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T&T, a true melting pot of races, cultures
My name is Shaun Escayg and I made the short film Fish. I’m married to Annabella, from Venezuela. She’s an incredible woman. She has to be, to put up with me. She’s my wife/producer/ sounding board/confidante and much more. I have a beautiful daughter and a two-year-old-son. I went to Newtown Boys’ RC and Fatima College. And then Living Arts College, Raleigh, NC, USA.
One day I took my dad’s pearl white Fender Stratocaster, which had a chip in the paint that revealed wood underneath. I’d always wanted a wooden guitar, so I decimated, with a small chisel and hammer, his beautiful guitar. When he arrived home, I proudly showed him what I’d done. I’m sure it crossed his mind to cut my tail but he took me in his car, drove me downtown and bought my first electric guitar, a wood-finished Peavy. I still play the guitar.
The future worries me. The world and where we’re headed. The cheapening of human life. Life wasted on wars for power, oil and religion. I’ve been on a reading binge recently. I think Amazon and Kindle must consider me a shareholder by now.
I’m based in Los Angeles, California now. I’ve lived in Venezuela, Toronto, Vancouver, Venice Beach, San Francisco and back to LA. I love having a drink or two but wouldn’t call myself a drinker. I don’t smoke cigarettes.
My mom started my movie watching. She’d take me down to Globe and Astor theatres. Popcorn, hotdogs and pop—who could ask for more? I believe it was ET that first blew my mind. I have a favourite director, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, but I can’t limit myself to a single favourite film. Amores Perros, Mar adentro, Biutiful, City Of God, No Country for Old Men, There Will Be Blood, Pan’s Labyrinth, Saving Private Ryan, Sin Nombre. Old Boy was and is epic. I know it’s shameful but I haven’t seen many local films.
I can understand most Spanish conversations. I speak English to my kids. My wife speaks Spanish to our son. He’s bilingual. My daughter lives in Trinidad with her mother. No food compares to Trinidadian food. None. Fish was shot in September 2011 as a proof of concept for a larger screenplay/script I’ve been working on. It’s centred around how my main character in the screenplay FISH got his nickname. Fish will be longer, once I get the feature financed.
There wasn’t any hesitation over whether or not to shoot a quite brutal scene in Fish. I think crime is brutal and most of us see the aftermath and don’t really consider the moments that lead up to the end. Most of us are unaware of what life is like for people like my characters in Fish. These voices go unnoticed, drowned out by fetes and parties. Or dismissed. Someone said, looking at the film, you’d think the country was a war zone. We shot Fish during a state of emergency.
A STATE OF EMERGENCY! No problem. I make a short movie about street teens that rob the wrong drug dealers and I hear war zone. WAR ZONE? It’s almost like we’re ashamed we’re normal and have issues that need addressing. When did we get so shallow? When did we throw out Minshall for Harts? If the powers that be don’t do something about taking care of our citizens, you bet your bottom dollar, I’ll be making a movie about it.
The best thing about making Fish was the ability to move your audience, make people think and hopefully inspire change.The worst thing is, the experience was so much fun, I wish it didn’t end. A Trini is someone privileged to have experienced true freedom, true unity and true love for life. To me Trinidad and Tobago represents freedom, an irreplaceable childhood and a true melting pot of races and cultures. It is a place worth fighting for. I believe we can do better.
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