March / July 2014 ↘ “Grown Girls Getaway” filming on location at Maracas Bay.
From left: Garcelle Beauvais, Malinda Williams, Frances De Lancey, and Essence Atkins. At the camera is Director Roger Bobb.
the screener what’s inside 2.Grown Girls Getaway 4.Local Talent on Grown Girls Getaway 5.Rebate Cap Increase 6.Smartphone Film Festival Winners 8.TTFC Reps at Tradeshow in LA 9.TTFC Networks with International Markets 10.TTFC Sends Filmmakers Abroad for Development 12.T&T Films Travel to Africa, US, Caribbean www.trinidadandtobagofilm.com ↖ March - July 2014 13.TTFC Facilitates International Crews 14.TV Pilot Call 15.SSSFF
↘When Hollywood actor Garcelle
T&T Shines in “Grown Girls Getaway”
Beauvais tweets a picture of a rainbow over Maracas Bay accompanied by the words, “A magical moment on set today #trinidad #gggetaway #blessed,” it’s worth its weight in gold.
SHE SIMULTANEOUSLY POSTED THE PHOTO ON THE SOCIAL MEDIA SITE FACEBOOK, WHERE IT GOT OVER 19,000 “LIKES” AND WAS SHARED OVER 845 TIMES—MEANING AT LEAST THAT NUMBER OF PEOPLE SAW THE PHOTO ON THEIR COMPUTERS OR DEVICES, AND SHARED IT ON THEIR OWN FACEBOOK PAGES. IN EFFECT, IT GAVE TRINIDAD’S FILM INDUSTRY A COURTESY TRIP AROUND THE WORLD VIA SOCIAL MEDIA.
as Bay. ion at Marac ing on locat Lancey, Getaway” film s, Frances De rls am Gi illi W wn a ro ↗ “G Malind . is, bb va Bo au r Be ge rcelle Director Ro From left: Ga e camera is Atkins. At th and Essence
actor Franc e
s De L
↗ Malinda Williams, Garcelle Beauvais, Essence Atkins and Frances De Lancey.
T&T Shines in “Grown Girls Getaway”
March - July 2014 ↗
It’s one of the payoffs of having a Hollywood movie filmed in Trinidad and Tobago. Beauvais, of TV’s “Franklin and Bash” and “The Jamie Foxx Show”, to name two of her many projects, was in T&T to film “Grown Girls Getaway”, a movie directed by Roger Bobb and produced by Angi Bones. T&T’s Lisa Wickham of Imagine Media International is its local producer. The production was filmed on location in Trinidad in June. Other US cast members included Terri Vaughn (“The Steve Harvey Show”), Malinda Willams (“Soul Food”) and Essence Atkins (“Smart Guy”). But Tweets and Facebook posts from Hollywood stars aren’t all that film productions bring to this country. The film generated income for dozens of people in transportation, catering, styling and hospitality, among other satellite industries that supplied the production. It also brought employment opportunities with resume-building power for local film industry professionals such Sheldon Felix, who is
the film’s director of photography, his first time in the role on a US production. Half of the crew was from T&T and although unfamiliar with some equipment on the shoot they were gung-ho and adaptable.
“GUYS WERE LEARNING ON THE SPOT,” FELIX SAID, AFTER WRAPPING A DAY OF FILMING AT MARACAS BAY. “THAT IS A GOOD THING. AT THE END OF THE DAY WE’LL BE BETTER PREPARED FOR THE NEXT BIG FILM THAT COMES DOWN HERE. “For me I take it as a responsibility I have… we control how we look and what we put out to the world.” Roger Bobb, CEO of Bobbcat Productions, an Atlanta-based company, met with representatives of the Trinidad and Tobago Film Company (TTFC) during the AFCI Locations Show in Los Angeles, California, in March, 2014. T&T wooed him to these shores with the cash back rebate programme,
which promises a maximum of 55 per cent back of money spent on certain production expenses in this country. Bobb said, “One the things I’ve been impressed with is the local talent. Every single one of the actresses we cast here—we had about ten speaking roles [for local actors]— they all did a great job.” One of those actors was Frances De Lancey, who played the character of “Ruth” in “Grown Girls Getaway”. De Lancey graduated from UWI last year with a Bachelor’s in Theatre and will start a Master’s in Cultural Studies in September. She also plans on doing an MFA in Directing, and said the experience of acting in this film had whetted her appetite for more film work. The TTFC facilitated the production, providing assistance with equipment and baggage clearance through Customs and Excise; Immigration assistance in getting work permits for crew staying longer than 30 days; and placed interns on the set. ▪
↘ At the TTFC cocktail reception for the cast and crew of “Grown Girls Getaway”, at the Hilton Trinidad. From left: TTFC CEO Carla Foderingham, Garcelle Beauvais, TTFC Chairman Dr Christopher Laird, Malinda Williams, director Roger Bobb, producer Lisa Wickham, Essence Atkins and Terri J Vaughn.
