A documentary film on the life of G.C. Foster as a young athlete is scheduled for release this year. The thirty-minute film, entitled “Finding Foster: The Search for Jamaica’s Lost Sprint Hero” will have its Jamaican premiere at a special event at GC Foster College of Physical Education and Sport’s auditorium on Thursday, November 3 starting at 4:00 pm.
A special feature of the event will see the unveiling of a portrait of Foster, based on images of him at age 23, in the college gymnasium.
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The film is a companion to the new book, Fifty Days Afire: Inside Jamaica’s Long Sprint to Freedom, which features the fifty greatest performances by Jamaican sprinters and will also be available at the event. The documentary, which was produced simultaneously with the book, focuses on the period before Foster became one of Jamaica’s most celebrated coaches. Foster chose the profession after being guided by leading British athletics coach Harry Andrews during his tour of the UK during the 1908 London Olympics.
The documentary was conceived and produced by international communications specialist Michael A. Grant, who has collaborated with sports analyst Hubert Lawrence on two other books about Jamaican athletics, Champs 100: A History of Jamaican High School Athletics, 1910-2010 (Great House, 2010) and The Power & The Glory: Jamaica in World Athletics from WWII to the Diamond League Era (Great House, 2012). Lawrence, as well as noted sports journalist Kayon Raynor, are featured in the film as they discuss Foster’s track career.
The production begins in the ruins of Kingston after the 1907 earthquake, which caused enormous losses of life and property. Foster’s home on Harbour Street was severely damaged and his family had to move into emergency tent shelters, a situation that provided an impetus for Foster to find adventure abroad. The search for details of his life leads to Herne Hill in London, where he lived and trained on arrival, then to a whirlwind of travel around Britain, where he would race – and beat – many of the fastest sprinters of the day, including Olympians.
From there, the investigation looks for Foster around the sports grounds and archives of England and Northern Ireland, leading to the discovery of the only known photographs of him in competition and the tremendous impression he made on the British sports press during his three-month stay.
Both Fifty Days Afire and “Finding Foster” have been produced with grants from AnyBet, NCB Capital Markets Ltd., Tastee Ltd., Sherwin-Williams Ltd. and the Sports Development Foundation (SDF). The projects have been endorsed by the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA).