‘Captureland’ is a rich and poetic short film (Jamaica)

What is home and where is it?

This is a major theme of 2015 dramatic short film Captureland directed by Nabil Elderkin, who is of mixed American and Iranian origin, and starring Jamaican actor Sheldon Shepherd. The film was made as part of “The Power of Words” series which is a partnership between the Tribeca Film Institute, a New York-based non-profit “providing funding for filmmakers and promoting film as a medium for self-expression and social action”, and the Nelson Mandela Foundation. It was also inspired by the song “Capture Land” by Jamaican artist Chronixx.

A screenshot from the film


Captureland opens with a quote from Mandela  “I am not a saint, unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying”the text over the blue waters of Port Royal in Jamaica where the film was shot.

We then see the intense face of Shepherd as the protagonist “Tocky” peering through prison bars. Shepherd, who in 2012 won a Best Actor prize at the American Black Film Festival (ABFF) for his role in the Jamaican gangster flick Better Mus’ Come (2011), is effortless in the role and does a stellar job. We also hear him a few times in voice over and he hits the right tone of strength, passion and yearning.

“Every man have a decision. Every man have a purpose,” he intones.

We see Tocky getting reacquainted with his Rastafari brethren, romancing the “beauty queen” Marie in some sweet scenes and telling a young boy not to get involved in criminal activity. Tocky and his fellow Rastafarians gather supplies for a boat voyage, the destination of which I would not give away but was a thought provoking twist.

By the rivers of babylon, there we sat down…


The film has a “slice of life” of Jamaica feel to it mixed with an epic narrative and a slight topping of crime drama. The cinematography is fantastic and the streets, the waters and every character’s face is delivered in rich images. A bonfire scene with the Rastafarians gathered and Tocky speaking like a prophet is particularly well shot.

On the audio side the music ranges from string instrumental to party reggae and the titular and thoughtful “Capture Land”. Elderkin, also a music video director with a client list that includes names like Kanye West, Nicki Minaj, Nas and John Legend, allows each scene time to breathe and they flow well from one to the next. And the tale really draws you into the story and has the viewer anticipating what will happen next.

A grand journey


Rating: Captureland gets 3.25/4 dutchies passed to the left hand side.

So what did you think of Captureland? Feel free to comment below.

For my look at the iconic Jamaican film The Harder They Come you can click here and for touching Trinidad documentary Smallman you can click here. And for more Cariwood film posts you can follow me on Twitter @suprememango012 for updates. Got your back like a chiropractor. l8rs.

This film was viewed on studioanansitv and is available to watch here.

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