↖ March 2014 March - July 2014 - July
T&T Shines in “Grown Girls Getaway” Title
Local Talent on “Grown Girls Getaway”
↘ How did you come about being
cast in Grown Girls Getaway (GGG)? There was a casting call posted to Instagram for the role ‘Ruth,’ the character was described as “23-25 yrs old, very slim, 5’6-6’2, she engages in conflict and jealousy but is always dressed to impress.” A friend of mine tagged me in the post, I’m hoping the dressed to impress part is what made her think of me. That very same day I attended the audition and a week later I had a nerve wrenching, anxiety triggering ‘call back’ then I got the part. I was extremely excited due to this being the first film role I’ve auditioned for although I knew absolutely nothing about the movie. Only when we had our first reading I realised the scale of the production and the star studded cast I’d have the pleasure of working with. How did the experience of Grown Girls Getaway change how you utilise your craft? My area of focus is theatre, mainly directing as I am the holder of a BA Theatre Arts, UWI. As this was my first time working on a film set which I enjoyed thoroughly, I will definitely be pursuing more acting opportunities in film while retaining my absolute love and appreciation for the stage.
↗ Frances De Lancey Photography by Payton Jessus Smith - Jessus Photography; Make-up Artist, Onika Edwards.
Where do you see the future of the local film industry in 10years? I see it attracting more foreign film productions through government incentives such as tax holidays and encouraging local film production through grants etc. What do you think are some of the challenges for actors in the local film industry? From working with more seasoned local film actors I’ve learnt work is very sporadic and most of which are on a connection or word of mouth basis. When opportunities do occur its either free work or with very little pay which lends to the lack of a union or organization to establish certain standards.
Local Talent on Grown Girls Getaway
March - July 2014 ↗
How did you decide this would be the career you want to pursue? The moment I realised I was incredibly talented and didn’t want to spend my career stagnant doing something I don’t enjoy merely for a stable income. The worst enemy of creativity is doubt, I’ve always been very brave and with the support of my family I was able to explore opportunities finding my niche in the arts. What recommendation do you give for future film actors? Whatever you wish to do, study your craft first. Regardless of how naturally talented you may be, nothing beats professional training which puts you a cut above the rest. It showed in my work ethic on set and ability to handle tasks using techniques that were cultivated during the course of my degree and other workshops. What was your most memorable moment on set of GGG? Our very last day of shooting was a party scene where I was involved in a dancing competition. Now as Trinidadians, dancing comes naturally to us. We don’t just hear music we feel music, rhythms and vibrations as part of who we are. Being put on a stage and asked to dance, more so ‘wine’ on cue without any build-up or as we would say “vybz” I felt like a one legged ostrich. It was terribly awkward and everyone was thinking “yea she’s warming up” meanwhile I’m there giving it my best effort to no avail. I eventually got over it and did what I had to do. When the movie premiers I will definitely be watching that scene through the cracks of my fingers. ▪
Cap on cash rebate goes up to TT $ 51m ↘Cabinet has approved an increase in the cap on Trinidad
and Tobago’s signature cash-back film production rebate program. Productions can now receive rebates on qualifying local expenditure of up to US $8 million—TT $51.2 million an increase of US $5 million over the previous cap. The total available rebate, administered by the Trinidad and Tobago Film Company (TTFC), has also been raised. Now, up to 55 per cent of money spent in this country during production may be rebated to producers. The cash rebate
↖ 2014 March - July
is available to productions doing principal photography in Trinidad and Tobago. Previously, productions were entitled to apply for a 35 per cent rebate if they did principal photography here, and an additional 15 per cent if they hired local cast and crew in key positions. Now there is a rebate of 20 per cent available for hiring locals in key cast and crew positions. The TTFC said the increased rebate offer was designed to accommodate bigger budgeted productions, which TTFC is already starting to attract. For more information, go to: wwwtrinidadandtobagofilm.com. ▪ Cap on Cash Rebate goes up to TT $ 51m
Newcomers Win T&T Smartphone Film Fest ↘Two brand new filmmakers took
top prizes in the Trinidad and Tobago Film Company (TTFC) inaugural Smartphone Film Festival Awards on May 9, 2014, at the Little Carib Theatre. The competition was co-sponsored by the TTFC, Digicel and the Trinidad and Tobago Transparency Institute. All films submitted had to have been filmed using only a phone or tablet device, although filmmakers were able to do editing on other platforms. Filmmakers could also use equipment such as external mics and tripods. The films had to be no more than five minutes long, including titles and credits. First-time filmmaker Robert Evelyn took home the top prize for his five-minute drama, “Pressure”. He filmed it with an iPhone.
