Having made his directorial debut with Better Mus’ Come in 2010, writer/ director Storm Saulter premiered his 90 minute sophomore film this week at the American Black Film Festival (ABFF) in Miami Florida. Rob Mailer along with Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, through their company Overbrook Productions, form part of Sprinter’s production team.
The annual five day American Black Film Festival , which ran from June 13- June 19 in Miami Beach, Florida saw Sprinter walk away with multiple awards from the festival. The film won categories that include Best Direction, Best Feature and the Audience Award.
In an interview he disclosed how delighted he was winning Best Director award and how grateful about the other awards as well.
In 2011 Mr. Storm Saulter took his film Better Mus Come to the American Black Film Festival, hence he is no stranger there.
“As a director it is great to be awarded Best Director ’cause that speaks to how you work, how you tell a story and so on, so that is sweet. But, to be honest, the Best Film Award and Audience Award are extra sweet… it’s awarding everyone that’s involved and film is a massive communal effort, so it’s like with those awards everybody who took part is really winning,” he stated.
In 1997 the American Black Film Festival (ABFF) was founded by Jeff Friday, to showcase films and television projects by and about people of African descent. It is a platform for young upcoming artistes and is home for a wider range of images, storytellers and stories in the entertainment industry.
“ABFF just ended up being the right place for us. They loved the film. I had a great experience showing work with them before and I just knew that this is an audience film, and we knew that people would appreciate that and we knew that we would get to see a beautiful reaction,” Saulter also spoke how the Festival has grown over the years.
“This is my second time at ABFF with a film. It is an amazing gathering of film-makers and executives and film enthusiasts. It’s a festival with a real family feeling and the work that comes through here is really celebrated and was truly the right place for us. They embraced this film, which is a blessing and kicks off a wave for where Sprinter is gonna go. It is definitely a place where young film-makers from the Caribbean should be paying attention in trying to get their work out.”
The film was shot in Jamaica and Los Angeles over a five week period and the story sees 17 year old Rastafarian Akeem Sharp, a gifted high school student, and member of his track and field team, who passionately wants to qualify for the National Youth track team. This would be the way that he gets to reunite with his mother, who is an illegal immigrant living in the United States, by competing at the World Youth Championship.
Speaking at a press forum held at the Jamaica Promotions Corporation headquarters (JAMPRO), Saulter disclosed that he wanted to avoid the usual stereotypes of how Jamaican youth are portrayed to be, such as being a ‘bad man’.
“It’s about a boy trying to figure out who he is and what his motivation is and why he is even running in the first place,” Saulter told reporters in an interview with a Jamaican publication . “I think the power of family and parents is super-important, and not having a parent around or a parental figure does impact kids. They are left to figure things out for themselves; inevitably you’re gonna have a few misfires sometimes ’cause you need someone to guide you. That’s not a rule against everything, but it’s important.”
Dale Elliot who is known for his popularly on social media aka ‘Elli The Viner’ will make his film debut as the lead actor. The story is particularly pertinent to the twenty two year old actor’s life as it enabled him to obtain a visa through his involvement with the movie and that meant that he was able to see his father in person after too many years apart. Elliot’s parents have both resided overseas for years. The main cast also comprises of Shantol Jackson, Dennis Titus and Kadeem Wilson.
“ Sprinter got me the visa to meet my dad, I really want to meet my mother and I really want her to see the film,” he said. “There are scenes in it where I have to display emotions as it relates to missing my mother or having family arguments, so that’s where I had to tap into a part of my life that I had cast a shadow over. There are some happy moments in the film, too. I think Sprinter captures beautiful features of the rural and urban aspects of Jamaica and I can’t wait for everyone to see it,” he told the Jamaican reporters.
CLICK TO WATCH THE TRAILER FOR SPRINTER: