With a strong lineup of local and international award-winning and Oscar-nominated features and shorts, the T&T Film Festival is getting ready to launch an action-packed week of films, presentations, industry events, red carpet galas and Awards, beginning this evening at the Central Bank Auditorium with the T&T premiere of the film Play The Devil, set and filmed in Paramin.
The week includes the premieres of four T&T dramas, adaptations of Shakespeare plays–including an all-black cast of King Lear, with British-Trini actor Don Warrington as King Lear, courtesy the British Council. Warrington arrives in Trinidad this week to host acting workshops and participate in Q&As after the screenings.
There are also documentary films and panel discussions on such luminaries as CLR James and Maya Angelou, and a recounting of a major incident at Canada's Sir George Williams University in 1969, involving Trinidadian and other Caribbean students, that led to riots, imprisonment and deportation for many of the students. Events unknown to many in T&T, but that impacted both race relations in Canada and the black power movement in T&T.
According to founder and festival director, Bruce Paddington, the Festival was conceived at a time when there were very few opportunities to view local or Caribbean films, with limited local film production. Its aim therefore was to build an audience for independent and Caribbean cinema and to be a vehicle that helped energise the local film industry.
"Eleven years on, we are proud to be part of a movement that celebrates and promotes the growth of an increasing number of quality local and Caribbean films and to be screening four narrative feature films from T&T. The films–Play the Devil, Cutlass, Tomb and Sanskara–all demonstrate how far the industry has developed."
"We have never had four fiction feature films produced in one year. It's a notable achievement for a developing industry like T&T where funding is a challenge. Their work illustrates the magic our filmmakers can create even with limited budgets and how much more might be possible with greater support from investors and the wider public."
"The four offerings are already causing a stir on the local film scene and are expected to play to sold out audiences during the Festival. And there is a reason for this. Apart from great storylines, cinematic tension and emotional pulls, some feature spectacular cinematography–aerial shots of Trinidad's north coast and the Northern range, with the discerning viewer able to recognise parts of Paramin and Blanchisseuse, among other locations.
Others, like Tomb, help us reimagine ourselves in outer space and way into the 27th century–with people who look and sound like us. The emotional impact of seeing ourselves on the big screen and visioning a future beyond our present realities shouldn't be underestimated. It is and should be a big deal."
"As the curtain raises on this year's Festival, we have sought to ensure that the films reach as wide an audience as possible, through partnerships with UWI, St. Augustine and Costaatt campuses in Port-of-Spain, Chaguanas and San Fernando, as well as venues in Arima and Tobago. The relationship with Costaatt extends beyond screenings, with a series of youth based initiatives including a Future Critics Programme, led by BC Pires and the Ken Gordon School of Journalism and Communications."
"There are numerous individuals, organisations and agencies that contribute to the hosting of our Festival –filmmakers, volunteers, sponsors and partners and of course the viewing public. Each contribution is invaluable and allows us to continue our work in support of Caribbean cinema."
The T&T Film Festival (TTFF) celebrates films from and about the Caribbean and its diaspora, as well as from world cinema, through an annual festival and year-round screenings. In addition, the ttff seeks to facilitate the growth of Caribbean cinema by offering a wide-ranging industry programme and networking opportunities.
The T&T Film Festival is presented by Flow, given leading sponsorship by T&T Film Company Ltd (FilmTT), and supporting sponsorship by RBC Royal Bank, The National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago, Embassy of the United States of America and the Tourism Development Company.
�2For more information, visit ttfilmfestival.com