Seven years ago, Montego Bay businessman Mark Hart invited his old college friend, Luciano Blotta, an Argentinian filmmaker, to visit Jamaica and to bring his camera. With no experience of Jamaica or reggae music, Blotta was immediately struck by the Island’s color and inner beauty. The film he would make, along with his relationship with the Island, evolved into a love affair with the sights and sounds of Jamaica. Although RiseUp is essentially a documentary spotlighting Jamaican music, the film transcends genre and niche, seamlessly weaving three distinct stories into one inspiring feature-length movie that is both dramatic and vibrantly explosive.
Upon viewing the film earlier in the year at a private screening on the Island, Chris Blackwell stated that “RiseUp is the best Jamaican film since The Harder They Come”. International audiences have echoed the sentiment saying that RiseUp is like a ‘Jamaican Hoop Dreams’ and the best movie to come out of the Caribbean in many years. Both Jamaican newspapers, The Gleaner and The Observer, have praised the film, with accolades like “A New Classic.” Directed and produced by Luciano Blotta, and produced by Darrin Holender, the film features appearances and performances by both emerging and legendary artists, with music by Sizzla, Daddigon, Sly & Robbie, Richie Spice, Turbulence and many others.
Always an audience favorite, RiseUp has toured the world for 18 months as an officially selected festival and special event film, screening in over 20 countries and winning awards such as the 2009 AFI/DISCOVERY SILVERDOCS Best Music Documentary Award. Earlier this year, RiseUp was chosen by New York’s Lincoln Center Film Society to celebrate Black History Month and a one-hour version of the film was broadcasted by many television networks worldwide including the BBC. RiseUp’s performances worldwide have revealed a special connection between the film and audiences from diverse backgrounds with people dancing, laughing and crying in their seats. Core reggae audiences and music documentary fans have lauded the film for its authenticity and entertainment value, while general audiences have praised the film for its original storytelling, inspirational tone and beautiful imagery and sounds.
In an interview with Australian press, Blotta stated, “I saw how much talent there is [in Jamaica], how flamboyant, different and creative all these people were, and it really inspired me.” He is excited to finally share his seven-year project with audiences in Jamaica hoping that Jamaicans will appreciate this priceless portrayal of a uniquely proud country. Entertainment industry veterans like BBC’s Nick Fraser and HBO director/producer Marty Callner, have commended Blotta’s efforts as an invaluable contribution to both the Jamaican culture as well as the medium of documentary cinema. It is no surprise that Blotta has found a home on the Island, making time to shoot videos for Jamaica’s talent and business communities. He hopes that RiseUp can be a testament to Jamaica as a positive and inspirational experience for Jamaicans and non-Jamaicans alike.