28 June 1966 |
|Education||Theatre, Television Production,Directing|
|Alma mater||University of Toronto|
|Known for||Film, television|
|Style||Television drama, Film, radio drama.|
Frances-Anne Solomon (born 1966) is a Caribbean filmmaker, writer, producer, distributor and entrepreneur.
Born in England of Trinidadian parents, she began her professional life at the BBC in England, where she built a successful career as a producer first with BBC Radio then with BBC television drama. She also produced and directed independent films through her company Leda Serene Films.
In 2001, she founded CaribbeanTales, a non-profit organisation producing educational multi-media projects based on Caribbean-heritage stories.
In 2010, she founded CaribbeanTales Worldwide Distribution Inc, the first film distribution company in the English-speaking Caribbean dedicated to the marketing and sales of Caribbean-themed films.
The granddaughter of Trinidad and Tobago politician Dr. Patrick Solomon, her father worked as a diplomat during her childhood and she lived in different countries including Canada, the United States, Europe and Venezuela, before moving back to Trinidad at 9 years old. She attended the girls' "prestige" school, Bishop Anstey High School. She moved to Toronto, Canada at 18 to live with her mother, where she discovered a love of the arts, studying theatre at the University of Toronto's U.C. Playhouse, and poetry with Jay Macpherson. In 1986, she moved to England, to work for the BBC.
She received training through the BBC Production Training Program and worked with Ebony, the Corporation's first Black magazine program, before being hired as a Radio Drama Producer in London. She returned to television as a Script Editor for ScreenPlay, a strand of low-budget TV dramas, as Development Script Editor and then as a Producer and Executive Producer for BBC Single Drama and Films. For the BBC she produced and executive-produced feature films including Speak Like a Child, director John Akomfrah's narrative debut, and Love Is The Devil, John Maybury's award-winning first feature. She credits her time at the BBC as providing her with a grounding, and vision of the importance and power of national public service broadcasting.
She was one of 6 directors chosen to participate in the prestigious BBC Drama Directors Course. While working as a Drama Producer for the BBC, she also continued to run her own company Leda Serene Films, where she developed, produced and directed her own projects. Her films at that time include What My Mother Told Me, a semi-autobiographical story of generational domestic violence in the context of a middle-class Caribbean family; and, Peggy Su!, produced by BBC Films. Set in a Chinese laundry in Liverpool in the 1960s, it remains one of the only British films to depict the lives of the Chinese in Britain. Ultimately she found the racism of the British industry constraining. Returning to Canada in 2000, she continued to develop and produce television, feature films and new media projects. Lord Have Mercy!, produced with Claire Prieto and Vanz Chapman, was Canada's first multicultural sitcom, and starred Russell Peters alongside Caribbean stars Leonie Forbes and Dennis "Sprangalang" Hall. A Winter Tale, CityTV 2007, depicts a Caribbean-Canadian community plagued by gun violence in Toronto.
CaribbeanTales was formed in 2001, as an internet platform for Caribbean-themed cultural content. Early projects include CaribbeanTales.ca, a multimedia e-newsletter, and Literature Alive, a multi-faceted project including an educational website, audio books, and a documentary series, profiling Caribbean authors, many of whom are based in Canada. In 2006, Solomon started the CaribbeanTales Film Festival in Toronto to create a platform for the exhibition of Caribbean Diaspora films. While teaching film at the University of the West Indies in 2009, she consolidated her connections in the region. This led directly to the founding of CaribbeanTales Worldwide Distribution, the first film distribution company dedicated to Caribbean-themed audio visual content. The company was created with Dr. Keith Nurse, businessman Terrence Farrell, and filmmakers Lisa Wickham and Mary Wells, to tackle head-on the problems of monetisation of Caribbean-themed content. The CaribbeanTales Incubator Program for Audio Visual Entrepreneurs, that takes place during the Toronto International Film Festival, trains filmmakers in market skills. The CaribbeanTales Youth Film Festival, during Black History Month in Toronto, screens Africentric films in schools and communities. Now based at the Harbourfront Center, the Film Festival Group has expanded to include annual festivals in Barbados and New York. Since 2010 she has lived between the Caribbean and Canada, committed to helping to develop an infrastructure and international profile for Caribbean films, both in the Region and the Diaspora.
