Style Observer

Cocktails with... Allison Harrison

Sunday, April 29, 2018

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Get used to seeing a woman handling a camera, especially award-winning film-maker and chief creative at Factory75 Allison Harrison, for this is the new normal.

The Miami International University of Art and Design graduate is also certified by the National Council on Technical and Vocational Educational Training (NCTVET) and is in the business of offering an array of services tailored for corporate, commercial and entertainment projects, along with narrative and documentary film-making. But what's the story when the shutter closes and the lens are dismounted?

Over drinks at The Longboarder, Harrison frames her journey in the film industry, her challenges and how she intends to write for herself a Hollywood-worthy story.

What is your favourite sip?

I enjoy a good stout, especially from a small-scale brewery, but it's usually a bottle of Guinness or a Dragon.

What do you do for fun?

Watch films, read books and listen to music... I'm really into R&B, the neo-soul stuff that's popular right now and, of course, dancehall.

What sparked your interest in film-making?

I just wanted to do more. I knew I could make a valuable contribution to the film and entertainment sector, and having my own company is propelling me to do more.

How long have you been in the industry?

I've been working at various levels in the industry for about 13 years.

Have you ever been the victim of sexism in your business, and how did you address it?

I don't think it was so drastic as to describe it as 'sexism' but I have been in situations where the balance was not there... because of gender.

Which personal project is your favourite to date?

My very first short film Proscenium would be my favourite so far.

What are your Top 3 must-haves during location scouting?

1. A camera or something to take a record

2. &empmargin;The key members working on the project

3. An open mind

How different is your creative process when working on personal projects as against commercial ones?

For commercial projects, there's less time to really work through the process. Commercial projects also come with specific parameters that can sometimes limit the effectiveness of the process. The process evolves with every project whether personal or commercial, but there is definitely more freedom of expression in my personal projects.

If you could change one thing about the landscape of Jamaica's film industry, what would it be and why?

One of the most difficult tasks is raising money to pay for a production. I would target the creation of financing models to assist with the development of the film sector. Not all funding models will be applicable to our needs, but more work needs to go into finding a unique model for financing Jamaican cinema. More support programmes are necessary to build the capacity and accessibility of our local talent and more films need to be produced and released.

Feature films or TV series?


Popcorn or chips, for movie night?


You get the opportunity to work with a major international film-making entity, which is it and why?

If I had the opportunity to work with a major film studio, it would be Blumhouse Productions. They produce commercial-level movies on the thinnest of budgets. They have quite a bit of success in films such as Get Out, Split and Paranormal Activity.

An epic Hollywood biopic is produced. You're the subject. What singular moment would be most powerful?

Wow...singular moment?...It would be when I produced Proscenium..Just because it was new... in the sense of how we approached the production of the film and the avenues we took to get the job done with very little resources, which were chiefly ourselves. The process was very impactful for me because I got a chance to discover and work with other young creatives who were just as passionate about creating.

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