Two weeks, 175 films, over a dozen venues and $170,000 in prizes—those are some of the stats of the Trinidad + Tobago Film Festival, which starts September 19. In its seventh year, the festival will open with a screening of the hit bio-documentary Marley, which will be presented by its director Kevin Macdonald. A critical hit, the film about reggae legend Bob Marley played in T&T earlier this year but suffered from a lack of publicity, said Bruce Paddington at a September 4 press conference at the Carlton Savannah, St Ann’s, launching the festival. Paddington, festival director and founder, highlighted some of the other films the festival will screen, including the hit UK movie Shame—“It’s supposed to be very sexy,” he said, somewhat understatedly, about the frank portrait of sex addiction. Another highlight he mentioned was Juan of the Dead, a critically praised zombie flick from Cuba.
Of course, T&T and Caribbean Diaspora films will feature heavily in the programme, starting with the premiere of the only feature-length narrative T&T-made film in this year’s festival, Little Boy Blue, directed by Nicholas Attin. Other local features garnering attention at the launch were Richard Fung’s Dal Puri Diaspora, a documentary on the roots of roti; Hosay Cedros, a documentary about the Muslim festival as it is celebrated in Cedros, directed by Dion Samsoondar; and Horace Ové’s classic Pressure, the first black independent feature made in the UK. The festival this year honours Ové, a Trinidadian who migrated to the UK in 1960 and has since made over 20 films. Paddington also highlighted the New Media part of the festival, which, the festival guide says, is “a collection of artists’ works that explore a range of themes and issues, while pushing and blurring the boundaries between film and art.”
These films will be shown mostly at the Medulla Art Gallery, Woodbrook, daily from September 22-29. The New Media exhibition will be presented with ARC Magazine, and will include films by artists from T&T, Jamaica, Martinique, Finland, Haiti, Puerto Rico, Barbados and Brazil, among other countries. Would-be filmmakers and celluloid superstars will also have the chance to participate in various free and open workshops on acting, funding, the art of the film review, guerrilla filmmaking, and “How to make a kick-ass short film on your cellphone,” the latter led by Bafta award-winning UK filmmaker John Maclean, famous for his own cellphone movie Man on a Motorcycle. Though it is the Trinidad + Tobago Film Festival, Paddington said that was no reason to restrict the films shown to only local content, and the festival will show films from some 28 countries. The festival enjoys relationships with regional as well as international festivals, and, in fact, has been invited to submit a selection of films to the Havana Film Festival in December, Paddington said. (LAA) For more information on the Trinidad + Tobago Film Festival, including schedules, go to ttfilmfestival.com
T&T films in the festival
Eight features and 38 shorts from Trinidad and Tobago filmmakers will be screened in the festival.
Some highlights are:
LITTLE BOY BLUE, Director: Nicholas Attin
2012, Trinidad + Tobago English
Narrative feature/87 minutes
Bill is a troubled art teacher with a tragic past. After he confiscates a mysterious pendant from an orphaned student, Georgie-Boy, visions of a spectre in white plague Bill’s fitful sleep, eventually making the terrifying transition from the world of dreams into reality. When he realises the importance of the pendant Bill must return it to its rightful resting place.
September 20, 6 pm, MovieTowne POS, Q&A
September 22, 7 pm, UWI, Students’ Activity Centre, Q&A
September 28, 1 pm, MovieTowne POS
PRESSURE, Director: Horace Ové
1975, UK/Trinidad + Tobago English
Narrative feature/110 minutes
Tony, the London-born son of Trinidadian migrants, can’t find a suitable job, in spite of his impressive O-Level qualifications. Harassed by his parents for his supposed idleness, and by his older brother for denying his black identity, Tony is pushed to the margins of an increasingly alienating society. The first British feature by a black filmmaker, Pressure is the classic, passionate story of a black man’s political awakening and his struggle for a sense of being and place.
September 24, 1.30 pm, UWI, Centre for Language Learning, Q&A
September 29, 3 pm, Little Carib Theatre, Q&A
FISH, Director: Shaun Escayg
2012, Trinidad +Tobago/Canada/USA English
Narrative short/15 minutes
Two homeless cousins try to survive the streets of Port-of-Spain as petty thieves. But times are getting harder and the pickings, slim. Will fortune favour the brave? Or will their desperate actions lead to their demise?
September 24, 8.30 pm, MovieTowne POS
September 26, 8 pm, MovieTowne Tobago
September 28, 8.45 pm, MovieTowne POS, Q&A
September 30, 8 pm, MovieTowne Tobago
DOUBLES WITH SLIGHT PEPPER, Director: Ian Harnarine
2012, Canada/USA/Trinidad + Tobago English
Narrative short/6 minutes
Dhani struggles to support himself and his mother by selling doubles at the market. When his estranged father returns from Canada unexpectedly, Dhani must decide if he will help save his father’s life despite their strained relationship.
In association with the High Commission of Canada and RBC Royal Bank
September 20, 8 pm, Little Carib Theatre
September 23, 7 pm, Chaguanas
September 28, 2.30 pm, UWI, Institute of Critical Thinking
September 29 , 8 pm, Little Carib Theatre, Q&A
BUCK: The Man Spirit, Director: Steven Taylor
2012, Trinidad +Tobago English
Narrative short/35 minutes
When Audi picks up some Guyanese nationals in his taxi, he unknowingly picks up another, mysterious passenger. And when he learns that this mysterious creature could bring him good luck, he is overjoyed. Audi soon realises, however, how quickly good fortune can turn bad.
September 22, 5 pm, UWI, Students’ Activity Centre
September 24, 6.30 pm, MovieTowne POS, Q&A
September 30, 1 pm, MovieTowne POS