Solomon in July 2012
|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 British-Canadian filmmaker, writer, producer, and distributor. She lives between Toronto, Canada, and Barbados.
Born in England of Trinidadian parents, Frances-Anne Solomon 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 1999, she moved her company to Canada, where she continued to write, direct, and produce films, television programs, theatre plays, and new media projects.  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 founded in 2006 and based in Toronto, includes an annual festival, community screening series, and youth-focused film challenges. The CaribbeanTales Incubator Program develops original content for the regional and international market, CTFF also holds workshops and festivals in other territories, including to date Barbados, Belize, and Cuba. In 2010, Solomon 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. Solomon is a Director member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Solomon 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 lived in different countries including Canada, the United States, Europe and Venezuela. She moved back to Trinidad at nine years old, and attended the girls' "prestige" school, Bishop Anstey High School. At 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 two-year BBC Production Training Program and worked with Ebony, the Corporation's first Black magazine programme, before being hired as a Radio Drama producer in London. While there she was responsible for helping to introduce a number of initiatives aimed at diversifying the talent pool in BBC Radio Drama. Many great talents got their first entry to Radio Drama in this way, including actors Adjoa Andoh and Clarence Smith to the BBC Drama Repertory Company, producers Pam Fraser Solomon and Nandita Ghose, composer Dominique Le Gendre and writers Parv Bancil, Maya Chowdhry, Rukhsana Ahmad, Tanika Gupta and Jackie Kay among others.
Solomon returned to television as a Script Editor for ScreenPlay, a strand of mostly studio-based TV dramas. Between 1992 and 1998 she worked as a script editor and then as a producer and executive producer for BBC Single Drama and Films under George S. J. 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 creative power of public service broadcasting.
In 1993, Solomon 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 founded the CaribbeanTales Media Group 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. Solomon is the director of HERO, a hybrid feature, inspired by elements of the life of Trinidad and Tobago war hero, judge and jurist Ulric Cross.
On 1 July 2019 Solomon was one of 842 new members invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science. The 2019 class is 50% women, 29% people of color, and represents 59 countries.
CaribbeanTales Inc a not-for-profit company 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. The non-profit company became a registered Canadian charity in 2014.
In 2006, Solomon founded the CaribbeanTales International Film Festival in Toronto as a platform for Caribbean and Caribbean diaspora films and filmmakers from the region. The CaribbeanTales Youth Film Festival, during Black History Month in Toronto, screens Africentric films in schools and communities. The Film Festival Group has also produced festivals and events in Barbados and New York.
CaribbeanTales Worldwide Distribution
While teaching film at the University of the West Indies in 2009, she consolidated her connections in the region. This led to the creation of CaribbeanTales Worldwide Distribution, a Barbados-based company, and the first film distribution company dedicated to international distribution of Caribbean-themed audio visual content. The company was co-founded with cultural industries specialist Dr. Keith Nurse, businessman Terrence Farrell, and filmmakers Lisa Wickham and Mary Wells, with the goal to tackle head-on problems of the monetisation of Caribbean-themed content and the development of the Caribbean Film Industry.
CaribbeanTales Incubator Program, presented by Flow
The CaribbeanTales Incubator Program for Audio Visual Entrepreneurs, also founded in 2010, an annual program that takes place during the Toronto International Film Festival, aims to train filmmakers in the creation and marketing of sustainable content, and has been committed to helping to develop an infrastructure and international profile for Caribbean films, in the region and the diaspora. The Program has evolved into a development and production hub for regional content. In 2015, CaribbeanTales won a five-year sponsorship and production deal with Flow, the brand name for Cable and Wireless Ltd, the largest telecommunications conglomerate in the Caribbean. The deal, brokered with Flow C.E.O John Reid, supports the production of at least three television series pilots a year from the CaribbeanTales Incubator Program. In 2016, the first of these projects were selected: Caribbean Girl NYC by Mariette Monpierre, Battledream Chronicle by Alain Bidard, and Heat by Menelik Shabazz. Production is underway in New York, Martinique and Barbados respectively. In 2017 Flow and CaribbeanTales expanded their relationship to give Flow subscribers around the Caribbean access to CaribbeanTales vast catalogue of films through Television on demand.
CaribbeanTales established an online VOD platform CaribbeanTales-TV.
