Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Indie producer brings "Gangsta Comedy" to life: Blind Shotta

When one door (or many) closes, especially if you're a Jamaican, you open a few more.

In the case of  Diavallan Fearon, who had built a career in music against the odds (his music enterprise is aptly named Builders Music), the doors to radio airplay were repeatedly being shut on him and his ever-expanding stable of artistes. Some of them, like the DJ Predator, had already achieved some level of notoriety in the dancehalls and even on radio, but it proved to be of little effect.

Unable to continue to find space for his productions on tightly controlled local radio, Fearon, who had long harboured ambitions toward a career in film, started taking matters into his own hands, and created his own vehicle. Thus, we have "Blind Shottas" which he unofficially bills as a "gangsta comedy".

" I was inspired by some serious events" he recalls. " Living in [the Lady Huggins area of] north-central Kingston's Grants Pen community, I would frequently hear gunshots. On one occasion, I was awakened by a very long barrage of fire, but after the shooting stopped, no one, it seems had been injured or killed. so I said to myself, it must be a blind shotta, and the idea just grew from there."

Even so, a short preview of the film reveals shades of the kung fu/martial arts franchise, The Blind Swordsman (not to be confused with the One-Armed Swordsman) but switched to a contemporary innercity setting. Fearon says he spent a little over 8 months in production and post, about half of that in editing. That process, done at a friend's studio in California, carried some film-worthy drama of its own, including some unwanted domestic conflict (not involving him directly)

He's over that now and is presently in negotiations to have the movie exhibited on the local Jamaican circuit before taking it overseas. "We had a meeting with Palace Amusement recently, and we're seeing if we can have the movie shown to a Jamaican audience, and build from there. We provided employment to a number of persons and we want to play our part in building the entertainment industry, and provide even more opportunity."

On the personal front, he's looking to get married and to continue doing all he can to establish his music/entertainment complex and to keep pushing the boundaries for what can emerge from the innercity. "Ghetto people keep getting fought out by the system, but I'm here trying to represent for them so that everybody can uplift."

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