Filming months before the Olympics and continuing the journey from Beijing and back, the 61-minute documentary is the only non-American film nominated at this year’s American Black Film Festival.
It is one of three films nominated in the documentary category at the festival, which is slated from June 24-27 in Miami Beach, Florida.
Garcia-Guereta strives to find the answer to Jamaican athletes’ speed in the film and in the process, beautifully captures the spirit and zeal of Jamaicans.
The owner of Nice Time Productions, a music label and film production company in Portland, Garcia-Guereta said he fell in love with Jamaica at the tender age of 15 when he heard reggae legend Bob Marley for the first time. His love for his second home and its people drove him to document one of the nation’s greatest achieve-ments – a record 13 Olympic medals, including six golds.
After making an overseas call to director Miquel Galofré, the two followed the sport from July of last year with the National Trials, through to the Olympics while in Jamaica and awaiting the athletes as they returned to the Norman Manley International Airport.
As the athletes wowed audiences each week, the two filmmakers hit the streets, capturing the reaction of the public and interviewing a wide array of persons, including Yendi Phillipps, Lisa Hannah, Big Youth, Etana, Vybz Kartel, LA Lewis, Asafa Powell, Usain Bolt and his family, Shelly-Ann Fraser, Melaine Walker and her family, Shericka Williams, as well as Bruce James and Glen Mills.
“Everybody is asking why Jamaica, as such a little country and reach so far, unlike America where they have their big stadiums and fancy doctors,” he said. “But I think the main answer is from school competitions. We looked at how the athletes started running, how difficult it was for them and how some had to walk to training each day to try to make it into a big track star. How strong the culture in schools is and the competition among students of who is better than who and the readiness to compete.”
Why Do Jamaicans Run So Fast? premiered on Spanish television station Canal (plus) in January.