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Now in it’s 44th year, the International Film Festival of Rotterdam, running from January 21 to February 1, will be featuring a couple of Caribbean films.

756scaledField Notes
Vashti Harrison
Documentary Short
Trinidad & Tobago | USA

Field Notes is an experimental portrait of the ghosts embedded in the culture of Trinidad and Tobago. The film is structured as a visual and aural field guide to the ghosts, spirits and jumbies througout the island: from personal tales about shape-shifters and bloodsuckers, to the ghosts of Trinidad’s past.

951scaledGod Loves the Fighter
Damian Marcano
Narrative Feature
Trinidad & Tobago | 2013

Raw, realistic take on life in the eastern part of Port of Spain, Trinidad – murder capital of the Caribbean. Young Charlie wants to do the right thing, but has to try and survive this concrete jungle. Good and evil meet on a particular fateful night. Yellow Robin Award winner Curacao IFFR 2014.

Port of Spain in Trinidad is the murder capital of the Caribbean. Someone is murdered every 17 hours, and most of the victims are under 25. God Loves the Fighter realistically portrays what it is like to live in Laventille, one of the most dangerous slums in the world.
Although the subject and style are reminiscent of other slum films such as City of God and Slumdog Millionaire, the grim narrative and the dub reggae soundtrack by Freetown Collective, Q. Major and Redman give the film its own unmistakable style.

Homeless street poet King Curtis is the prophetic, omniscient narrator. He tells the raw, tragic story of Charlie, a young man growing up in Laventille. What he wants most is a good life with an honest job, but his hopeless circumstances nevertheless lead him into a life of crime. When prostitute Dinah crosses his path and desperately needs help, Charlie reaches a crossroads in his life. Prize winner in Curaçao, IFFR 2014.

Watch the trailer:

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About IFFR:
The International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) is an annual film festival held in various cinemas inRotterdam, Netherlands held at the end of January. It is approximately comparable in size to other major European festivals such as Cannes, Venice, Berlin, and Locarno. IFFR also hosts CineMart, for film producers to seek funding.

The first festival — then called ‘Film International’ — was organized in June 1972 under the leadership of Huub Bals. IFFR’s logo is a tiger, loosely based on the M.G.M. lion. From the beginning, the festival has profiled itself as a promoter of alternative, innovative and non-commercial films, with an emphasis on the Far East and developing countries. Around 1983, the festival founded CineMart to serve as a “regular film market,” and later modified the business model to serve instead as a “co-production market”, which helps a selected number of film producers connect with possible co-producers and funders for their film projects.

After the festival founder’s sudden death in 1988, a fund was initiated and named after him (Hubert Bals Fund), used for supporting filmmakers from developing countries.

The non-competitive character of the festival changed in 1995, when the VPRO Tiger Awards were introduced—three yearly prizes for young filmmakers making their first or second film. The next year, Simon Field, formerly Cinema Director at the London Institute of Contemporary Arts, became director of the festival. In 2004 Sandra den Hamer took over as director of the festival, and since September 2007, the leadership is in the hands of Rutger Wolfson. Despite financial difficulties in the mid-1980s, the festival has grown steadily, reaching 353,000 visitors in 2010.

Happy Festivalling!!