What is Ordinary?

SF Latino Film Festival: Call for Entries

Now open for submissions the mission of San Francisco Latino Film Festival  is to “provide a platform for films made by US Latino, Latin American, or Iberian filmmakers- as well as films by and about Latinos. We showcase films with a distinctly Latin American/Latino experience or point of view”.

Submission fees are nominal and can be made online or via mail. Same with film screeners both online and mailed copies are accepted.

Click here for the submission form and full details.


m. jason welch


Songs From The Film ‘Portrait’

During production for the short film ‘Portrait’ I approached DMV (DC,Maryland, Virginia) based singer-songwriter Nila Kay about the possibility of writing and producing a soundtrack EP to coincide with the film. I was stoked when Nila obliged and even more so when, after numerous meetings, calls and emails I heard the final rough material that she had written which perfectly reflected what I was seeking to capture with the sparse, poetic quality of the film. ‘Portrait’ which stars actors Emilio Delgado and Samantha Lawrence revolves around Seth, a marginally successful artist’s skewed world and his infatuation with the beautiful Katrina whom he meets by chance at a gallery exhibit of his work. Here’s the lead single from the EP ‘Portrait’ ‘Sleepwlkng’: 

The EP was recorded at Hudson Street Sound in Annapolis, MD and was recently released on Itunes and other music outlets. Pick up the album here:


Thanks to all the cast and the production crew who created a special magic with the film which was an official selection of the inaugural 2015 Jamaica Film Festival 

To keep up with Twelve14 a film, music video and media production company based in Washington D.C. follow @twelve14film or visit them on Facebook

m. jason welch


BIM Literary Festival (Barbados)


12-14 MAY, 2016


The inaugural Bim Literary Festival and Book Fair took place in May 2012. The festival’s theme was “Words Need Love Too,” a sentiment borrowed from a poem by Barbados’ best-known poet, Kamau Brathwaithe.

Organized by Writers Ink Inc.(which I enjoyed being a member of when I lived in Barbados), a collective of Barbados’ leading novelists and poets, that first festival featured Caribbean literary giants: Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott, Alba Prize winner George Lamming and Giller Award winners Austin “Tom” Clarke and Lorna Goodison. Kamau Brathwaite was also represented. Among the renowned local writers who participated were Linda M.Deane, Margaret Gill, Anthony Kellman, Karen Lord, Philip Nanton, Esther Phillips, and Robert Edison Sandiford.

This year’s events cater to wide a range of ages and demographics while proudly pivoting itself on celebrations surrounding Barbados’ fiftieth year of Independence: Bim Lit Fest. 2016 Program

Paule Marshall, a celebrated American writer of Barbadian parentage,  will receive a Lifetime Achievement award presented by the Prime Minister. The Bridgetown Literary Tour will also be expanded to include locations relevant to Independence: The Parliament Buildings, Government Headquarters and the Garrison Savannah, among others.

The aim of any literary festival is to engage people with reading, writing and literature. The Bim Lit Fest gives writers and readers, editors and agents, that all too rare opportunity to get together, lime (Caribbean slang meaning to hang out/chill), and interact one-on-one.

For Further Info: Bim Lit Fest.

M. Jason Welch

(with excerpts from info provided by BIM Literary Festival organizers)

PJ Harvey’s New Single ‘Community of Hope’ Tears Through D.C. Inequality

I own every PJ Harvey record except for White Chalk (2007), The Peel Sessions Compilation (2006) and A Woman A Man Walked By (With John Parish – 2009). Somewhere I have them written on a list of albums I need to buy. I saw this video for ‘Dress’ one night late back in 1991 on MTV’s 120 minutes and subsequently went out and bought a cassette tape of her debut album ‘Dry’ from which it was taken. 

Throughout her career Polly Jean has constantly pushed the boundaries of music and art; morphing from riot girl to punk, singer-songwriter to electronic, live firecracker to demure folk crooner; always tossed with a healthy mix of global influences, poetry, introspection and ultimately, liberation. In 2011, following a  4 year hiatus, Harvey released ‘Let England Shake’.



The ‘war album’ received universal acclaim, was named Album of the year (2011) by 16 mainstream publications and received the coveted Mercury Prize for that year; Harvey’s second.

Her forthcoming album, The Hope Six Demolition Project, draws from several journeys undertaken by Harvey, who spent time in Kosovo, Afghanistan and Washington, D.C. over a four-year period. Indeed the song “The Community of Hope” inspired by an actual program takes snide aim at capitalism, impoverishment and inequality in the United States capitol, Washington D. C., the realities of which residents know too well.

