The Trinidad & Tobago Film Festival is upon again. This year, it will be held from September 20-27, at various venues in Port-of-Spain. We will be missing the Festival this year, but nevertheless, wanted to give you a preview of all of the great Caribbean films being screened there.
Since there are so many films, we’re starting with the shorts. As usual, the Festival is featuring the work of a large number of emerging filmmakers in the shorts categories. Take a look below at the fresh new voices coming out in Caribbean cinema.
Explore the teachings, philosophy and way of life of the Bobo Ashanti, one of the houses of Rastafari, revealed through the voices of the elder members. Filmed in the hills of Jamaica at the Bobo Ashanti camp, the community lives and works together in preparation for repatriation to Africa.
Monty and Bill Howell recall their enchanted childhood in Pinnacle, a unique Rastarfari oasis. Their father, Leonard Howell, known as “The First Rasta” was the first black man to purchase land under the British in 1939. The film reflects on the value of their father’s teachings and provide a moving testimonial of the love and unity in the community created there.
by Aisha Porter-Christie
2015 | 12 mins
Approximately 150 children go missing in Jamaica every month. Each one has a story. Lost Boy tells the story of Peter Clarke, a 12-year- old Jamaican runaway, who sneaks back into to his hometown for what he assumes will be a routine visit with his best friend. Things do not quite go according to plan.
by Nile Saulter and Jeremy Relph
2016 | 6 mins
Everblessed in an exploration of church and dancehall culture in Jamaica; a meditation on the sacred and the profane and the fine line between them.
What if the potomitan woman of the creole imaginary were a man? Benjy is a stay-at-home father by conviction. The family’s daily life is rhymed by his ideological and religious choices.
Two protagonists dressed in a one-piece suit, that covers their eyes and mouth enter into a bar and sit at a table. The reaction of the boss and his clients are surprising. This film captures the rainbow of feelings on people’s faces.
This docu-drama follows Elizabeth who is enthralled by the concept of love and who desires to be in a relationship, but where should she start? What factors influence hetrosexual attraction? Facial Features? Physical appearance? Personality?
It is still illegal to be gay in 70+ countries, including Trinidad and Tobago. Love Is No Crime addresses this current issue, while advocating for change and promoting basic equal rights for all.
Mel tells the story of a young, working class Trinidadian woman, fighting with the demons of her abuse as a child, while trying to survive and take care of her drug addict brother, in a contemporary Trinidadian landscape.
Living Without You
by Anna-Lisa Wickham
Trinidad & Tobago
2016 | 17 mins
Three individuals are forced to learn how to cope with a void, which stemmed from losing a person of significance. Each individual will share their personal experience and ways in which they dealt with their situation, in order to move forward with their own lives.
Good Ole Days
by Ayesha Jordan
Trinidad & Tobago
2015 | 5 mins
An old woman gives a valuable glimpse into the past, as she recalls her experience as a little girl.
A man catalogues a weekend that he spends with the girl of his dreams, showing all the things she does that makes him fall in love with her every time they are together. Does this perfect woman really exist? Or is she just a façade?
by Jamie Lee Loy
Trinidad & Tobago
2015 | 50 mins
Meet 13 young superheroes from Trinidad and Tobago. At a time when their nation and world is in crisis, these young heroes discuss their individual powers, their methods of coping with adversity, and their personal solutions for positive change.
A man goes out to battle a monster that has plagued his village for centuries. Heart of a Monster was filmed in Curaçao with the students of the Instituto Buena Bista.
Like moths to a flame, West Indian boys and grown men engage in a fiery game with their homemade cannons to see who is the loudest and greatest. And like any game of fire, this one sometimes ends in death.
After losing his parents in a car accident, Arshad finds difficulty in coping with his life. Despite the years that have passed by and the support of his older sister Shriya and best friend Riad, he turns to other means to fill this void. One bad choice can lead to a next…and a next…and a next. Is it too late?
Three University students from different walks of life share their experiences of growing up without the presence of their biological father. These students dig deep within, as they reveal how it has affected them.
Identty explores the various aspects of identity through non-indigenous forms of dance that reference Japanese butoh, contextualised in a Trinidadian environment. Does identity become hidden and transformed, and what does it mean in different environments?
