In the deep end

Alia Atkinson

SPORTS broadcaster and producer Donald Oliver said he plunged in the deep end of the pool in the making of his first full-length documentary about Jamaican swimmer Alia Atkison.

Oliver made the announcement at the premiere of Alia: Darling of the Pool at Triple Century, New Kingston, on Thursday night.

The documentary was part of the week-long inaugural Jamaica Productions Corporation's (JAMPRO) Jamaica Film Festival which ends today.

"This was originally supposed to be a bunch of sports shorts, but I got ambitious as things progressed through the project," Oliver told the Sunday Observer.

Alia: Darling of the Pool follows the story of Jamaican world champion breaststroke swimmer Alia Atkinson, from her introduction to the sport through to her world record and gold medal performance in Doha, Qatar.

"I chose her because she was an exceptional person in a sport unpopular amongst Jamaicans," he said.

Oliver's production fits in with one of the major aims of the Jamaica Film Festival, which is to motivate local productions that tell 'our stories'. Just like Atkinson, Oliver himself faced difficulties making the documentary.

"It was extremely tough getting Alia: Darling of the Pool made," he said.

He cited the lack of finances to travel along with the swimmer. However, he's more than satisfied with the final outcome, as was the audience who heaped their praise during the Q&A session he held after the premiere.

He thanked his friends and iKon Media for all their assistance in bringing his idea to life, pointing out their free input in monetary costs would have easily topped J$1.5 million mark.

"They all made my job easier and I simply couldn't have done it without them," he added.

For Oliver, the Jamaica Film Festival could not have come at a better time, as he feels it will not only equip him personally with the tools to market the documentary, but also give it the added exposure it needs to take it to the next level.

"It might end up on a local station soon, and I have gotten hints that the Jamaican Diaspora is interested in it," he said.

He also hopes that the exposure will help finance the sequel that could potentially cover Atkinson as she makes the bid for a gold medal at the Rio Olympics in 2016.

"We have lots of leftover footage that we pray doesn't go to waste."

Published Date: 
Sunday, July 12, 2015