↗ From left: Trinidad and Tobago Smartphone Film Festival 2014 second prize winner Rishma Hansil, Trinidad and Tobago Transparency Institute Vice Chairman Dion Abdool, first prize winner Robert Evelyn, Trinidad and Tobago Film Company Chairman Christopher Laird, Mario Granger (representing People’s Choice Award winner Annastasia Marchan), Digicel Trinidad and Tobago Sponsorship & Strategic Partnership Manager Wendy Alleyne, McCleish Haynes (representing People’s Choice Award winner Annastasia Marchan), and third prize winner Yunus Kerr.
↘ From left: Trinidad and Tobago Smartphone Film Festival 2014 first prize winner Robert Evelyn, Mario Granger (representing People’s Choice Award winner Annastasia Marchan), second prize winner Rishma Hansil, McCleish Haynes (representing People’s Choice Award winner Annastasia Marchan), and third prize winner Yunus Kerr.
“I’m happy with the outcome,” Evelyn said via e-mail. Sounding like many a filmmaker or artist, he added, “Of course I have my little grievances, things which I wish I had done differently.” His comedic short showed the frantic protagonist running out of the water at a beach in Tobago and overcoming all kinds of obstacles to reach his goal.
Newcomers Win T&T Smartphone Film Fest
March - July 2014 ↗
Evelyn said he used Filmic Pro, a film making app, which enabled him to adjust his exposure, focus and white balance, and handle other aspects of videography on his phone.
good lighting was a requirement for clean and sharp video.”She learned from the process, however.
As the winner of the festival, he won a new smartphone, a digital camera and a tripod in his prize package—and he plans to continue to make films, he said. Four films were awarded during the ceremony. Second place went to Rishma Hansil’s “Oil in the Mangrove”; third place to Yunus Kerr’s “ObeeEgg”. An independent panel judged the films on the criteria of story, cinematography, acting, and sound.
“IT SHOWED THAT A GOOD SMARTPHONE, SUCH AS THE IPHONE 5/ SAMSUNG S4, COULD BE USED AS AN ALTERNATIVE SOLUTION FOR SHORT CLIPS IN A FILM. AREAS IN WHICH THE CAMERA MAY NOT BE ABLE TO FIT, THE SMARTPHONE CAN FILL THE GAP FOR.”
The People’s Choice Award went to Annastasia Marchan’s “Time to Wake Up”; viewers voted on YouTube for that award. Marchan said via e-mail that she heard about the competition in a newspaper adverstisement and entered with the film made by her company Robust Productions. “It was somewhat difficult to move from having full control of camera lens and moving to a single lens to tell the story,” she noted, of the transition between a conventional camera and a smartphone, adding, “the inability to capture audio directly into the phone resulted in loss of time to produce the video. Additionally,
Marchan said the entry allowed her “to be able to share values in which we live by through the use of a short film”. The competition’s themes were: Ethics, Building T&T, the Environment, T&T Culture, No to Violence and Crime, and No to Discrimination. The winner of the special prize in the Ethics category, Yunus Kerr’s “ObeeEgg”, spun off the biblical parable of the good servant but put a quirky, humorous twist on it. The film took third place in the overall competition. Kerr, another first-time filmmaker, said he had caught the movie bug after acting in a community film.