According to Rolling Stone, the song “…..documents Harvey’s journey through Washington, D.C. in an area surrounding the Washington National Cemetery. “Here’s the highway to death and destruction / South Capitol is its name / And the school just looks like a shithole / Does that look like a nice place,” Harvey sings on the track before assuring the listener, “They’re gonna put a Walmart here.”

Here’s the video, primarily featuring D.C. and it’s environs with beautiful yet subtle cinematography by Seamus Murphy.

However, after the song was written and recorded, a deal that would have allowed Walmart to open stores in metro D.C. as long as they built two in lower-income areas around the city fell through, the Washington Post notes.

Below is a trailer for the album, due out April 15th on Island Records. It was recorded last year in residency at London’s Somerset House (PJHarvey/SomersetHouseExhibit) and is produced by Flood and John Parish.




m. jason welch

Basketball Bright Hope: Buddy Hield

A friend turned me on to Bahamas born OU basketball player Buddy Hield and his unlikely story of humility and commitment. “I read this and thought of you,” he said. BuddyHieldMemphisBuddy, whose recent performance against Kansas State led Oklahoma to their first Final Four since 2002, spent countless hours practising in Freeport, Bahamas on a homemade crate and plywood ‘hoop’ (below). 

Neighbors taunted and reviled him, spreading shards of glass across the makeshift court to assuade his constant playing. Soon, Buddy – who has garnered the adoration of Kobe Bryant – will be on to the NBA and if all goes well a long, lucrative professional career doing what he loves. He is an inspiration not only to sports fans but anyone in the process of pursuing their dreams. Following is an extract of an article about Buddy Hield taken from the Bleacher Report

Mark Jason Welch

….There is indeed something different about Hield, something that sets him apart from the other All-Americans who have funneled through college basketball the past few seasons, something that’s caused the nation to fall in love with the kid from the Bahamas who is known as much for his smile as his stroke.

“Whether you’re talking to him in person or watching him on the court, he’s just got a knack for making people feel better about themselves,” Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger said earlier this season. “Life is a lot better when Buddy is around.”

The Final Four will be better, too. 

The timing couldn’t be more ideal for a sport that has taken some publicity hits in recent years for its rash of one-and-done players, cheating scandals and sloppy play. As good of an ambassador as he’s been for Oklahoma, Hield could now do the same for the entire NCAA.

“He walks into a room, and people just gravitate toward him,” said Hield’s mother, Jackie Swann. “It’s the spirit of the Lord that’s upon him. He loves people. I always told him, ‘Be honest with people. Treat them well, and they will treat you right.’”


Watching from the Honda Center court as Buddy stood atop a ladder and took celebratory snips of the net, Jackie wiped tears from her eyes as she spoke about her son’s unlikely journey.

It all began in Eight Mile Rock, a low-income community near Freeport in the Bahamas. Hield—who lived with his grandmother and, for a period, shared a queen-sized bed with his mother and six siblings—spent hours upon hours in the streets shooting hoops, often into a milk crate he’d hammered to a light pole.

One neighbor became so irritated with the ruckus caused by Hield’s late-night dribbling that he spread shards of glass across Hield’s makeshift court, forcing him to find a new place to practice.

Other times, as he got older, Hield would tiptoe out of his home after midnight and walk toward a local park to play pickup ball with friends until he heard the squeals of Jackie’s green minivan as it rounded the corner. At that point Hield knew to either hide—or run home.

Friends laughed at Hield when, as an 11-year-old, he vowed he’d become an NBA basketball player. A jokester with a goofy smile and a reputation for playing pranks, Hield said folks never took him seriously.

“They thought I was an entertainer,” Hield said. “Not an athlete.”

It also didn’t help that the Bahamas had virtually no basketball tradition. Only two players with Bahamian roots (Mychal Thompson and Rick Fox) have enjoyed significant careers in the NBA. Hield, though, was determined to alter the trend.

Hield’s big break came when he was discovered at a summer showcase in the Bahamas before his junior year by a coach at Sunrise Christian Academy, a prep school in Wichita, Kansas. Within months, Hield had packed his bag and moved overseas. As a junior, he was once so upset with his play in a high school road game that he slept on the hotel room floor because he didn’t feel he was worthy of a bed.

