Justine Henzell inherited an impressive legacy from her father Perry Henzell, the ingenious film maker who transcended boarders with his 1972 film The Harder They Come. Today she overseas the family heirloom, while also pursuing film and expanding on her already prodigious endowment.
Justine has joined film distributor Syndctd Entertainment and International Films Management for the re-release of the classic film, starring the legendary Jimmy Cliff. The re-release will run in tandem with the 40th anniversary of the film's debut in the US and will be commemorated as a special, one-night-only theatrical event across North America on September 5, 2013.
Here's what she had to say about the film:
Jamaicansmusic.com: What role do you play in the release of the film?
Justine Henzell: IN THE ORIGINAL RELEASE IN 1972 NONE AT ALL EXCEPT WATCHING MY BEAUTIFUL MOTHER GET DRESSED TO ATTEND THE PREMIERE AT CARIB THEATRE.
IN THIS 40TH ANNIVERSARY RE-RELEASE I AM WORKING CLOSELY WITH THE DISTRIBUTORS SYNCTD TO PROTECT AND HIGHLIGHT THE FILM WHICH IS MY ROLE ALWAYS.
JAmusic: Why do you think it was necessary to rerelease the film for the fortieth anniversary?
JH: THERE IS A NEW GENERATION WHO HAS NEVER SEEN THE FILM AND WE WANT TO INTRODUCE THEM TO THE FILM/ THERE ARE ALSO MANY FANS WHO HAVE ONLY EVER SEEN IN ON A TV VIA CABLE OR DVD SO NOW THEY GET TO EXPERIENCE IT ON A BIG SCREEN.
JAmusic: What aspects of the original was revamped (if any)?
JH: NONE - WE CREATED A BRAND NEW 35M PRINT SOME YEARS AGO AND THAT IS WHAT IS BEING USED.
JAmusic: For persons who have watched the original film, why should they still watch this new release?
JH: BECAUSE A CINEMA EXPERIENCE IS VERY DIFFERENT TO A LIVING ROOM OR A LAPTOP. IT IS AN EVENT AND THIS IS A CELEBRATION OF AN ENDURING PIECE OF ART.
JAmusic: The Harder they Come was responsible for bringing reggae to an international audience for the very first time, can you comment on its cultural impact on Jamaica.
JH: IT WAS THE FIRST TIME WE AS JAMAICANS HAD SEEN OURSELVES ON THE BIG SCREEN AND HAD OUR STORY TOLD BY ONE OF US. BEING THE FIRST FEATURE FILM PAVED THE WAY FOR OTHERS TO BE AUTHENTICALLY JAMAICAN AND NOT APOLOGISE FOR IT.
JAmusic: Can you remember anything that your father had said about the film that has stuck with you to this day?
JH: THAT HE MADE A CONSCIOUS DECISION TO MAKE A FILM FOR JAMAICANS NOT AN OVERSEAS AUDIENCE.
JAmusic: If there is one thing you would like persons to take from this film, it is .........?
JH: THE INTENSITY OF IVAN'S PASSION. "YOU CAN GET IT IF YOU REALLY WANT"
JAmusic: Is there anything else you would like to share about the film?
JH: THAT BEING AUTHENTIC IS ALWAYS THE BEST WAY TO BE IN ALL THINGS.
About Harder They Come:
Reggae legend Jimmy Cliff stars as Ivan Martin, an aspiring young singer who leaves his rural village for the capital city of Kingston, Jamaica hoping to make a name for himself. Robbed of his money and possessions his first day in town, he finds work with a self-righteous, bullying preacher and an unscrupulous music mogul who exploits naïve hopefuls.
In desperation the simple country boy turns outlaw, at war with both the police and his rivals in the ganja trade. Ivan's dream of stardom soon becomes a reality as he rises to the top of the pop charts and the most-wanted lists.
This gritty, groundbreaking film brought reggae music to the international stage, made Jimmy Cliff a star worldwide, and demonstrated that music and art can change the world.
For Listing of Theatres Featuring Harder They Come in September click here