Before he enrolled in Full Sail’s Film program, Kaiel Eytle worked as a Director of Photography on commercials and other live productions back home in Jamaica.
“I’ve always seen the potential [for film in Jamaica],” says Kaiel. “We’ve just needed some kind of push to take the industry to the next level.”
With his goal of promoting Jamaica’s film industry in mind, Kaiel took a step in the right direction after graduating in 2013 by being named the Chief Creative Officer at Reelvibez Studios, the film arm of RealVibez Group, a full-fledged entertainment company in Orlando.
The company, which was founded in 2002 by CEO David Mullings, has always worked to use the Internet to promote Caribbean music and culture. The group has worked with artists like Sean Paul and TOK and in 2008 it became YouTube’s first official Caribbean media partner. The film and television arm of RealVibez is a fairly recent venture.
Kaiel got the job after meeting David back in Jamaica. (They went to the same high school, but didn’t know each other then.) The two reconnected when Kaiel was at Full Sail; they both realized they had a mutual passion for wanting to develop the industry in the Caribbean.
“I told [Kaiel] that I would do my best so that when he graduated we could partner and make our dream a reality,” says David. “And I give him a lot of credit, he’s doing a great job on the creative side, and to me that’s impressive.”
As Chief Creative Officer, Kaiel works to find potential directors and scripts and shoots his own music video and documentaries. Reelvibez Studios recently received grants that have allowed them to sign a multi-project deal with producer Steven Paul (Ghost Rider). He’ll start shooting his fist project – a low-budget horror film – in Jamaica this September. Kaiel is currently working on pre-production for that film, along with juggling a handful of other creative projects on the side as well.
“The days vary, but I cover everything from fielding calls, answering emails, developing TV shows to pitch to networks, pitching music videos, and looking for new and interesting feature-film projects,” says Kaiel.
Another big endeavor Kaiel is involved in is the development and construction of a film lot in an old tire factory in St. Thomas, Jamaica. One of the grants Reelvibez received has allowed them to take over a long-term lease of the factory, and they’re in the beginning stages of acquiring investors and turning the factory into a full-fledged backlot. The group hopes the lot will work two-fold: to increase the quality of content coming out of Jamaica, and attract big-budget Hollywood productions to the island.
“We have big international performers, but no real production itself coming out of Jamaica,” says Kaiel. “I’ve had lots of good mentors along the way and their knowledge has inspired me to share whatever opportunities I have with the Jamaican film community. The film lot is the way I want to do that.”
It’s a work in progress, but Kaiel is excited to help shine the spotlight on Jamaica, all while learning more about a new side of the industry.
“I’m a technical guy, I’m usually the one behind the camera,” says Kaiel. “But now I’m getting to travel, meet people, and explore this side of the filmmaking process.”