When he arrived at Oklahoma, assistant coaches had to lock up the ball rack on game days because Hield was wearing himself out with intense shooting sessions hours before tipoff.

As a freshman, Hield told Kruger his goal was to win a national championship in his inaugural season.

“He was like, ‘Buddy, calm down, let’s just worry about making the NCAA tournament first,’” Hield said. “We made it, so the next year I said the same thing and he said, ‘Let’s try to get to the Sweet 16.’”

Now, finally, Hield and the Sooners are in the Final Four—two wins away from his goal. Oklahoma has never won a national title and hasn’t been to the Final Four since 2002. The program had missed the NCAA tournament three straight seasons before Hield arrived in 2012-13.

You can bet Hield’s fans back home were relishing the moment, too. Hield’s success has made him one of the most recognizable figures in the Bahamas. Two years ago, when the Sooners played in a tournament at the Atlantis resort, he could hardly walk through the lobby because he was so bombarded by natives—many of them hotel employees—who wanted autographs and pictures.

Hield puts on free clinics when he returns to the Bahamas in the summer. And multiple times each season, he sends laundry bags full of the free shoes and athletic gear he receives as a college athlete to people in his hometown who can’t afford extra clothes.

“Knowing they were watching me tonight … I’m glad they got to see it,” Hield said. “This doesn’t happen very often in the Bahamas. I’m happy they get to watch another weekend of basketball.”

Bryant is happy, too, although his schedule as an NBA player will keep him from making the trip to Houston to see Oklahoma take on Villanova in next weekend’s national semifinal.

Bryant didn’t get to wish Hield well before leaving the Honda Center on Saturday, but that didn’t stop him from sending a message to college basketball’s biggest—and most likable—star.

“Go get ‘em,” Bryant said. “Go get ‘em. You’ve taken your team this far, now it’s time to finish the job. It’s time to bring it home.”

[Article Extract from The Bleacher Report: Kobe ‘Blown Away’ by Buddy Hield as Sharpshooter carries OU to Final Four]. Click here to read the full article by Jason King.

Jason King covers college sports for Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter @JasonKingBR.

New Web Series: Counselor

Having received the coveted  ‘Best In Show’ award at the recently concluded Rosebud Film Festival in Arlington, Virginia for his 2015 film ‘Last Night’, D.C. based filmmaker – Writer/ Director/ Producer Harold Jackson III – prepares for the release of his new web series ‘Counselor’.

The series is centered around a hardened therapist Dr. Venahzen (Curtiss Cook) as he struggles to treat David (Chad Eric Smith), a young man with a sketchy past.

Given their variant backgrounds, however, it turns out the men have more in common than they realize.

The Series debuts on You Tube on February 17 2016 and, with the Emmy Nominated Jackson at the helm and the two highly gifted actors Smith and Cook involved it should make for some original and entertaining viewing.

mark jason welch

Documentary ‘BackBurner Dreams’: A Women’s Passion Project


‘Back Burner Dreams’, an in-production documentary by Maryland based filmmaker Brenda Hayes, delves into the lives of three beautiful, gifted, intelligent women who chose to commit to raising their families, while putting the calling of their own talents on hold.


The film follows Carla, Stephanie and Melanee as they seek to reconnect with their passions.

Check out theTrailer:

I was recently on hand to capture their fundraising event held in downtown Washington D.C.:

To keep up with film’s release date, donate, hear original music or to learn more about the filmmakers visit: Back Burner Dreams: A Women’s Passion Project


mark jason welch

‘Surfer Girl’ Documentary

“Barbados Surfer Girl” is a documentary film about Chelsea Tuach,  a remarkable young  athlete who may be on her way to joining the group of 16 elite women  surfers in the world.   At ten years  of age, the diminutive blonde was the youngest person to ever be selected for the Barbados National Surfing Team. At 17 she had won more international awards and accolades than any Barbadian in any sport in the last three decades. And now at 19 she is third in the World Juniors. She has brought more international attention to Barbados during her career than any other Barbadian with the possible exception of Rihanna.

The film follows Chelsea to several international competitions; tracking the discipline, hard work and travels of this young, talented athlete. Are the sacrifices worth it?

The film, which premiered in Barbados on August 14, 2015, is produced and written by Penelope Hynam, with Director of Cinematography Pelle Hybbinette, Editor Stuart Hall and Original score by Jazz musician André Woodvine. It has won four Awards of Merit from the Los-Angeles based global film competition Best Shorts in the categories of Documentary Short, Sports, Original Score and Fitness/Nutrition.  