↖ 2014 March - July
“This was like stepping into a new arena for me, so most of what I learnt during this time was new insight. I realise now that it takes a lot more to do a film than I thought,” he wrote in an e-mail response to interview questions. Kerr, a welder by trade, said he had heard about the Smartphone Film Festival through a friend who had also entered. Though he didn’t take home the top honour, Kerr plans to continue to make movies. “I can’t stop. I love telling stories and would love to tell some stories in film.” The festival attracted 41 entries using stop-motion animation, comedic and dramatic as well as documentary filmmaking styles. The second place film, Rishma Hansil’s “Oil in the Mangrove”, looked at the effects of the recent oil spill on the Otaheite Swamp, South Oropouche. It showed oil coating the roots of the trees as oyster, conch and crab fisherfolk talked about the deadly effects of the spill on the nurseries in the mangrove. The Trinidad and Tobago Film Company intends to open the call for submissions for the 2015 Smartphone Film Festival in October 2014. ▪
Newcomers Win T&T Smartphone Film Fest
Film Company reps T&T at Locations Trade Show in LA ↘In show business, the Association of Film
Commissioners International (AFCI) Locations Trade Show is a big thing. It’s where film commissioners from all over the globe go to meet, to wheel and deal, and to pitch their locations as the best in the world. In 2014, the Trinidad and Tobago Film Company (TTFC) was there. The company went to represent this country’s diverse landscapes to what AFCI’s Web site describes as “thousands of filmmakers, executives, entrepreneurs, media, and creative professionals” who attend AFCI for face-to-face access to the most experienced film commissioners around the world.
↗ From left: TTFC’s Marketing Officer Raycy Rosseau, Board member Barry Bidaisie, T&T-born US film producer G. Anthony Joseph and Imagine Media CEO Lisa Wickham at the TTFC booth at the AFCI Locations Show in Los Angeles, March 2014.
The trade show took place in Los Angeles from March 27-29. Using its booth as a launch pad to distribute material on T&T locations and the attractive cash rebate this country offers to qualifying productions, the TTFC presented bold new branding that emphasized the diversity of our nation’s landscape. As the new branding emphasizes, Trinidad and Tobago can be used as a location double for other Caribbean islands, Vietnam, South America and parts of India. It boasts modern cityscapes, sandy beaches and picturesque rustic locations. TTFC’s Locations Trade Show booth also served as a base from which the TTFC could meet and greet international industry professionals.
↗ Casting director Jerry Wolf, TTFC CEO Carla Foderingham d TTFC Board member Barry Bidaisie.
During its five-day visit to Los Angeles, TTFC conducted business meetings with major North American studios Universal and Fox. The company also met with independent US film and TV producers. The TTFC facilitates this country’s unique film making incentives programme, which offers up to 55 percent cash back to productions that film principal photography in this country and use local cast and crew in key positions. While other countries and states may offer tax benefits, the T&T rebate is in cash, which makes it highly appealing to producers. AFCI Locations is an annual trade show with an attendance of some 3,000 delegates. The organisation has members from every continent except Antarctica. ▪
Film Company reps T&T at Locations Trade Show in LA
↗ TTFC board member Barry Bidaisie and Imagine Media CEO Lisa Wickham pose with attendees of the 2014 AFCI Locations Show in Los Angels, California.
March - July 2014 ↗
The Trinidad and Tobago Film Company’s (TTFC) April 2014 trip to MIPTV and MIPCOM, an international TV exposition in France, has garnered promising returns. ↘Film Company CEO Carla Foderingham reported to a
group of T&T TV and film producers on April 16 that the trip had provided opportunities to discuss co-productions with French companies, as well as opportunities for the broadcast of T&T content on French and Diaspora channels. Judy Alcantara, Sean Hodgkinson, and Paolo Kernahan were some of the industry professionals who attended the meeting at the TTFC offices in Port-of-Spain, at which Foderingham briefed them on the results of the trip to the expo.