As Vanessa jogs past familiar locations, she recalls the bitter-sweet times she had with Darren. If we could only have this life for one more day! If we could only turn back time!
After ten years, internationally acclaimed mas artist, Peter Minshall, reinterprets Mikhail Fokine’s classic ballet The Dying Swan for a ‘Moko Jumbie’ (a stilt dancer) in drag. This film chronicles the assemblage and performance of this mas at the King of Carnival competition in February 2016.
Save The Scene
by Jian Hennings
Trinidad & Tobago
2015 | 26 mins
Save the Scene explores a short period in Trinidad and Tobago’s cultural history where the musical underground was rapidly growing beyond the limitations of the label, where music was created via a desire to create, to comment on social injustices and emotional truths, and when the community supported and often protected the unapologetic music it loved.
Have you ever heard of a harmonium repairman? Balkrishna Pirmal fixes the ‘Chutney Instrument’ with innovation and precision that has made him popular throughout the Caribbean and North America. This is his story.
Jerry is confused about what women want. He uses the conventions of Reality TV and hangs out with three red men, with the hopes of being considered “red” by association. When this does not work, he transforms his dark skin colour and tries again.
The Story is Her features a love triangle between a Hip Hop artiste and two women he works with. This film explores how quickly things can change in a relationship, especially when you do not know the full story.
Two men must work together, after they wake up in a warehouse without any memory of who they are or how they got there.
What goes on behind the closed doors in the Cabinet? Stephen Cadiz talks with candour, humour and humility about the world of the neophyte government minister, who must leave behind the straightforward pragmatism of the businessman for the lobbying and jockeying of the politician, or, as he puts it, the ‘hacking through tall grass’.
John is in a secret romantic relationship with Lorraine who happens to be his best friend’s wife. He finds himself in the closet when Randall makes an unplanned home visit and witnesses Randall kill his wife.This murder reveals a web of hidden details from the past and John becomes a not so innocent bystander.
The sea has been responsible for claiming the lives of many people. This experimental film explores the mystery of the sea, by examining the issue of drowning, but from the observer’s point of view. In turn, the sea “responds” to the perceptions of the observers by giving and account of its mysterious nature.
Small Change focusses on climate change within the Trinidad and Tobago context, with focus on the present state of our local economy, and moves which can be made in the grassroots, private and public sectors to improve the existing state of our environment, while having significant social and economic benefits for the country and people of T&T as well.
Does your name define who you are? In an attempt to find his own identity, Amir goes out on a quest to discover what the names of people across all facets of society mean to them in relation to their identity and sense of self.
Trinidad & Tobago
2015 | 6 mins
As Nailah disposes the ashes of her father, she recalls the telephone conversations she had with him and reflects on their estranged relationship that was filled with broken promises. She seeks to finally move on, releasing her father in death, to relieve his absence in her life.
Heather Weir is a person who has identity challenges but is willing to accept other people’s identities as they are presented to her on the internet. Heather’s innocence has consequences.
Panomundo Part 1: The Evolution of the Steelpan
by Charysse Tia Harper and Keith Musaman Morton
Trinidad & Tobago
2015 | 42 mins
Slavery may have been the catalyst, but culture and passion formed this sound in Trinidad and Tobago. The first section of this two-part film highlights the precursors of the steelpan and the creation of the instrument until it gained international recognition in Britain in 1951. Interviews from steelpan legends, such as Ellie Mannette, Sterling Betancourt, Cliff Alexis and Ray Holman, are included.
The Nowarian is an artistic, solemn and nostalgic character piece about a young boy, and his introspective journey as he tries to get a grip on his life and embraces his existence.
by Joanne Haynes and Ka’en Haynes
Trinidad & Tobago
2015 | 35 mins
Comprising five shorts inspired by legends and history of Trinidad and raises the issue of history’s misinterpretation of Caribbean people, Legends explores the re-imagining of storytelling in a modern world and makes the statement that legends are a people’s creative history.
by Kyle Mitchell
Trinidad & Tobago
2016 | 20 mins
John Agitation is a ‘superstar’ of comedy in Trinidad and Tobago, and is considered to be the first stand-up comedian in the local arena. Get into the mind of this local legend as he recounts his past and about an unfortunate incident, which forced him to relocate from the community he knew and loved.
