The Green Screen Environmental Film Series is all set to kick off on October 31, taking free screenings to venues around Trinidad. The series is produced by Sustain T&T, an NGO whose ambitious young director Carver Bacchus is very much looking forward to this year’s series, having won an Award of Merit for last year’s Green Screen from the EMA. Bacchus, who has worked in management, communications and marketing over the course of his career, has long had an interest in film. He holds a diploma in Motion Picture Directing from Brighton Film School and also has a Bachelor’s degree in Communications from Florida Tech. Bacchus answered questions about the Green Screen series in an interview:
Q: How did you get the idea for Green Screen?
A: The general public in Trinidad and Tobago, as well as the business community and even civil society, has been slow to respond to the realities of our changing situation. We can no longer continue depending on oil and gas to sustain us, nor can we willfully ignore the strain that our society puts on the environment in a myriad of ways.
I figured using “edutainment” type events and activities would make environmental issues more compelling and exciting for the general public. I’ve found that movies can draw people in and make them feel something, even for a moment. And it’s in that moment that a change can occur. We’re trying to create as many moments as possible for as many people as we can.
What are the events like for this year’s series?
This year we have a host of interesting films but we also have two events that have a different slant. On November 3 at 33 Murray Street we’re hosting a screening of Taking Root, a story about Wangari Maathai, a female Nobel Peace Prize winner from Kenya who left her mark by encouraging rural women to plant trees for firewood, food and shelter. Of course, she did much more than that, which is revealed in the film—a very compelling story.
At that screening we’re also having a talk about community project development and then a “bring your bottle” after-party. On November 11 at Alice Yard, we’re co-hosting a TEDxPortofSpain salon event which includes an installation by artist Marlon Darbeau and a discussion about how design—of buildings, transport systems, tools, technology, anything—can change people’s lives for the better, and perhaps how we can push that process forward here in T&T.
How has the planning process been going so far?
I’m excited! The response has been really positive and I really would love to see other projects and ideas spin off from what we are doing.
Are you looking forward to any venues/screenings in particular?
I’m looking foward to Blanchisseuse as it’s actually within a community on a Saturday night. I’m excited to see people’s reaction to the films.
What are your favourite films? Why?
I think all the films are excellent. Personally, I think Food Inc touches a nerve with people and with me. Everyone has to eat and it’s time that we really understand exactly what we are putting into our bodies. Some of the processed stuff isn’t food anymore. It’s very eye opening and everyone should see it.
What other kinds of projects has Sustain T&T been involved in—and what’s next?
Sustain T&T has developed and implemented workshops and seminars on various elements of sustainability and environmental conservation. Our next project will be to develop a climate change awareness campaign and training program, funded by the UNDP, using film as the main teaching tool.
We are going to collaborate with the communities to make documentary films about their environmental issues and to explore solutions, which will be shared with other communities locally and internationally. We want to engage several communities to develop an awareness of how climate change has affected and will affect them, what they can do to adapt, and how to use basic filmmaking techniques to tell environmental stories of their own.
T&T Guardian is the media partner for the Green Screen Environmental Film Series.