To request screening information or a DVD copy of the film contact Penelope Hynam of Seaweaver Productions at:


How Are We Haiti?

Perception. I sure succumbed to its powers while flying over Haiti’s massive mass and many mountains. A quiet hum on the aircraft proved my fellow Barbadian members were also holding breaths of intimidation. We were part of a contingent touching down to represent our country over fourteen days of a Caribbean Festival of Arts titled Carifesta XII. My subconscious prepared me to be overwhelmed by images of poverty and violence – the circumstances I had come to expect. Our beautifully decorated prison, (sorry I meant hotel), and stifling security with shotguns dangling at every hip did nothing to cure my concern. Luckily, one of the last things my girlfriend told me before leaving home was to open up, and let Haiti change me and she is always pretty smart about these things……

Motorcycle Taxi Riders wait for their next client

From the dawn of my first morning in Haiti I opened up to its culture and it replied, “Koman ou ye?” And how was I? … Give me a second I was busy understanding the chaos of traffic yet; no accidents. Haitians drivers would put Barbados ZR drivers to shame. Wait, still counting the colours of the Tap Taps and motorcycle taxis providing public transport, How so many wonderfully crafted shoes hung from the walls of streets? I mean, from beds to barbecue grills for sale on the sidewalks. I was still peeping through beads of perspiration to figure out if the temperature of thirty seven degrees that my phone was telling me was lying or not. Hold on, still coming to grips with the fact that Port Au Prince is buzzing with over two million beautiful people and I would think Bridgetown on a Saturday morning at home had a lot of people. How am I, Ayiti? Still fitting the size of many monuments into my eyes, listening to their history. I am busy smiling and dancing to your kompa music, meditating to the rhythm of your rituals. How am I, Haiti? How are you…

I feel your urgency. Not only does your hustle exist in the streets exercising the brilliance of the haggling art, but I can also feel the weight of the pain of corruption in society. Classcism burning bridges. How can the rich be so rich and the poor be so poor? The ones in the middle I don’t even know… but you know the reason I couldn’t recognize you? Just like that poverty stricken boy who has no idea he is poor because his parents shower him with love, Haitians exude a pride and fortitude. Rich in culture communicated with a colourful creole accented with a sparkled smile. We’re at home complaining about poor internet services while some of these people only get two to three hours of random electricity a day. At least we are Flowing. Check it though, their work clothes were still ironed and their cell phones are still charged and topped up. Still living.

Barbados Literature on sale at Carifesta XII

I learned about life. Bonded with fellow Bajans over Barbancourt rum, Prestige beer, soca music and spontaneous storm limes. You had to be there 😉 I lived the life of a celebrity for a couple of weeks. A hard working celebrity but I felt like a star still. I paraded through the streets sharing the Bajan culture, landship and tuk band style. I promoted and sold Barbadian literature breaking down language barriers.

I performed storytelling and spoken word with a translator, and was a part of a professional ensemble of Barbadian talent climaxing the festival in front of thousands of appreciative Caribbean people. It felt really good to be an artist and support the skills of others. From intellectual and ignorant conversation with the National Cultural Foundation Literary Arts Officer Ayesha Gibson, to Bash!ng out to Jowee Omicil and Getting Busy to Biggie Irie, I waved the Barbados flag high both literally and figuratively all day and night. Any higher and I would have been as tall as one of our stilt men.The joy of rushing from performances to embrace other Caribbean culture like the 1688 Youth Orchestr was educating and exhilarating.

Sure I wished I could have experienced more of you Haiti. You big as shite girl! But I received more than I could have imagined. You have touched me creatively, emotionally and spiritually. My perception was a deception and all I feel now is deep appreciation. Although understandably security did not want us to witness the darker parts of you, your sincere spirit still extended arms in a wide “byenveni” and for that I truly give thanks. “Mesi unpil.”

How are we, Haiti? Man we good!

D.J., the producer of two books and an album, is decorated spoken word artist who has won Slam Poet and Open Mic titles and multiple awards at NIFCA, including Gold in the Performing Arts and the premiere recipient of the Bruce St John Award. D.J is also an acclaimed writer and you can find his articles in the Dazzle Barbados Magazine This is his first article for Citysugarr
Twitter|IG: @dj_simmons
DJ Simmons


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