Selected radio drama
|1990||Nadir by Parv Bancil||Director / Producer|
|1990||Monsoon by Maya Chowdhry||Director / Producer||Winner— Sony Radio Awards, Best Original Screenplay|
|1989||The Adoption Papers by Jackie Kay||Director / Producer|
|1989||Asha by Tanika Gupta||Director / Producer|
|1989||I Is A Long Memoried Woman by Grace Nicholls||Director / Producer||Winner— Sony Radio Awards, Best Feature |
Winner - Prix Futura, Best Documentary Feature
|1991||Her Father's Daughter by Winsome Pinnock||Director / Producer|
|1989||Afrogoth by Peter Kalu||Director / Producer|
|1989||Parker's Mood by Alex Ward||Director / Producer|
Film and television
|Year||Film/T.V. Project||Type of Program/Funder||Credit/Role||Awards|
|1990||I Is A Long Memoried Women||Documentary Feature - Arts Council of Great Britain/Britannia Entertainment||Writer / Director / Producer|
Gold Award - Television Performing Arts - New York International Film and TV Festival
Best Feature - Sony Awards
Prix Futura - Best Documentary Feature
|1992||Reunion||Documentary - BBC 2||Writer / Director / Producer|
Prized Pieces Award - National Black Programming Consortium, US
|1994||What My Mother Told Me||Feature Film - Channel 4 Television||Writer / Director / Producer|
Producer's Award - Women of The Sun, US
Best Film Portraying the Black Experience - Berlin Black Film Festival
|1994||Siren Spirits||Short Film Series - British Film Institute||Writer / Director / Producer|
|1995||Flight||Television Drama - BBC Drama||Executive Producer|
|1995||Bideshi||Short Film - BBC Drama||Director|
Best Short Film - Bombay Film Festival
|1997||Love Is the Devil: Study for a Portrait of Francis Bacon||Feature Film - BBC Films / The British Film Institute||Executive Producer|
|1997||Sixth Happiness||Feature Film - BBC Films / The British Film Institute||Executive Producer|
|1998||Peggy Su!||Feature Film - BBC Films||Director||BAFTA Award for Best Costume Design (for Joey Attawia) |
Royal Television Society Award for Best Costume Design
|1998||Speak like a Child||Feature Film - BBC Films / British Film Institute||Executive Producer|
|2001-2003||Lord Have Mercy!||One / Aboriginal People's Television Netowkr||Co-Creator/Producer/Director||Nominated—Best Comedy Series (shared with Vanz Chapman and Claire Prieto) |
Gemini - nomination, Best Comedy Series (with Claire Prieto, Vanz Chapman)
Gemini - nomination, Best Actress for Leonie Forbes
|2006||LiteratureAlive||Documentary Series - Bravo||Creator/Producer/Director(selected episodes)|
|2008||A Winter Tale||Feature Film - City TV/Telefilm Canada||Writer/Director||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
|2008||HeartBeat||Documentary Series - Bravo||Creator/Producer/Director (selected Episodes)||Best Canadian Feature|
|2013||Kingston Paradise||Feature Film - CPTC / CaribbeanTalesFlix / Caribbean Creativity||Producer/Executive Producer (with Mary Wells)||Audience Award—CaribbeanTales International Film Festival |
Programmer's Award - Pan African Film and Arts Festival
Best International Film - Africa Movie Awards
|2019||HERO||Feature Film||Writer/Director/Producer / Republic Bank / Telefilm / CaribbeanTales / Imagine Media International||Audience Award—Trinidad & Tobago Film Festival |
Janet Dubois Award Best Narrative Feature - Pan African Film and Arts Festival
Best Diaspora Feature - Africa Movie Academy Awards
|2017||100 ABC Awards||100 Accomplished Black Women 2016|
|2015||Consulate General for the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago in Toronto||For "Outstanding Contributions to Caribbean Film and Television"|
|2015||Jackie Robinson Fortitude Awards||2015 Persistence Award|
|2014||Planet Africa Television||2014 Heritage Award|
|2012||Tropicana Community Centre||2012 Community Builder Award|
- 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. Archived from the original on 29 November 2010. Retrieved 31 December 2010.
- 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. Archived from the original on 20 February 2012. Retrieved 22 October 2012.
- Rampersad, Joan (31 August 2018), "Hero changed my life!", Trinidad and Tobago Newsday.
- "2018 Visionary Award Recipient| Frances-Anne Solomon", ReelWorld Film Festival.
- "ACADEMY INVITES 842 TO MEMBERSHIP". Oscars.org | Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. 1 July 2019. Retrieved 31 August 2020.
- Jones, Christopher (January 2012). "Screen Time For CaribbeanTales". TO Live With Culture. Archived from the original on 27 March 2012.
- McNamara, Rea (July 2012). "Toronto-based filmmaker takes Caribbean culture global". CityTV. Archived from the original on 17 July 2012. Retrieved 22 October 2012.
- Celestine, Krysta (January 2012). "CaribbeanTales Youth Film Festival Celebrates Black History Month". Sway.[permanent dead link]
- Springer, Bevan (May 2011). "Caribbean Filmmakers Scholarship Fund Launched". Anguilla News.
- Editorial, Staff (August 2012). "CaribbeanTales to launch Netflix-Style online TV". Urbanology.[permanent dead link]
- Griffin, John (September 2007). "Stepping Up In A Time of Sorrow". Montreal Gazette.
- Hatfield, Erin (January 2008). "Film Examines Poverty, Gun Crime". Inside Toronto.
- Frances-Anne Solomon on IMDb
- Frances-Anne Solomon - Artist website
- CaribbeanTales - CaribbeanTales, Canada
- CaribbeanTales Worldwide Distribution
- CaribbeanTales Film Festival Group
- "A Winter Tale - Profile of Frances-Anne Solomon", Caribbean Beat
- "Interview with Frances-Anne Solomon", Eye to Eye
- Imaginations: An Interview with Frances-Anne Solomon by Hyacinth Simpson