This is a love story about a criminal who falls in love with a female filmmaker who wants to make a documentary about him. After he comes to terms with the life he is leading, he wants to change his way of life.
Bruno, a young fisherman struggles against the deadly pesticide chlordecone and the invasion of sargasso. He is determined to live his passion and make it as a fisherman in Guadeloupe in spite of his wife’s doubts and the bleak perspective of reconversion offered by the government.
The Caribbean, more than a melting pot, a magical womb where cultures nurture each other like nowhere else in the world; where a Trinidadian of African descent can become a master of Indian Dance, where Tassa rhymes with Gwo Ka on a Diwali night.
Lili crosses Guadeloupe’s Grande-Terre on her moped navigating through cane fields and banana plantations, trying to find the church that she is to get married in. Time is going against her.
Carifesta is the Caribbean’s greatest cultural event, a huge roving multi disciplinary festival. The latest edition of this mythical event took place in a country that is just as mythical, Haiti, the first black republic, which stands as a symbol of freedom for oppressed people all around the world. To attend this exceptional event, Guadeloupe gathered an impressive delegation to present the best of its Arts and traditions.
10-year- old Lucius has grown attached to his little pig Rico. On overhearing his parents’ plan to kill Rico for Christmas dinner, he goes on a mission to prevent this traditional sacrifice from happening.
When the first Europeans discovered the Lesser Antilles archipelago, people had been living there for 2000 years. Anthropologist, Vanessa Demircyan embarks on a journey of discovery through the islands in search of their fingerprint.
J0.hn, an emotionless and regulated citizen of “The City” awakes on a deserted island 10,000 miles away from any civilisation. Equipped with the R3G a symbiotic watch ruled by a very advanced A.I that regulates and keeps him indefinitely ‘operational’. J0.hn starts to plan his own rescue but things get radically complicated.
by Juliana Gómez
2015 | 27 mins
In the absence of her daughter, Teresa, a fisherwoman in her sixties, lives between mourning her mother and raising her granddaughter who goes to a boarding school. She goes fishing every day with a makeshift raft with Diana, her dog and only companion.
Rosa spends her time with her turtle in Havana. To celebrate her birthday, she bakes a cake, dresses up and invites people over, in order to share a single moment with her relatives who live in Miami.
Immigrants from the Cayman Islands were settled in Cocodrilo a hundred years ago. This film examines the lives of the people who still live in this small village, with one foot already in Cuba and the other in the ocean.
Ibis has made her home amongst the debris of a ruined building. Her story led filmmaker Roya to a mysterious tree growing on the fifth floor of this abandoned place. This tree captures Roya’s curiosity, as she tries to uncover its mystery.
H2O highlights the impact of water sources and management. Water, essential to all life and its management, plays a pivotal part in the physical and environmental well-being of all living things.
This is the story of one-handed, yet physically unchallenged Igna, an unassuming single father of four, volunteer teacher, marine environment activist and Dominica’s best boat mechanic.
Xavi has a great surprise that he cannot wait to share with his girlfriend Gina. He endures a hellish afternoon as he runs into a number of obstacles before he can deliver the awesome news.
by Alejandro D. Orengo Colon
2015 | 5 mins
Nueva Yorkino explores the voyage of a Puerto Rican photographer to New York for the first time. He tries his best to enjoy and take the whole experience in, but his troubled past makes it difficult for him to look ahead to his future.
It has been ten years since the seed of the Artists’ Institute has been planted in Jacmel. Rév takes an intimate look at three young graduates of the Ciné Institute, Haiti’s only film school, as they reflect on their past, future and relationship with art.
From inside the Prime Minister’s office to St. Lucia’s most economically-depressed town, this documentary explores the issue of violence against women. Is there a link with the Caribbean’s colonial past?
by Rosanne Ma
2015 | 9 mins
Welcoming Arms follows 92-year- old Johnny, whose mission is to spread happiness. He has been blowing kisses to traffic 6 hours a day, 5 days a week for 30 years. Hear the unique perspectives from young children around the area.
When the Lionfish Came counters the paradisaical view of the Bahamas. It explores the parity in exploitation between the population and the natural environment in the face of climate change and neocolonialism.
Next up, will be the Features. Happy Festivalling!!