When opportunity knocked, 25 year old Hakeem Barrett, welcomed the move to gain necessary skills and qualifications necessary to someday propel him into the Jamaican film industry, an industry which he describes as untapped to a large extent.
Noting the current economic climate with few jobs and scarce opportunities, eMedia Interactive and Youth Upliftment Through Employment (YUTE) partnered to train two groups of 40 young persons from some of Kingston’s more at risk communities. Hakeem is being trained as part of the first cohort who completed the Film and TV production skills training in May of this year.
Speaking at the official programme launch on April 25, held at the University of the West Indies Technology Innovation Centre, Hakeem explained that, “The YUTE Lens programme has been very enlightening and has helped me to focus my attention on being more productive and social or rather work on my relationship skills. I hope to gradually pass all my training sessions to one day becoming a great Jamaican film producer/director in hopes of creating more job opportunities for persons who want to express their creative nature in acting or being a part of a film production.”
Explaining what he has garnered from the one month long training in film and TV production, he cited the development of his interpersonal and negotiation skills. As a producer Hakeem described the need to, “sell quickly and show others that they should be apart of your project. I’ve learnt what it takes to produce, the advantages and disadvantages and how to communicate and work in groups”. Noting the length of the programme however, Barrett alluded to his need to “gain further production experience and to one day become a film producer”.
Hakeem was quick to commend the talent that exists within the Jamaican film Industry, recommending however that as a nation we should try to “match or surpass rather than to imitate” since we have some much natural creative energy.
Speaking about what keeps him motivated, the young trainee sighted the fact that he was from Riverton, an Inner City community located in Kingston Jamaica, and was wrestling a the stigma associated with communities such as that of his own.
A well mannered and articulate young man, the YUTE Lens Support participant recalls working hard to standout from the crowd and facing criticism based on his use of Standard English, viewed as shocking due to his address, a factor he views as motivation to excel even further.
A graduate of the Norman Manley High school, having completed a variety of Arts and Information subjects, Hakeem is an example of the raw talent that exists within the Inner City awaiting similar mediums through which to grow and develop as qualified and employable.
The YUTE Lens Support programme is funded by the Australian Government and seeks to train young person’s such as Hakeem, equipping them with the necessary employability and marketability skills to position them within the Jamaican film industry. The goal is to kindle within them the zeal for success having been introduced to the intricacies of film and its potential as a lucrative career path.