By Jose Francisco Avila
Over the past two months, we have shared our plan to Make New York City the Epicenter of the Garifuna Arts and Culture. We also mentioned that the plan would be based on a three-pronged approach: expand our strategic marketing efforts, organize the Garifuna Arts and Culture sector, and find ways to expose Garifuna artists and arts-based businesses to new markets. However, intellectual property rights are increasingly more important as a tool for capitalizing on the creative industries.
José Francisco Ávila is the chairman of the board and co-founder of the Garifuna Coalition USA, Inc., which advocates for the improvement of the social, economic, political and cultural conditions of New York's Garifuna community. He can be contacted here.
The creative industry is based on the acquisition and exploitation of intellectual property, for the production and distribution of world-class content that is differentiated, powerfully compelling and delivers large audiences. The value proposition lies in the right to exploit it, and the value of a company does not lie in bricks and mortar but in the ownership and management of intellectual property.
Therefore, we plan to create, own and distribute intellectual property worldwide. It will be our practice to protect our trademarks, brands, copyrights, and other original and acquired works, ancillary goods and services. We will register our most significant trademarks in many foreign countries. We believe that our trademarks and other proprietary rights have significant value and are important to our brand-building efforts and the marketing of our services. When necessary, we will obtain a license from the copyright and/or related rights owners to use a work for a specific purpose.
As we previously announced, we have registered the trademark for GOLLYWOOD, for the development of future Garifuna and Afro Latino film and video. The objective is to provide an active market, including Distribution and Marketing for Garifuna and Afro-Latino filmmakers beyond the Film Festival Circuit. However, we plan to finance and develop future original productions.
Towards that objective, we have joined the Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP), the oldest and largest not-for-profit advocacy organization for independent filmmakers in the US. During the week of July 21, I will be attending a week-long hands on intensive workshop on documentary filmmaking with award-winning filmmaker and educator Alan Oxman, offered by The Edit Center and Made in NY Media Center by IFP. The plan is to create documentaries about various notable individuals and historic events.
Over the upcoming months we will evaluate existing literary property to determine whether the material or idea can be turned into a script or transform the script into the production of a play. We will make sure that all the rights on all the underlying material used to produce a completed script are duly acquired or licensed.
To enhance our brand-building efforts and the destination branding of New York City as the Epicenter of the Garifuna Arts and Culture, we have filed additional trademark applications that will greatly enhance our strategic marketing efforts. As the cultural capital of the world, New York City is privileged to be home to one of the original "Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangibles Heritage of Humanity. The Garífuna Oral and Intangible Cultural Heritage has enriched New York City's cultural landscape for over 190 years!
New York was home to the first known black theatre troupe, The African Company organized by William Henry Brown in 1816. Brown also wrote and staged the first African American play, The Drama of King Shotaway in 1823, a historical drama based on the Black Caribs (Garifunas) defense of the island of St Vincent in 1795 against British colonization, led by the Paramount Chief Joseph Chatoyer.
The successful exploitation of intellectual property requires a knowledge and understanding of markets, both primary and secondary. To break through and build an audience, we plan to create content that is clearly differentiated, powerfully compelling and ripe for social media. This will contribute to make New York City the epicenter of the Garifuna Arts and Culture.