The third annual Curaçao International Film Festival Rotterdam, will be held this year in Curaçao, from Apr 2 -6.  In addition to the films being screened, the Festival will also feature the Yellow Robin Competition, Award Show and Surprise Movie, Phi Phenomenon: Vintage Film Cameras and Projectors Exhibit, the Curaçao IFFR Film Quiz, Movie in Concert and a Kids Only workshop.

Yellow Robin Award:
With this competition, Curaçao IFFR intends to offer a hospitable platform for new films and filmmakers. In cooperation with IFFR, the Netherlands, and in cooperation with several regional film festivals and institutions it aims to encourage, support, and contribute to the careers of talented beginning filmmakers from the region.  The winner of the Yellow Robin Award competition will receive US$ 10,000.- as well as priority access to one of the relevant IFFR activities, such as CineMart, Rotterdam Lab or a special screening at the festival.

Three Caribbean films were selected to participate in this year’s competition:

abo soAbo So
by Francisco Pardo

The musical film ‘Abo So’ (Only You) tells the story of Tatiana (Raphaela Mahadeo), an intelligent, conservative, young woman who moves with her mother and brother to their aunt’s house in the neighborhood, ‘Seroe Patrishi’. There, she meets Santiago (Miguel Genser), a quirky young man of Latin origin, who can’t take Tatiana’s Diva attitude.  Yet secrets are revealed. They discover compassion for one another out of which a beautiful love grows. This almost impossible love will force them through different tests.

For more information, visit the film’s website and FB page.  Watch the trailer here:

gltfGod Loves the Fighter
by Damian Marcano
Trinidad & Tobago

King Curtis, a vagrant on the streets of Port of Spain, is constantly ignored by passersby. He speaks and if he has to – sometimes shouts the truth about the stories behind the newspaper headlines. As the conductor of our story, King Curtis introduces us to a young man named Charlie… Charlie, a resident east of the lighthouse, is trying his best to stay on the right path. However, with no job in sight, he is finding it hard to say no to other “opportunities”. A chance of redemption presents itself when Dinah, a professional streetwalker, crosses his path in need of help. As the story unfolds, King Curtis reveals the ripple effect created by a person’s decision making; leading to moments of triumph and moments of tragedy.

For more information, visit the film’s website and FB page.  Watch the trailer here:

Other Caribbean films at this year’s Festival

children of godChildren of God
by Kareem Mortimer
The Bahamas

Set against the backdrop of a nation grappling with violent homophobic crime and offering a scathing examination of the underlying hatred for gays rampant in Caribbean societies, Bahamian Kareem Mortimer’s debut narrative feature tells the stories of three very different individuals: Lena, the conservative, deeply religious wife of a secretly gay firebrand pastor; Romeo, a handsome young black man hiding his sexuality from his close-knit and loving family; and Jonny, the conflicted and creatively-blocked white artist in search of himself. All three head for the spectacularly beautiful and tranquil island of Eleuthera, each with a different reason for escaping current circumstances. Soon, their disparate worlds collide in unexpected and affecting ways. This uncommon portrayal of love, loneliness, tolerance, secrets and self-acceptance takes viewers on a poignant multifaceted journey that is enlightening, courageous, and disquieting all at the same time, and which shocks to the very core with its startling conclusion.

For more information, visit the film’s website and FB page.  Watch the trailer here:

ghetta lifeGhett’a Life
by Chris Browne

Derrick, a ghetto teenager, dreams of being Jamaica’s next world boxing champion but politics and tribal violence get in his way. His father, a loyal party supporter, forbids him from going to the boxing gym situated in a rival part of town. Derrick defiantly follows his heart but is confronted by the local “don” who threatens his family. Derrick refuses to give up and the ignorance of divisiveness soon give way to the triumph of unity.

For more information, visit the film’s  FB page.  Watch the trailer here:

forward everForward Ever
by Bruce Paddington
Trinidad & Tobago

The 1983 US-led invasion Grenada was criticised widely. The United Nations (UN) called for a cessation of the ‘armed intervention’. While, the UN Security Council stated that it ‘deeply deplores the armed intervention in Grenada, which statutes a flagrant violation of international law.’  The invasion echoed around the world and ended a unique experiment in Caribbean politics. What were the circumstances that led to this extraordinary chain of events? This comprehensive, gripping and revealing documentary tells the story of the Grenada revolution as never before. The film features extensive, previously unseen file footage, as well as old and new interviews with many of the key players of the time.  This comprehensive, gripping and revealing documentary features extensive, previously unseen file footage and tells the story of the Grenada revolution as never before.

For more information, visit the film’s FB page.  Watch the trailer here:

by Yao Ramesar
Trinidad & Tobago

SistaGod is a poetic film (almost no dialogue) and tells the story of Mari, the “SistaGod ‘from the title. She is the daughter of a wounded U.S. Marine and a black nurse, and grew up in Trinidad with her Hindustani nan, her adoptieoma.

As a young girl she beats death after eating poisonous berries. Since then she has prophetic dreams. Her mother is convinced that Mari is possessed by the devil and arranges an exorcism. Then Mari is pregnant. Her mother pulls her white cotton babydoll costume, complete with white mask to hide her. Shame The suit, one of the traditional figures of the carnival in Trinidad, changes in SistaGod Mari, a goddess with destructive forces.  The enchanting voice-over, the expressive music and traditional Orishaliederen sung by Ella and all contribute to a magical and highly visual narrative. The impressive lock there is a key role for the Carnival in Trinidad and Tobago.

Watch the trailer here:

Award Show and Surprise Movie:
The Award Show will be held on Saturday 5 April.  The winners of the Yellow Robin Award 2014, the Audience Award 2014 of the Short Movies, BIG Stories competition will be announced.  The Award Show will be immediately followed by a screening of the Surprise Film.

Phi Phenomenon: Vintage Film Cameras and Projectors:
This year’s exhibit presents another treasure from the private collection of photographic equipment of the late Dr Michel van Veldhoven: movies cameras, projectors, and editing equipment dating from the early 1920s to the 1980s. It also shows the progress of moving pictures from cartoon figures that move with the help of a modern day zoetrope and includes short films of various periods taken on Curaçao dating from 1903-1970s.

As a special attraction, the room adjacent to the exhibit is setup as small theatre continuously screening four films by Frank and Tita M. Chumaceiro taken between 1951 and 1961 under the name of Curafilm. Feel free to drop in any time during opening hours.

Films to be shown are:

  • Babalú (Un fantasía riba emancipacion) (1952), a dance interpretation of the emancipation filmed at Santa Barbara
  • Music and Dances of Curaçao (1952), commissioned by the Curaçao Tourist Commission showing the tambú – filmed at San Pedro, the seú – filmed in Barber, Ka’i orgel, Edgar Palm on the piano, Boskaljon’s Curaçao Symphony Orchestra and others
  • Rots en Water (1956) about Curaçaos natural beauty with some unique and forgotten scenes of old Curaçao 
  • Cura Hits (1961), a selection of 12 local artists including Pierre Lauffer reciting his ‘Laman di Nort’.

Movie in Concert:
On the evening of Friday April 4, there will be a return to the era of silent film with the screening of Charlie Chaplin’s classic short film The Vagabond, accompanied by Dennis Aalse’s Youth Orchestra: a “Movie in Concert’ in the open air.

Happy Festivalling!!!