Caribbean film starring Jamaican actress Sherando Ferril makes waves at Cannes

June 17, 2024  -In a monumental achievement for Jamaican and Caribbean cinema, the feature film “Chokehold,” starring Jamaican actress Sherando Ferril, has been showcased at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival.

Following its success at Cannes, the film is set to make appearances at both the Essence and Toronto International Film Festivals (TIFF). This marks a historic moment as “Chokehold” is the first film of its kind with a lead actress who not only hails from but also resides in Jamaica, setting a new precedent in the international film arena.

Sherando Ferril’s performance has been central to the film’s success, earning accolades for her portrayal of a complex character navigating themes of gender violence—a topic that resonates globally. The film’s reception at Cannes was nothing short of spectacular, paving the way for its upcoming presentations at other top-tier festivals and spotlighting Jamaican talent on an unprecedented scale.

The significance of “Chokehold” extends beyond its artistic achievements. It represents a pivotal moment for Jamaica’s cultural export in the arts and entertainment sector, akin to the global influence seen with Jamaican sports figures. Recognizing this potential, the Jamaican government has invested one billion dollars into the Jamaica Screen Development Initiative (JSDI), aiming to amplify local content on a global stage. This initiative underscores a strong belief in the transformative power of Jamaican films to compete internationally.

Joel Ayuk, the director of “Chokehold,” expressed his excitement, saying, “Our film was very well received at Cannes and the feedback was amazing. The comments on our cinematography, our music and the performance of our actors rivaled any other film on the roster.”

Need for support for Jamaican films

As Sherando Ferril leads this cinematic movement, the need for robust local support becomes ever more apparent. Just as Jamaica has historically rallied behind its athletes, there is a burgeoning call for similar support for artists and filmmakers who are now carrying the flag on cultural and creative fronts. Corporate backing is especially crucial, providing not only financial resources but also enhancing the global perception of Jamaica as a hub of diverse and compelling storytelling.

The involvement of local corporations in supporting arts and entertainment mirrors a strategic investment in Jamaica’s cultural legacy and global reputation. As “Chokehold” continues to garner international attention and acclaim, the spotlight on Sherando Ferril and her groundbreaking role will hopefully ignite a wider recognition of the arts as a vital component of national pride and international identity.

With the film’s journey from Cannes to Essence and TIFF, Sherando Ferril and “Chokehold” are not just participating in festivals; they are making history, inspiring a new generation of filmmakers, and advocating for the support that Jamaican artists deserve.

To date, “Chokehold” has won more than a dozen awards at global film festivals. The film was shot in St. Martin and is written, produced, and directed by Joel Ayuk of Cani Studios.

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