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 28 June 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 charitable organisation producing, exhibiting and distributing educational multi-media projects based on Caribbean-heritage stories.
The CaribbeanTales International Film Festival now includes an annual festival in Toronto, the CaribbeanTales Incubator Program that develops original content for the international market, and the Toronto-based CaribbeanTales Youth Film Festival.
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. In 2014 she launched CaribbeanTales-TV, a video-on-demand platform.
She is the granddaughter of Trinidad and Tobago independence politician Dr. Patrick Solomon,. When her grandfather left politics and took a role as a diplomat, the family travelled and lived in different countries including Canada, the United States, Europe and Venezuela. She moved back to Trinidad when she was nine years old, and attended the prestigious girls' school, Bishop Anstey High School. At the age of 18 she moved to Canada to live with her mother, and 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 trained in television production through the 2-year 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 mostly studio-based TV dramas. Between 1992-1998 she worked as a Script Editor and then as a producer and executive producer for BBC Single Drama and Films under George Faber. 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 public service broadcasting.
She won a place on the prestigious BBC Drama Directors Course. While working as a Drama Producer for the BBC, she continued to run her own company Leda Serene Films, where she developed, produced and directed films including What My Mother Told Me, a Trinidad-based autobiographical story of generational violence in the context of a middle-class 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 film and television industry constraining, and like many of her peers, chose to emigrate. Returning to Canada in 2000, she set up CaribbeanTales and 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, originally as an internet platform for Caribbean-themed film and arts. 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 as a platform for exhibiting 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 international distribution of Caribbean-themed audio visual content. The company was co-founded 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, which takes place during the Toronto International Film Festival, aims to train filmmakers in the creation and marketing of sustainable content. The CaribbeanTales Youth Film Festival, during Black History Month in Toronto, screens Africentric films in schools and communities. The Film Festival Group has expanded to include festivals in Barbados and New York. Since 2010 Solomon has lived between the Caribbean and Canada, and has been committed to helping to develop an infrastructure and international profile for Caribbean films, in the region and the diaspora.
- A Winter Tale, 2007, feature film - as writer/director, producer.
- LiteratureAlive, 2005-6, TV series (creator, producer, director)
- Lord Have Mercy!, 2001-3, sitcom (director, producer, co-creator, co-writer)
- Love Is the Devil: Study for a Portrait of Francis Bacon, 1998, feature film (executive producer)
- Speak Like a Child, 1998, feature film (executive producer)
- Peggy Su!, 1997, feature film (director)
- Sixth Happiness, 1997, feature film (executive producer)
- Flight, 1995, television movie (executive producer)
- What My Mother Told Me, 1996, feature (writer/director, producer)
- Siren Spirits, 1995, mini-series (reator, series producer)
- Bideshi, 1995, short film (director)
- Reunion: West Indian Women at War, 1993, documentary (writer/director, producer)
- I Is a Long Memoried Woman, 1990, documentary feature (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 (1 April 2003). "Frances-Anne Solomon Director of Lord Have Mercy". Jamaicans.com.
- Cooke, Mel (19 April 2010). "CaribbeanTales Goes to NYU, Cannes". Jamaica Gleaner.
- Snyder, Leah (19 April 2010). "The Healing Power Of Storytelling - A Caribbean Tale". Mixed Bag Mag.
- Pitt, Cherie (25 May 2010). "CaribbeanTales Worldwide Distribution Inc". LoveFM.
- Trinidad and Tobago, National Library and Information Service Authority (23 August 1997). "Farewell to Dr. Solomon". Trinidad Express Newspapers.
- Pak, Ling Wan (October 2003). "Expressions of an Almost Hidden Community". BFI Screen Online.
- Mendes-Franco, Janine (30 September 2007). "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.