films in the HBO Short Film Competition,” Moses shared. Additionally, they have also been accepted to the San Fransisco Black Film Festival.

“It’s just amazing to be representing Jamaica with an inspirational film. The power of this 13-minute film and how powerfully it’s been representing Jamaica… just sending out a positive message of inspiration, not only for our children, but children around the world - especially in urban communities. I’m so proud,” gushed Moses.