rent a rasta rent a rasta rent a rasta rent a rasta rent a rasta
NEW DOCUMENTARY WITH A TWIST | 45 min. wide screen, digital dolby surround sound


Sex Tourism, a product of slavery, is not new to the Caribbean

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Three flights are due into Montego Bay, one from Toronto, one from Fort Lauderdale, the other from London. When white women flock to Jamaica for a little fun in the sun, the R&R they're often looking for is not "Rest and Relaxation" but to "Rent a Rasta" according to director J. Michael Seyfert. His eye-opening expose' of the same name sheds light on a barely acknowledged form of sex tourism, namely, white women who visit the Caribbean Islands to get their groove back with the help of black locals. This documentary claims that, each year, as many as 80,000 females from a variety of relatively-wealthy Western nations descend on Jamaica alone.

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j. michael seyfert best director award atlanta docu festival

In sight and sound, RENT a RASTA portrays the many fronts in which Babylon fights the Movement of Rastafari in Jamaica. How slavery continues until this very day. When Babylon "discovered" the "New World", the original inhabitants were either killed or ghetto-ized while millions of Africans were taken from their homes to work as slaves on the land that was stolen by their slave masters. The whole western "Judeo-Christian" "Civilization" is built on the slave trade and colonialization. Although everything is officially abolished many years ago, the practice continues until this very day. Who feels it, knows it, as they say. In Jamaica, they know it. It was there, that the Movement of Rastafari was born with the crowning in Ethiopia of Ras Tafari Makonnen as Haile Selassie the 1st, the 225th descendant of King Solomon. There was the true Judeo-Christian Civilization! Ever since it's birth, the Movement has been the target of Babylon System. Persecution, disinformation, condemnation, infiltration, corruption, every trick in the book is used against this group. RENT a RASTA deals directly with Babylon's down-pressing of Jamaican people and Rastafarians in particular. The raw picture of what Babylon is really doing becomes clear. The term itself refers to a practice of sex-slavery: hordes of tourists flood the island in search for paid sex with black dread locked men. The practice is shown in the video, people openly talk about it. In the Rastaman's Camp, there's a completely different picture. Several Rastas are interviewed as they speak about the suffering, about being in Babylon. The contrast in sight and sound is shockingly clear. While the narrator does his best to make sense out of the con-fusion shown in sight and sound, the video proofs without the shadow of a doubt just how abominable and evil Babylon really is. While the real Rastas are suffering, telling the people to stop sinning and live a righteous life, Babylon has her own (per)version of Rastafari which makes some others filthy rich. Yah, watch t'is flim and try to understand the issues.

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Perhaps most telling is the desperate summation of a suffering black woman seen begging for an end to the Jamaican people's neverending cycle of poverty. She wants, "the white world to come give us our deliverance, because it was them who take us out of our land and carry us here." Viewed in this light, Rent a Rasta is a clarion call which establishes that sex tourism is not merely the harmless indulgence of horny white women gone wild, but a burgeoning trend which continues to wreak havoc on a Caribbean culture and family structure already in crisis.      [Great documentary! HuffPost Live]

YOUR COMMENTS

A documenary with the potential for greatness. I am so glad someone is finally talking about this since it's an issue I've wanted to tackle for quite some time. To really expose the exploitation on both ends seems important.

Posted by JAHWORKS

Not condoned Wayne Cummings, president of the Negril Chamber of Commerce and first vice president of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA), told the Sunday Herald that sex tourism is not condoned by the organisations that he represents. He pointed out that although many visitors to exotic locations such as Jamaica often arrive with hope of finding an “escort”, the country has made efforts to move away from this image. “It still happens, but we categorise it as tourist harassment. We invite tourists here for sun, sea, sand and Jamaican hospitality, which does not necessarily include sexual favours,” said Cummings. He added that sex tourism brought with it many negative implications such as the spread of infectious diseases and a tarnished national image. “Those persons in the sex tourism industry are better served by getting training and incorporate themselves into legitimate tourism jobs,” he said. Cummings indicated that tourism interests in the resort towns have better working relationships with the police, and this has prevented the problem from being an overt one. He also indicated that tourism interests have also begun to address the problem through education. Cummings also spoke to the issue of staff training at the Sandals hotel chain to ensure that internal and external interaction does not become or appear untoward.

