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Nowadays MTV is unrecognisable from its Dire Straits obsessed beginnings. Thank you, Don.  
He can also be proud of the fact that his first feature film, ‘Dancehall Queen’ (1997), is still the longest running, biggest grossing film in Jamaica, where it was set. His latest work 'One Love' (co-directed with Rick Elgood) was shown at Cannes this year. It's Jamaican love story starring Ky-mani Marley, son of Bob.  "Filming in Jamaica can be like working in a cross between a carnival and a war zone"
Other feature directors have rated Don's work.  At a Milan film festival in the early eighties  Don was amongst a few directors who got to show Frederico Fellini their work, and he said that Don Letts was a "video terrorist”! Compliments don't get much better than that. "He liked my stuff because it was out there on its own". His favorite director Martin Scorsese once asked for

a private viewing of ‘The Punk Rock Movie'.
I ask Don why New York has been portrayed so well in film and London hasn't. "New York has been filmed so many times, if you throw enough shit at the wall, some is gonna stick. Basically there's not that many films shot in London. One of my favourite New York films is ‘Mean Streets’.  New York is the backdrop, but the story is central to the film.  'Performance' (set in Portobello!] is my favourite London film.  It's hard to get financial backing for contemporary films in this country. Contemporary British films also make the mistake portraying sort of transient themes, instead of dealing with the culture these things grow out of".

Now, with digital equipment being so cheap and easy to use, is digital the punk film scene waiting to happen? "Just because you can afford it, doesn't mean you can do it. When equipment used to cost a bomb, you'd only go for it if you had commitment. What I'm trying to say is: the down side of affordable technology is mediocrity!"
"It's a shame the spirit of the Portobello Film Festival doesn't last 365 days of the year.  The film community is too fragmented in this country. The US independent filmmakers have an infrastructure and that's an advantage they have over us. We need to pool our resources, and revel in the collaborative effort that is film.”
‘One Love’ will be released in the summer.

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