Mischievous and introspective in turns, Anna Pollack’s lo-fi travelogue shot while visiting family in Jamaica showcases the distinctive camerawork and playful editing style of an emerging talent in NYC independent film. Loosely divided into four vignettes, its many standout moments include an encounter with an absurd would-be rasta and a charming game of celebrity hot-or-not. Following screenings in group shows at New York’s Entrance, Tanya Bonakdar and Kimberly-Klark galleries, it screens now in its online premiere.
Anna Pollack’s mother was born and raised in Jamaica, but left the island at just 21. Her director daughter arrived there for the first time at the same age, decades later. The Queens native brought along just two rolls of still film and one tape for a MiniDV camcorder, the only video camera she had available at the time that could fit in her bag. Forced to shoot extremely selectively because of a battery that died every ten minutes, she at the same time had no set plans about what, if anything, she would do with the stills and footage.
“I think the process came a bit later on, once I received my photos back. I knew that I did not want all the footage to exist as is. I wanted to be able to revisit it and have it be accessible to myself. I didn’t want it to fade forever and gather dust, and so began to organize it and group it by certain people and places, then I just blended it all – my favorite snippets, characters, stills, sound bites.” ANNA POLLACK
Even with its energetic, musical cutting and elegant structure, Jamaica Tapes keeps the close, affectionate feeling of a diary or photo album. One feels the young artist using her cameras to learn more about not only the island and herself, but also her mother, who had left the landscape the footage captures so many years before.
Pollack is a recent graduate from the NYU Tisch School of the Arts, and is currently preparing a festival cut of her first narrative short and thesis film Briarpatch, as well as a second narrative short. Her first photo book, a companion to Jamaica Tapes called Jamaica Jamaica, was published by Dizzy Magazine in 2019. Upcoming projects in development include fashion films and a documentary about her father, and much of her previous work can be seen on her website, including Le Cinéma Club selection Chameleon (2018).
- Credits for
- Jamaica Tapes
- Bev and Friends, Pinky, Mario "Blackie", Zulu, Punchanella, Zuri Marley, George, Yvonne
- Anna Pollack
- Anna Pollack
- Donna Pollack, George
- Jasper Marsalis