Posted by JAMAICA SUNDAY HERALD

It's a ''Stella moment'' on the beach. A handsome young Jamaican with bulging pectorals strides up to three middle-aged women strolling barefoot by the sea. His opening gambit is an invitation to ride on his glass-bottom boat. Then the real business: ''Yes mon, my friend and I noticed you last night. You were wearing sneakers,'' he says to one. ''Oh yeah?'' ''We said, 'Those are oldies but goldies!''' he continues. ''How dare you!'' The woman's brassy American accent is a marked contrast to the melodious Jamaican one. ''Didn't your mother teach you how to talk to ladies? 'Oldies?''' The women storm off past a fence that cordons off their all-inclusive resort, leaving their suitor behind. David Patrick, about 30, scratches an ear ruefully but takes the rejection in stride. ''Women been coming in droves since that movie,'' he says. He's talking about How Stella Got Her Groove Back, the movie about a woman who goes to Jamaica and falls in love with a man half her age and rediscovers her enthusiasm for life. ''It's not just Americans,'' Patrick says. ''English women, Germans, Swiss - they all say the same thing: That they've come to get their groove back.'' The movie was based on a book by Terry McMillan who said she kept running into women who bought tickets to Jamaica after Stella became a bestseller in 1996. The movie, starring Angela Bassett as Stella and Taye Diggs as her lover Winston, appears to have had even more of an effect. ''Jamaica couldn't have paid for the publicity we're getting,'' says photographer Ken Ramsay, referring to scenes that linger on white-sand beaches, turquoise and emerald waters, cloudless skies and exotic flowers. Jamaica's Tourist Board has screened the film for U.S. travel agents and aired TV spots promoting the island as a lovers' getaway. Mark Adkins, a manager at the public relations agency Adkins-Rome Entertainment and Marketing in Los Angeles, describes an enthusiastic response, with ''a lot of women ... saying they wanted to go to Jamaica to find their Winston.'' ''We're seeing groups of ladies coming together that look like the type Terry McMillan was writing about - more single ladies,'' says hotel manager Brian Sang. Sang, executive manager of the Jamaica Grande resort at Ocho Rios on the island's north coast, says one visitor sent him a poem saying she and her girlfriends were ''coming to get their groove back.'' A new lexicon has grown around the movie. ''I've heard tourists say things like, 'There's a Stella thing going on here,''' Sang says.

Posted by OCHO RIOS Jamaica: 'Stellas' Searching for Their Winstons in Jamaica

Is there prostitution in Negril?

Yes. Although it is not legal. You will see many men and women looking to show you love. Many beautiful women will surround single men at the clubs, and single women will receive the same treatment from the local men. If you're single, it will be assumed that you're on the island seeking a 'likkle love beneat' de palms.' Any remonstration to the contrary will likely be met with wearying attempts to get you to change your mind. Black women can expect to hear a 'roots' trip.

If you go along with the flirting, don't expect a Jamaican man to understand if you've no intent of going all the way. Your innocent acceptance will be taken as a sign of acquiescence. The Jamaican male has a fragile ego and is likely to react strongly to feeling like a fool. Don't beat about the bush for fear of hurting the man's feelings.

Many foreign women welcome these advances, as evidenced by the proliferation of 'rent-a-Rastas' - semiprofessional good-time guys, or gigolos - on the arms of North American and European women. Most often, the man is excited more by your economic clout than your looks - a foreign catch brings status and the possibility for wheedling some cash. You'll be the moneybags in any romantic encounter.

Posted by Jamaica Good Time

Atmosfæren er fremdeles avslappet ogtilbakelent, turistlivet lever side om side med lokallivet.Du kommer nærmere lokalbefolkningen her enn ihotellpalassenes Montego Bay og turistskipenes Ocho Rios. Sammenlignet med disse andre turiststedene er dette detvirkelige Jamaica hvor lokalbefolkningen er like forundrethver gang du avslår en blås. Og det skal du. Her er det ikkesigaretter det er snakk om, ikke en gang sigarer. Politiethar ikke lenger noe slapt forhold til narkotikabruk. Barerastaene kan blåse i vei med en slags religiøsvelsignelse. La gå at du ikke lenger kan vandrekilometer på kilometer uten å snuble i annen manns fotspor,at forlokkende skilt strekker sine fangarmer ut frapalmeskyggene, at du stadig oppvartes av menn og kvinner medpssst'ende tilbud. Gi fra deg noen ord og et smil og etbestemt nei, så bryr de seg ikke om å slite seg innpåvidere. Respect man, respect. La gå at ingen synes ådanse på de legendariske reggaekonsertene i strandkanten, atde mest tjener som fremvisning av prostituerte i allevektklasser og begge kjønn. Og at Negril har et visst ryktesom trekker til seg hvite kvinner ute etter et svarteventyr. Rent-a-rasta heter det her. Prøv litt Jamaicastål,mom. = )

Posted by SOL SAND REGGAE ROM

Just got my copy the other day. Most definately a wicked film, but why they called it Rent-A-Rasta i'll never know, the sex trade bit is only a small piece of the film, well worth getting..... Lots of nice elders . Some good bobo shanti royalness as well.