- A Winter Tale, 2007, feature film - as writer/director, producer.
- LiteratureAlive, 2005-6, TV series - as creator, producer, director.
- Lord Have Mercy!, 2001-3, sitcom - as director, producer, co-creator, co-writer.
- Love Is the Devil: Study for a Portrait of Francis Bacon, 1998, feature film - as executive producer
- Speak Like a Child, 1998, feature film - as executive producer
- Peggy Su!, 1997, feature film, as d-irector
- Sixth Happiness, 1997, feature film - as executive producer
- Flight, 1995, television movie, as executive producer
- What My Mother Told Me, 1996, feature - as writer/director, producer
- Siren Spirits, 1995, mini-series - as creator, series producer.
- Bideshi, 1995, short film - as director
- Reunion: West Indian Women at War, 1993, documentary - as writer/director, producer
- I Is a Long Memoried Woman, 1990, documentary feature - as writer/director.
I Is A Long Memoried Woman:
- Gold Award - Television Performing Arts - New York International Film and TV Festival
- Best Feature - Sony Awards
- Prix Futura - Best Documentary Feature
Reunion - West Indian Women At War:
- Prized Pieces Award - National Black Programming Consortium, US.
What My Mother Told Me:
- Producer's Award - Women of The Sun, US
- Best Film Portraying the Black Experience - Berlin Black Film Festival
- Best Short Film - Bombay Film Festival
- BAFTA - Best Costume Design
Lord Have Mercy!:
- Gemini - nomination, Best Comedy Series (with Claire Prieto, Vanz Chapman)
- Gemini - nomination, Best Actress for Leonie Forbes
A Winter Tale:
- Best Canadian Feature - ReelWorld Film Festival
- Audience Award, Best Feature - Trinidad & Tobago Film Festival
- Best Foreign Film - San Diego Black Film Festival
- Ousmane Sembène Award for Best Foreign Film - Lagos Film Festival
- Diaspora Award - Fespaco
- Paddington, Bruce (March 1999), "Beating The System", Caribbean Beat
- Clarke, Fiona Raye (April 2012), "Frances-Anne Solomon - Filmmaker/Director", Who's Who In Black Canada
- Davidson, Marcia (2003-04-01), "Frances-Anne Solomon Director of Lord Have Mercy", Jamaicans.com
- Cooke, Mel (2010-04-19), "CaribbeanTales Goes to NYU, Cannes", Jamaica Gleaner
- Snyder, Leah (2010-04-19), "The Healing Power Of Storytelling - A Caribbean Tale", Mixed Bag Mag
- Pitt, Cherie (2010-05-25), "CaribbeanTales Worldwide Distribution Inc", LoveFM
- Trinidad and Tobago, National Library and Information Service Authority (1997-08-23), "Farewell to Dr. Solomon", Trinidad Express Newspapers
- Pak, Ling Wan (October 2003), "Expressions of an Almost Hidden Community", BFI Screen Online
- Mendes-Franco, Janine (2007-09-30), "A Winter Tale - Talking with Filmmaker Frances-Anne Solomon", Global Voices
- Laird, Christopher (May 2011), "Conversations - Frances-Anne Solomon", Banyan
- Jones, Christopher (January 2012), "Screen Time For CaribbeanTales", TO Live With Culture
- McNamara, Rea (July 2012), "Toronto-based filmmaker takes Caribbean culture global", CityTV
- Celestine, Krysta (January 2012), "CaribbeanTales Youth Film Festival Celebrates Black History Month", Sway
- Springer, Bevan (May 2011), "CARIBBEAN FILMMAKERS SCHOLARSHIP FUND LAUNCHED", Anguilla News
- Editorial, Staff (August 2012), "CaribbeanTales to launch Netflix-Style online TV", Urbanology
- Griffin, John (September 2007), "Stepping Up In A Time of Sorrow", Montreal Gazette
- Hatfield, Erin (January 2008), "Film Examines Poverty, Gun Crime", Inside Toronto