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BBC to air 'Better Mus Come'

PRODUCER: Paul Bucknor

THOUGH NEARLY four years have elapsed since the official release of the award-winning drama Better Mus' Come, the film is still making headway on the international scene.

Following distribution in the United States courtesy of a deal with the ARRAY label, the film will make its way to British television screens.

Paul Bucknor, head of Firefly Films and producer of the 2010 hit, brokered the record deal with the BBC.

This marks the first time in nearly 50 years that the BBC has licensed a Jamaican movie.

The Oscar-winning director told The Sunday Gleaner the contract allows for two screenings of the film on the network over the coming months.

The first screening is scheduled for midnight tonight (May 9) on BBC2.

The date of the second has not yet been finalised, but should be sometime in the next 18 months.

The BBC also reserves the right to air the film as often as they wish after the 18-month-period has passed.

Bucknor explained that getting the deal was not easy.

"The whole process took about a year because the BBC is a massive organisation, and to get around to the right person takes time," he said.

He also explained that the deal did not come about because of who he knew, as often happens in the movie-making business, but had more to do with the quality of the film.

"The BBC doesn't buy many independent films, but when I approached them with the idea, they reacted positively and asked to see the film," he explained.

Though he could not disclose the details of the contract, Bucknor told The Sunday Gleaner the deal was a lucrative one.

He described the opportunity as an honour and hopes the film will have a resurgence because of the massive reach of the BBC.

"There is nowhere else that I would rather it be seen than on BBC because of its worldwide reach. Millions of people who have never seen the film will get that opportunity now."

Bucknor says that while there are pirated DVDs of the film on sale both locally and internationally, there are no immediate plans to release an official DVD version of the film, though the BBC deal may mean Better Mus' Come will soon be available on Netflix in Europe.

Better Mus' Come was released in Jamaica in 2010 and was sold out at the Carib Cinema for six weeks.

The film chronicles the political struggles the country faced in the 1970s and the violence associated with it. It also documents the historical Green Bay Massacre where criminal elements supporting the Jamaica Labour Party were allegedly tricked by law enforcers and brought to the Green Bay where five were killed and several injured.

Storm Saulter directed the film which stars Sheldon Shepherd and Everaldo Creary of No-Maddz; Ricardo Orgill; Pulse's Nicole 'Sky' Grey; and Roger Guenveur Smith.

"Working with the team on Better Mus' Come was a pleasure. I worked with Storm on previous projects, so the chemistry was there, and everyone else. The actors and actresses did a great job. They got into character so well. They not only played the part, but lived the part as well," added Bucknor.

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