Also shows some of the main stream "wolves" who dable in rasta bizness. Great film highly recomended.

Posted by Positivevibes

In search of the Big Bamboo

According to some published reports, as many as 80,000 women from America and Europe travel every year to the Caribbean island of Jamaica to have uncomplicated sex with available "rastatutes". Naturally, all this scandal makes the real Rastas livid. Their history is long and their hardships many, yet these beach-cruising playboys give their religion (not to mention their lifestyle) a bad reputation. Director J. Michael Seyfert is out to change all that. He wants to uncover this unseemly practice and prove that the men exchanging copulation for cash have very little connection to the Rastafari faith. Instead, they are what you would call Rent-a-Rasta—ersatz imitations of the real deal.

Beginning as a supposed exposé of the sex-for-sale industry in Jamaica (think How Stella Got Her Groove Back without famous authors or actresses) but quickly devolving into an overview of the Rastafari religion. Inside are four or five really engaging stories—the history of slavery in the West Indies, the current reparations and repatriation movement, the story of Haile Selassie and his deification, the current socio- economic climate in the Caribbean, and the notion that fat, older, or otherwise unattractive females worldwide come to this area for the sole purpose of getting their whore on. We are intrigued by the notion of such scandalous trysts, well aware that author Terry McMillan (who first uncovered this female version of the mid-life crisis) is currently dragging her boy-toy through a messy, highly-publicized divorce, and Seyfert introduces us to some wonderfully caddish characters.

We hear impassioned pleas from regular followers, as well as the frequent dismissal of "false Rastas." Important names in the religion are given their moment of historical significance, and we even witness a good-natured debate among a group of men over who is the true savior—Jesus or Haile Selassie.

Would it have been better to discuss Rastafari, its various factions, its divided views on repatriation, and the basic tenets of its belief system, and leave the rest alone? Why not address the dreads, the strict diet and leisure mandates (pot = OK; alcohol and tobacco? No way), and the varying influences on the rules and regulations. The idea that smoking "ganja" came from Hindus after all, and many of the religions more stringent codes were derived from a combination of Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. We hear how the Rastas refer to themselves as "Jews" (in a more metaphysical sense) and how people who claim to be Jewish are, in their mind, less than devout. They consider such an ethnic term the same as referring to someone as girl-ish, or child-ish—like a girl or child, but in fact not really one at all.

Such confrontational comments add a refreshing bit of energy.

Seyfert avoids many of the island's more picturesque elements (beaches, waterfalls, mountains) to focus on Rasta temples and up-close compositions. Consisting mostly of fabulously expressive faces, we feel both the happiness and the hardship beaming from every single person interviewed.

The 1.85:1 non-anamorphic letterboxed image is crisp and clear, the product of an excellent digital camera creation. There is no flaring or bleeding, and the amount of detail is delightful. The soundtrack, featuring wonderfully atmospheric dub and reggae is presented in a Dolby Digital Stereo Surround mix that is bass-heavy and mostly midrange.

Posted by Mostly White Monkey

We welcome your comments.

Documentary film proves there are more stories in the world, more eccentrics and visionaries, than there is film to capture them. Against all odds, we, the autonomous filmmaker go out with our cameras and a strong sense for justice. Autonomous means self-funded but not short in punch, because we somehow manage to document our world and society's ills and beauty in compelling stories.

Painting: CORDERO


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"A puckish encounter with the asymmetric resistance flourishing in Rio de Janeiro's underbelly". "This year's best short film! Thumbs up for the way Seyfert satirized macho radicalism at the same time as pointing out complex social issues." Bristol Radical Film Festival 2013

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"Craziest and most interesting is the problem of incentive. Many of the people of Centenario, for instance didn't want anything. To talk to a man about tripling his income was to fill him with confusion; he got nervous; he started to laugh; he wanted to go get drunk. The poor man from the moment of birth was so inundated with problems, so deprived, that to end up wanting things was a sort of insanity. What he wanted was to stay alive another day to tell jokes and visit with his friends in the sweet night air. He wanted a few pesos from time to time so that he could drink and dance and feel cleansed of life.

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