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Reggae producer Hill creates a buzz in Jamaica

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Local reggae DJ and producer, Philando Hill, created a buzz at this month's Jamaica International Reggae Film Festival in Ocho Rios.

A trailer of a local reggae documentary being produced by Mr Hill encouraging reviews from the festival's organisers who invited the Bermudian to take part in the five-day event.

“We created a buzz and the top producers there were shocked because no one from Bermuda has ever submitted a documentary at the Jamaican Reggae Film Festival before and the fact I am a reggae artist, producer and studio owner,” said Mr Hill, who goes by the stage name of Runksie. “I went down there to be involved because I wanted to surround myself with the people that are doing the work I'm trying to do.”

The experience afforded the Smith's parish resident a rare opportunity to broaden his horizons in the reggae film industry and come up with new ideas for his ongoing project.

“I've actually come up with different ideas and, even though I'm at the tail end of editing, the film festival has inspired me to revamp it, so I'm basically trying to incorporate some different things,” he said.

While in Jamaica Mr Hill got the chance to meet top producers from around the world, Jamaica's most renowned actor and director Carl Bradshaw who starred in movies such as “Countryman”, “Smile Orange” and “The Harder they Come” as well as up and coming Jamaican reggae group, Nomads.

Attending the festival, held at Island Village, Ocho Rios, proved to be a real eye opener for Mr Hill who has released five singles and produced Bermuda's only dance hall reggae album to date.

“I was shocked to see there was actually material that had been produced that you don't normally see in the movie theatres,” he said. “A lot of this stuff is underground and it was surprising to have footage of Super Cat, Josey Wales, Shabba Ranks and all these different guys that you wouldn't see on Tempo. A lot of this stuff is old footage and even though it's old, it's fact.

“If you know about reggae then you know reggae is about more than music. It's about the life and culture of Jamaica.”

Mr Hill, who is an electrician by trade, is nearing completion of a film documentary on the introduction of reggae music in Bermuda and its influence on the Island's culture.

The documentary features archive footage of past popular local DJs performing in their element and also showcases premier sound systems that ruled the dance hall decades ago.

Some of the past DJs featured include Shorta Ranks, Sister Beverly, the late Fat Jaw and Mr Hill himself.

“My documentary is about the influence of Jamaican reggae music on Bermuda; when it started, how it started and the people who participated and contributed to the industry and the artists who really got this vibration moving,” Mr Hill explained.

The owner of VT Dub Factory was inspired to produce the documentary to “document the facts” about the origins of reggae music in Bermuda and pay homage to the pioneers.

“This is going to be 100 percent entertainment,” Mr Hill declared. “People will hear from the people that were there from the beginning and see photos and video and artists from when it first started in Bermuda.

“There are several Bermuda artists, sound systems, promoters, engineers and people who designed and created different things that were utilised in music. There are some international artists and producers featured but not a whole heap because this is about the influence of Jamaican reggae music in Bermuda.”

Mr Hill intends to premiere the documentary during the upcoming Bermuda Film Festival before releasing it at next year's Jamaican Film Festival.

All about the music: Local DJ and producer Philando (Runksie) Hill is pictured with renowned Jamaican actor and director Carl Bradshaw at the Jamaica International Reggae Film Festival in Ocho Rios

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Published August 22, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated August 22, 2013 at 1:34 am)

Reggae producer Hill creates a buzz in Jamaica

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