The Piton Film Festival, will be held this year, September 5 – 7, in St. Lucia.  A part of the Ocktober Film Festival, this year’s festival is being held in conjunction with Sisters in Harmony and Audiovisual and Film Association.  The organizers include Emelyn Stuart, Founder of Ocktober Film Festival, Dr. Kathleen E. Walls, and Brother Umoja, Founder of Sisters in Harmony.

Now let’s take a look at the Caribbean films in this year’s Festival:

21 Days
by Dale Elliott
Narrative Feature
St. Lucia | 2013

“21 Days,” is based on the true story of six young fishermen who left Gros Islet fishing village in St. Lucia, on a routine fishing expedition in 1985.  Within hours they were in a fight for their life aboard “In God we Trust” but then simply vanished.

Check out the trailer below:

Nana’s Paradise
by Mathurine Emmanuel
Narrative Feature
St. Lucia

A young man over-comes extreme poverty, a dysfunctional home, peer ridicule, and death in his family to embark on an epic journey that takes him to England on an island scholarship. There he overcomes cultural shock, the bitter London cold and homesickness to return home triumphantly and do right by his mother, Nana, who, facing desperate poverty, spousal abuse and infidelity, was single- handedly responsible for holding her family together.

Nana’s Paradise is a testament to the strength, resilience, and triumph of the human spirit over all odds. Joy and laughter come with equal doses of pain and sadness. The movie will make you weep, laugh and celebrate all at the same time.

Although Nana’s Paradise includes heart felt performances by Keddy Emmanuel, comical, exuberant and moving performances Eli Kelvin Peters, Rebecca Chitolie, Shannice Louis, and Nicole Augustin; and strong performances by John Philipson it is Mathurine Emmanuel’s dramatic flair and mesmerizing performance that bind the movietogether and set it apart as one of a kind.

For more information on Mathurine and her work, visit her website: Iyanola Pictures.  Check out the trailer here:

Mas Man
by Dalton Narine
Documentary Feature
Trinidad & Tobago

Peter Minshall awakens topics about modern humanity that not only display a curious slant in art but also inform audiences that are privileged to discern his work, whether in the annual Carnival in Trinidad or through appearances around the world.

The film celebrates three decades of Minshall’s Mas (not to be confused with masquerade, for Mas hews more to the inventiveness of mobile street theater than simply dressing up). And the work feasts on an anthology of provocative themes, largely about evil and good – for example, the Seven Deadly Sins, mirrored in the incompleteness of man.

Minshall populates such presentations with 2,500 or so players who are willing to pay to perform to the beat of soca rhythms and East Indian drums as they transport his satirical outlook on life through the streets of Port of Spain, Trinidad’s capital city.

By mingling traditional craft with novel ideas and exhibiting his themes as upper crust art during the two-day pre-Lenten festival, Minshall eventually lands a global platform for his theatrics. He is named an artistic director for the Opening Ceremonies of the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona. Four years later, Minshall reprises his role in Atlanta, and yet again at the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City, for which he earned an Emmy.
Art has its share of uncredited heroes, and ‘Mas Man’ assesses the heft of a Caribbean artist’s refreshing point of view about the perils of man and his environment – as well Minshall’s display of craftsmanship and expertise in the Olympic stadium.

Check out the trailer:

The Folk was in Me
by Nadge Augustin
Documentary Feature
St. Lucia

All to the jaunty rhythms of traditional St Lucian folk tunes, THE FOLK WAS IN ME is a Music & Dance documentary that captures the earthy energies of Caribbean Creole music and celebrates the lively and intricate flair of the dances that are animated by that music. Focusing on the life story of folk band leader, Charley Julien, and drawing on the rich colors of St Lucia’s tropical landscape this educational film provides a lyrically visual introduction into the Culture, History, and Spirit of a Caribbean people.

Check out the trailer:

Poetry is an Island: Derek Walcott
by Ida Does
Documentary Feature
St. Lucia

Derek Walcott, Poetry is an island, is a feature documentary film about Nobel laureate, poet, playwright, and visual artist, Derek Alton Walcott (1930). The film depicts an intimate portrait of Walcott, as we visit his art studio, his childhood home, and his current residence in St. Lucia. It also includes exclusive archive material from the Nobel Prize Festivities in 1992. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, this film is about Walcott’s poetry.

For more information on the film, visit the website.  Check out the trailer:

The short films include:

Star Boy – Tilsa Wright (Jamaica)
Star Boy Cricket wicket he knows how to stick it. Hmm, why fight when you can share? This video is a promotional excerpt from self published author Tilsa Wright three part book series, which are available on kindle and Amazon. Young budding animator and film director Stephen Williamson is based in Jamaica, and represents Big Bomb Films. We are pleased to feature rising stars like Carla Moore, Garth Williams,

The Fruit of Life – Jelani Paul (St. Lucia)
The Fruit Of Life is a fictional short film based upon a young girl; Miracle, who has received the gift of her great grandfather’s plans for his Coconut Processing Plant. Miracle’s grandmother Ashia, carries her along a story based journey which enriches her with strength, wisdom, and perseverance. These three words keep Miracle grounded as she presents her compelling story to a group of investors.

The Mango Tree – Ted Sandiford (St. Lucia)
Two young boys set out to steal mangoes in a neighbour’s tree but they soon realize that they got more surprises than just delicious mangoes…..

The Numbers – Darnel John (St. Lucia)
A young lady answers a misplaced cell phone on a public bus and gets into more than she bargained. A 15 minute 16mm short film written and directed by Darnel K. John, starring Chyna Layne and Terron Jones.

No Soca No Life – Glenford Adams (Trinidad & Tobago)
OLIVIA is a teenage girl from an impoverished community with a fabulous sining voice, honed in the church choir. When she decides to use her voice to sing soca, however, Olivia must face many hurdles – not least of all a stiff opposition from her mother.  Starring: Terri Lyons, Penelope Spencer, Jaime Lee Phillips, Michael Cherri, Chris Starr and Kearn Samuel.

Egress – Sean Field (Barbados)
Elliot Bishop is a homeless man searching for hope in a world that doesn’t know he exists. He’s given up all he has except for distant memories of happier times. From the coffeeshop, to the sidewalk, to the cemetery, the City is Elliot’s stomping ground. There is no navigation system to guide him through hunger and self-doubt, all he can do is continue to sharpen his skills and strengthen his resolve as he prepares for the challenge of his lifetime. Egress is a story of a man forced to evolve from his past to transcend the painful sacrifice of the present so he can bravely grasp the opportunity to create his future.  Starring: Sean Michael Field, Michelle Glick, Addison LeMay, Komal Kapoor, Ozzie Stewart and Donna Ross.

For ticketing and more information, visit the Festival’s website.

Happy Festivalling!!