Saint-Martin, next movie destination?

Innovation award winner, Island Media Plus Foundation has the dual objective of organizing a short-film festival and training young people from the island for careers in the audiovisual sector.

And what if Saint-Martin became the next movie tourism destination? In any case, this is Sarah Khalfaoui’s goal, the president of Island Media + Foundation. The association which was created in October 2015 has a dual purpose: the organization of a short-film festival and the training of young people from the island for careers in the audiovisual sector. An innovation of "assembly" which led it to win one of the three innovation awards given at a ceremony on April 29 by Initiative Saint-Martin Active. 

Having made her debut in the audiovisual sector by collaborating with Soualiga Media during the Wellness Weekend, a project for which she needed videos, the President of the association who has always been more creative and never able to comply with customs, grasped all of the expressive scope of the audiovisual sector. "It gives free rein to your creativity and today many young people claim to be more and more interested in the artistic and creative aspect" she said before adding: "We live in a time where everybody knows how to shoot an image, the question is what do you do with it afterward".

During her studies in mainland France, Sarah was tired of seeing sensationalistic reports in which Saint-Martin was described as a hub for drugs and prostitution. A catalog of clichés that gives a highly simplistic image of the reality. She then tried to link her new passion for the audiovisual sector to the need to address social issues. And decided to create a structure that can respond  to sensitive subjects in Saint-Martin by visual means: school failure, delinquency… With Island Media Plus, the idea is to let the young people of the island tell their story in their own way. 

The association wants to offer a platform in the form of a locally produced festival where young people can submit their short films, after having followed a training program. Three modules (pre-production, production, post-production) are available to initiate them to the workings of the film industry. Each module can accommodate 12 students and will be hosted by members of Soualiga Media as well as external partners. At the end of this training program, which is supposed to provide them with the basic skills for making a short film, they will have the opportunity to participate in a competition which will be seen by the entire Saint-Martin population. The only catch? Highlight social issues, with any genre (comedy, thriller, tragedy…). "Young people are the future of Saint-Martin, it is up to them to speak out" explained Sarah.  

The audiovisual industry has more than 300 careers (from production to makeup and including the control room, the creation of sets). The president of Island Media Plus believes these are the future careers for the young people of St-Martin. The idea is to professionalize them in order to motivate them to carry on with their studies by offering them a place for training and having fun while giving free rein to their personality and their creativity. For the moment, Sarah Khalfaoui has given herself six months to set up the training program and organize the festival which will take place in 2017. Above all, she needs sponsors...

Fanny Fontan