Last update: 11-Dec-2013 10:01 pm
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
You are here
A bigger and better film festival this year
The T&T Film Festival (TTFF) has made significant strides and this year, there is even greater interest by the general public and potential stakeholders, directors of the Festival have told the T&T Guardian.
Editorial director Jonathan Ali, said this year’s festival has several new components. One is the three-day conference that the festival is hosting with Unesco from September 25 to 27. The conference titled Cameras Of Diversity For A Culture Of Peace, will take place at the Hyatt Regency and the main focus is on the development of the Caribbean film industry.
“This is a major initiative. There will be a number of film industry guests both from T&T and abroad. They will take part in a series of panel discussions on topics ranging from funding and distribution, to issues relating to the role of women in film and the role film can play in social development,” said Ali.
The role of film criticism and how the level of critical dialogue about film throughout the Caribbean can be improved will also be on the itinerary. Ali said the majority of these sessions will be free and open to the public.
Ali pointed to the impressive growth of the festival since its inception in 2006.
“This year we have over 140 films. Fifty are feature length films and the rest are short films. This is a major leap when compared to having just a dozen films submitted when we started.
“We have gone from one venue which was MovieTowne, to several venues, MovieTowne Tobago, Little Carib Theatre in Woodbrook, and UWI St Augustine. All of our industry events will also be hosted at the Hyatt this year,” said Ali.
Ali believes the interest in the festival has grown over the years because of the diverse range of movies.
“People love movies and they don’t normally get a chance to see non-mainstream, non-Hollywood films outside of the festival season. Most of the time when they go to cinema or they’re watching cable television or DVDs, their access is pretty much limited to what’s coming out of Hollywood.
“The growth of the festival has shown there is a great demand, a great desire to see more than just Hollywood films. People want to see local films.”
He said last year a number of the local films that were screened at the festival sold out and additional screenings had to be put on to facilitate the large number of patrons.
“We expect the same thing will happen this year. There are several local films that will be making their world premiere and they are going to be popular.”
Another attraction of the TTFF is the panorama film—movies from Latin America, India and Africa. Ali said for the first time this year, a Chinese film will be shown.
“We show films from these countries because they are countries we like to call our heritage nations. And those films also prove very popular with audiences who want to see something different than the average, Hollywood blockbuster.”
Ali said what separates the festival from just programming and screenings, are the filmmakers, who are actually there to see their films and to speak to the audience. They are quite accessible, he said.
Every single year that the festival has been held, the attendance numbers have risen.
“Last year we had the highest attendance yet at the festival and we certainly expect to increase numbers again this year.”
Ali credited the increase in patronage to the number of films submitted and the improvement in the quality of these films.
“We hope that people who haven’t yet come to this festival or those who might have been skeptical about it will come and see these wonderful films and understand why the festival is growing,” said Ali.
In addition to the action on the screen, there’s been a lot of work behind the scenes to secure the Festival’s sustainability.
“We do have some sponsors who have been working with us for several years and through their willingness to make long-term commitments, we have been able to establish a level of sustainability where we know we can have a festival every year, based on the input of these sponsors,” said Nneka Luke, TTFF director of external relations.
For example, presenting sponsor Flow, has been with the Festival for six years and the company just signed on to continue its sponsorship for another three years, from 2014 to 2016.
“We also have bpTT as one of our lead sponsors and they’re in the middle of their three-year commitment with us,” she said.
She noted other sponsors like RBC Royal Bank, also a lead sponsor, has remained committed as well as the T&T Film Company (TTFC), which has been a supporter from inception of the festival and has grown in its support.
“TTFC will be facilitating a workshop this year with American actor Bill Duke, who has many years of experience in the film industry,” said Luke.
She noted that the NGC has also remained committed to sponsoring community screenings throughout the year. It also continues to support many events hosted by the TTFF.
She said others who have come on board this year include Hyatt, which is the official venue for TTFF’s formal events, Drink Wine Bar and Lounge in Woodbrook, Medulla Art Gallery and Heineken Mini. Luke said many other companies in the corporate sector have indicated their interest in being on board in 2014.
• The T&T Film Festival runs from today until October 1. Guardian Media Ltd is the festival’s official media partner. Every day, festival picks from BC Pires will be highlighted in the T&T Guardian.
User comments posted on this website are the sole views and opinions of the comment writer and are not representative of Guardian Media Limited or its staff. Guardian Media Limited accepts no liability and will not be held accountable for user comments.
Please help us keep out site clean from inappropriate comments by using the flag option.
Guardian Media Limited reserves the right to remove, to edit or to censor any comments. Any content which is considered unsuitable, unlawful or offensive, includes personal details, advertises or promotes products, services or websites or repeats previous comments will be removed.