Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Documentary About Mississauga Showcases at Inaugural Film Festival

By Neil Armstrong

Filmmaker David B. Dacosta's short film, "The Saugonian,"will be featured at a film festival in Mississauga on November 9. Photo contributed

A new short documentary by a filmmaker of Jamaican heritage will be featured at an inaugural film festival in Mississauga, Ontario on November 9.

David B. Dacosta’s “The Saugonian” will be one of seven films shown at “Reel-In ‘Sauga Film Festival 2017” which focuses on short films created by local filmmakers and is presented by the Mississauga Central Library.

Born and raised in Mississauga, he said this was a film that was on his mind from the latter part of 2015 but he went to Jamaica in November that year and was there until February 2017. The film is about his connection to the city and what Mississauga means to him.

Dacosta told himself that when he got back here he would do it but his visits to Jamaica are usually ones in which he can’t easily predict how long he’ll stay at the family home in St. Mary.

His father is from that parish, he was in St. Andrew for a little while and his mother is from Clarendon so he was there too.

“This past summer I said okay, seriously, it’s been almost two years now, I have to do this film. So, this past summer, like mid-to-late June I started working on it.”

In 2016, Dacosta released three feature length films about different aspects of Jamaican culture: “Jay-Ay,” “Port Maria: Herstory” and “Miss Jamaica.”

He says he has been living in the island off and on since the 1970s, attending primary school in the ‘70s and high school in the ‘80s.

“As far as last year, as far as that kind of output, I was very inspired,” he said.

“Jay-Ay,” was partly done in St. Mary and St. Andrew, and “Miss Jamaica,” a film dealing with gender politics in Jamaica, were screened at the University of the West Indies, Mona campus.

“Port Maria: Herstory” covers five hundred years of history and from his research Dacosta discovered that many historically significant things happened in that city. He screened it online and did some press to promote it.

The filmmaker has lived in Florida in the United States and Edmonton and Brampton in Canada, but the bulk of his life has been spent living in Mississauga and Jamaica.

His interest in films and filmmaking was sparked by a call that his aunt made to his mother informing her that there was a film going on in Toronto and the family should come because they’ll get paid.

He was 15 years old then and a beakdancer, and along with his cousins were a collective on the set of John Grin’s “Christmas” – a 1986 adaptation of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.”

Isaac from “The Love Boat” was there, so too was Robert Guillaume from “Benson” so it was exciting for him to see these stars that he watched on television.

“It was actually a made for television film – just seeing how it was put together, that was fascinating.”

He continued to do extra work and the next thing he knew he started making films.

Dacosta studied journalism at Ryerson University and although a filmmaker says he’s always a journalist.

He has written locally, contributed to the Jamaica Observer, and has written in New York and California.

“I’m always a journalist. No matter what I’m doing outside of journalism, I’m always a journalist. It started off as a creative writer and morphed into journalism,” said Dacosta who has been a public relations representative, film critic, book reviewer, screenplay writer, but underscores that he has been a journalist for over 20 years and “that’s never going to stop.”

He has made about twenty films, his first being the short “The White Van” made in 2007, a few years after he wrote his first screenplay in 2003.

The free “Reel-In ‘Sauga Film Festival 2017” will take place at the Noel Ryan Auditorium, Central Library in Mississauga, Ontario on November 9.

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