Ten-year-old Oseta Jolly Primary School student Janiya Harris is this year’s Turks and Caicos International Film Festival (TCIFF) Poster Competition winner, which this year, takes on an Artificial Intelligence (AI) flavour.
For this year’s contest, students were introduced to a programme called AI (Artificial Intelligence) Art, which allowed them to punch in certain numbers or codes into the computer, which triggers the algorithm to create their desired art form.
The winning piece was unveiled on Wednesday, August 30, at the Shore Club Resort in Long Bay, Providenciales, and featured Country Music sensation Jimmie Allen, who offered motivational words to students in attendance, and also lauded the 10-year-old on her winning entry.
“I feel very excited at winning the competition. I never thought I would have won because I thought my masterpiece wasn’t really attractive to other people,” Janiya told reporters.
Her winning piece was a drawing highlighting the crystal-clear waters of the Turks and Caicos Islands, sponges on the seabed and a flamingo, which appears created from recycled material.
“I was excited when my mother called me and said, ‘Janiya, you won’. She was so excited, and she told me that when I get the money, ‘I will keep it for you’,” she quipped.
Janiya also revealed that some of her friends became her inspiration for the winning piece.
“One of my friends’ favourite color is blue, so I put blue in it. One of my other friends, her favourite color is pink, and so I used pink in my masterpiece as well.
For Janiya, winning the contest spurs her to take a deeper interest in visual art, and so, she has embarked on a quest for inspiration around her surroundings.
Karen Whitt, Vice President for Sales and Marketing at the Hartling Group and Chair for the TCIFF, said a very important part of any film festival is the poster aspect, and so, she was excited at Janiya’s work.
“With any film festival in the world, one of the most important elements is the poster, and everyone always has a specific poster that they launch that really represents the festival for the entire season,” she said. “And so, we have been really fortunate in Turks and Caicos to have two previous amazing posters.”
The inaugural poster was donated by celebrated international Turks and Caicos artist Bradley Theodore Harvey, while the second was painted by Raymond Gardiner High student in North Caicos, Janella Forbes after the contest was introduced.
“Last year we did something that was really fun at the (Edward Gartland) Youth Centre, we had a lot of the students compete with paintings. They were given the vision and the theme, which is ‘Oceans and Environment’,” she said, with Forbes’ ‘Mother Earth’ emerging as the overall winner.
“This year we decided to do something different…we went futuristic, so to speak. And we still held our competition at the Youth Centre, as we have done in years past. But this time it was a digital competition. So, we had 42 school kids from around the islands, who came in, and we had sourced this programme…AI Art – Artificial Intelligence. It allows you to actually create digitally lots and lots of different sort of schematics, themes and visions.
“And so, we basically did a workshop with the kids, we talked to them about sustainability, we talked to them about the environment. We talked to them about the importance of preserving our earth. And the theme of the festival remains ‘Ocean and Environment’, and we have decided that that would be the theme moving forward.
“And so, with that, the kids were equipped to think about ‘what does this mean to them’. And they utilized that theme to come up with their key words, so to speak,” Whitt continued.
Speaking about the fourth staging of the TCIFF, Whitt noted: “We are very, very excited and anxious, and of course, right now we are ramping up all the details.
“It will be a similar programme to what we have done in the past, with a few surprises as we always do. We will have a Friday night opening screening, potentially a beach screening…it is something we haven’t done yet.
“And then we have a line-up all day on Saturday with workshops, panel sessions, a few films sprinkled in. And then on Saturday is the big gala event, with a gala screening and then a brunch on Sunday morning and a few more workshops.”
The Turks and Caicos International Film Festival will be held between November 12 and 14.