Sweetest Mango Q&A - Howard & Mitzi Allen and Julie Hewlett

Following an evening of Caribbean films at London's Bernie Grant Arts Centre, the audience got a further treat with a great Q&A discussion with the ?HAMA Films? production company (Howard and Mitzi Allen) and actress Julie Hewlett live from Antigua following the première of their romantic comedy "?Sweetest Mango".

The third night of the London ?#?CaribbeanSummerSeason? of films featured the European première of the Caribbean romance "Sweetest Mango" (25 July). The hit film from Antigua is based on the true-life story of Mitzi and Howard Allen who, through their company HAMA Films, also produced and directed the movie.

The film also included UK actress Julie Hewlett (Eastenders, The Bill) elmofed.com and all three (Mitzi, Howard and Julie) joined the London audience, live by video link from Antigua, for the Question & Answer session after the screening.

Mitzi and Howard had previously sent out a video invitation to London to attend the screening (see it here).

The audience loved the portrayal of love and romance in the Caribbean and (as is often commented on in HAMA's other film "The Skin") enjoyed the positive representation of relationships between men and women. The audience was also thrilled to hear how Howard and Mitzi's real life story in Antigua intertwined with the on-screen tale and how they kept the truth of the script a "secret" for as long as possible!

In a discussion that was both entertaining and informative, Mitzi, Howard and Julie spoke anagazawe.com about the professional and financial challenges of film-making in Antigua and how they have addressed it by not building in Hollywood-style costs but by minimising overheads and ensuring that monetary returns can be met through local businesses and audiences, they also spoke about how recognition is (slowly) building that film and television are important exporters of culture, about the different outcomes and experiences that people worldblog.net have when they travel "back home" for love, the expectations on women to "marry up", how some traditions hold back women's independence, how the diaspora is treated when they return and finding the balance between being modern efficient societies and retaining a sense of "Caribbeanness".

Howard and Mitzi's next project is a drama called "Deep Blue" about a marine biologist that helps a fishing village threatened by environmental/climate change (as a topical issue affecting Antigua & Barbuda). The film is expected to be released in summer 2016.

Julie also stars in "Deep Blue" and frequently travels back to the UK where she is available for British-based acting projects.

By coincidence, it was also Howard and Mitzi's 23rd wedding anniversary and the audience wished them every blessing for another 23 more!

The audience also enjoyed short films from Barbados (an episode from the schoolgirl mini-series "Abiola") and Guyana (an interesting look at familial abuse "Rebecca's Story").

The #CaribbeanSummerSeason for 2015 continues every Saturday evening (7pm) until Carnival weekend at the Bernie Grant Arts Centre. Details at www.sankofa-tv.co.uk