Sun | Jun 13, 2021

Local team, CARIMAC animation majors to produce Sesame Street short film

Published:Friday | May 7, 2021 | 12:22 AMShereita Grizzle/Staff Reporter
Tajha Winkle
Tajha Winkle
George Hay
George Hay
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Two animation majors from the Caribbean School of Media and Communication (CARIMAC) at The University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona campus, will be a part of a local production team set to produce an animated short film for the 52nd season of the globally popular children’s series, Sesame Street. The students, Chevon Irving and Tajha Winkle, join forces with local animator George Hay, their project adviser and mentor, to bring to life the film titled 11 Robot Reggae Band.

The creative duo and their mentor were selected from a pool of entrants at the recently concluded KingstOOn Animation Conference and Film Festival. They had responded to calls from the Sesame Workshop for new pitches. The call for pitches was opened to Jamaican citizens as well as permanent residents enrolled as students. Artists were invited to submit their ideas for review by Sesame Street film producer Kimberly Wright, for animated and mixed-media short films to be considered for inclusion in Sesame Street’s 52nd season.

PIONEERING SHOW

This is not the first time Jamaican animators have received the unique opportunity to develop content for Sesame Street as KingstOOn continues to provide Jamaican and Caribbean animators with ways to continue creating opportunities for producers to generate profits from their projects; and to showcase diverse content, including film and animation products from around the world. Sesame Street is a pioneering television show that has been reaching and teaching children since 1969. Sesame Workshop, the organisation behind arguably the number one kid’s show in the world, said they are “an innovative force for change, with a mission to help kids everywhere grow smarter, stronger, and kinder”. Their mantra states that having a presence in more than 150 countries worldwide, their programmes are “grounded in rigorous research and tailored to the needs and cultures of the communities” they serve.

In a release sent to The Gleaner, Sesame Street’s’ Wright expressed excitement at the partnership with the young creatives and said the producers of Sesame Street are excited to see what’s on the horizon for the pending production. “ Sesame Street has a long history in Jamaica, first through its partnership with Beaches Resorts and now with KingstOOn. We’re pleased to continue showcasing the invaluable talent of local animators and artists, and we are so excited to commission the film titled 11 Robot Reggae Band for our Season 52 line-up. We are excited to work with Chevon, Tajha, and George,” the producer shared.

Irving, Winkle and Hay are now poised to follow in the path of the Listen Mi Caribbean team, who produced a live-action short film that aired during Sesame Street’s 50th season back in 2019. Irving, who spoke on behalf of Jamaica’s animation team, said they are honoured at the opportunity to work on a project for a show as big and monumental as Sesame Street. “We are beyond words. It’s truly a great honour for us to be working on a project for Sesame Street. The whole world will be seeing this, so it’s a very big deal.”

shereita.grizzle@gleanerjm.com