My name is Princess Simone Donelan and the film I co-produced, Dubois, won the last Trinidad & Tobago Film Festival Best Local Short Film Jury Prize.
I was born in Trinidad but, my parents being Grenadian, I lived in the Spice Isle from three years old. I returned when I was 17, to follow dreams of being in film.
My father really did name me, "Princess". He named one brother Prince and another, Leroy, "king" in French. Before he could name my youngest brother Duke, my mother finally woke up and sent someone to register a normal name for him.
My friends always give me picong about coming off the boat from Grenada like it's a bad thing. But anytime I go back to visit family, I travel on the Caricom (cargo) boats. Fifteen hours on the sea beats the two thou absurd fee to travel 40 mins away!
I live on the Lady Young Road. People abandon dogs there often. I have had to get two strays euthanized since living here, both from people-cruelty, half of one's head chopped off. My neighbor when he drinks, walks down our hill, stones my adopted strays. He drinks a lot. I wait 'til he walks past and pelt eggs at his head. In his drunken stupor, he looks up in the trees and curses his chickens resting there.
I wear red suspenders almost every day, and a bowler hat on occasion. It's not a fashion statement. Say someone in Foreign is recommending you for a job, but they forget your name: they may say, "the lady in the red suspenders and bowler hat".
I'm in pre-production for a documentary that follows five persons with various mental illnesses, over a six-month period. This is very important to me, as I once spent a holiday in the pink walls as a teenager, and saw firsthand how people treat those they consider 'mad' with disdain.
I was lucky, I never gave a f--- what people thought, and my family had the means to get me through; but, when I walk through town and talk to those we consider lost causes, I connect to them more than I do 'normal' people; 'cause I know how thin that line is
In my job it's a requirement to be around many people and, in work mode, I relish in this. Out of work situations, I prefer the company of my dog Soldier. He's my emotional seeing-eye dog,
I've worked in a bank as proof-teller, checked containers for a shipping company at night whilst half-heartedly doing marketing at day and managed a bar. All decent-paying gigs that made me groan to wake up for; I wake up thankful every morn now.
I don't want kids although my bio clock ticks periodically. I pick up another stray dog when it does.
I believe that God, whoever it, she or he is, is in all of us. I don't believe in religion at all. I'd like to think there's an afterlife, though. But, since we've kinda f---ed up this Earth enough, maybe we don't deserve second chances at it.
Pedro Almodovar is my favourite filmmaker. Ayn Rand was a favourite author until I learnt she thinks God doesn't exist
I played the part of Maya on the local TV soap opera, Westwood Park. It made me realize I wasn't cut out to be an actor. Too slow-paced, waiting for makeup, lights, etc. But I'm very grateful for that experience which led me into production.
Executive producer Annabelle Alcazar hired me as co-producer of Dubois. I had to hire local crew, source equipment, production companies to rent and barter with, source catering, some locations (one was my house), transport, and troubleshoot on the ground when we started to shoot.
The best thing about co-producing Dubois was working in a production that the work is uppermost, not the egos. The story resonated and [director] Kaz [Ov�] treated it with such brilliance and care. The worst thing was the last day of filming.
This family you've spent time with, no longer exists.
God might be a Trini but a Trini is not God. Any God sanctions basic kindness and humanity to our fellow man but we aren't too kind to the fragile. Somewhere on our path to being First World, we stopped seeing the ones struggling to keep afloat.
Trinidad and Tobago means to me unity. Or at least a hope for it.
Read a longer version of this feature at www.BCRaw.com