THE MIPTV AND MIPCOM EXPO IS THE BIGGEST SHOWCASE AND MARKETPLACE FOR MULTI-FORMAT TV CONTENT IN THE WORLD. THE ANNUAL SHOWCASE, WHICH TOOK PLACE AT CANNES, FRANCE, FROM APRIL 7-10, BROUGHT TOGETHER OVER 11,000 PARTICIPANTS FROM 100 COUNTRIES. THE TTFC REPRESENTED OUR AUDIOVISUAL INDUSTRY AT A CARIBBEAN FILM PAVILION AT THE EVENT. Some of the highlights of the trip were meetings with representatives of the French national organisations, Centre National du Cinéma et de l’Image animée (CNC), and TV France International; and TV channels Canal + Overseas, Terra Terra, TV5 Monde, France 5, Trace TV, L’Enorme TV and France Ô. TTFC also met with producers the AB Groupe and CAPA. Representing CNC, Elsa Comby, Head of the Exportation department, explained during a meeting in France how the CNC operates in its co-productions, which it currently
↖ 2014 March - July
has with some 50 countries. In a co-production, two countries co-operate in the production of a project. Such initiatives are useful not only for funding projects, but for films and TV shows to gain access to new markets. For example, TV5 Monde will only air French productions or co-productions, the TTFC found. Canal + Overseas, an offshoot of a leading French channel, will launch its new African Channel in September 2014, and is looking for Afro-Caribbean content. This was indicated by François Deplanck, Programmes Director of Canal + Overseas in a meeting at MIPTV. The channel operates CANALSAT outside of Europe, covering more than 40 countries in SubSaharan Africa, the Indian Ocean, the Caribbean and the South Pacific—more than 300 satellite channels around the world. Canal + Overseas is interested in T&T content: TV series as well as long and short features. The TTFC identified a number of potential products that could be supplied to the broadcaster, noting that there was no prohibition regarding length of or number of episodes to be supplied, and that series as well as shorts could be suitable. Head of Programming at Terra Terra, Norman Robert, indicated in a meeting in France that it might be in the market for wildlife documentaries from January 2015. L’Enorme TV is mainly interested in acquiring music video clips, such as salsa and soca, and would buy these in bulk. France Ô is interested by short films, series and documentaries, although this policy may change, indicated Acquisitions Manager Bénédicte Marchand. France Ô is looking for 45- to 60-minute episodes, with a maximum of 100 episodes per series; and documentaries of 50 to 90 minutes. The content would be dubbed in French for broadcast. Other possibilities include the multimedia company Trace, a media group dedicated to a young audience, and fans of music and sports celebrities. Trace provides several services: Pay TV (Trace Urban, Trace Tropical, Trace Africa, Trace Sports Stars), FM radio, digital platforms, content creation, events and mobile offers, reaching over 100 million people in 160 countries. Co-founder and Chairman of Trace Olivier Laouchez is familiar with T&T and indicated interest doing in a number of projects with the TTFC, including the possibility of staging and broadcasting the Trace Caribbean Music Awards in Trinidad in November. ▪
TTFC April 2014 trip to MIPTV and MIPCOM
the screener Milne took part in the four-day intensive class led by Stephen H Burum. Burum, who was nominated for an Oscar for his cinematography on the Hollywood film “Hoffa”, was director of photography on such classics as “The Untouchables”, “Carlito’s Way”, and “The Outsiders”, among many more. The master class, the ASC web site says, “set the platinum standard for professional training, offering a curriculum that [would] correct the inconsistencies and fill in the gaps of traditional film-school education” for a select group of professional cinematographers.
↗ The students and instructors of the ASC master class in Los Angeles, March 2014.
TTFC sends filmmakers abroad for development ↘ Continuing its mission to make
this country’s audiovisual industry the best in the region, the Trinidad and Tobago Film Company (TTFC) recently assisted two filmmakers to continue their professional development abroad. Director Ryan Khan went to the Cannes Film Festival in April with the sponsorship of the TTFC, in order to screen his latest work “How Many Times?” in the Cannes Short Film Corner. In an e-mail interview, Khan said, “t’s Cannes! The major film festival of the world. Getting into the Short Film Corner allows me to mingle with the top industry professionals, walk the red carpet at world premieres of potential Oscar winners for 2015 and even walk into big studio offices that take up residency at hotels for the festival.“Having your film featured in the Corner allows you to have a conversation starter with a big studio executive or filmmaker. The Corner itself is a whole floor, in the same
TTFC sends filmmakers abroad for development
building with the Official Selection Films, that is dedicated to up and coming filmmakers who’ve made a good short. One of my goals is to meet with a short film buyer (they’re also located in the Corner) and get the film sold. “The real benefit of selling the short film is to get it circulated so that it can be seen by a wider spectrum of audiences as well pushing my profile higher. I also consider myself a Trinbagonian film ambassador of a sort so I will be speaking of our nation as an attractive filming destination, with great incentives. Other than that, I feel attending Cannes is an experience every filmmaker should try at least once, if only for the reality check.” Cinematographer Oliver Milne, whose projects include the TV pilot “A Story About Wendy”, and Sean Escayg’s upcoming feature “The Noka Wheel”, got the chance to go to Los Angeles to take part in an American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) master class. Withsupport provided by the TTFC,
March - July 2014 ↗
“THE ASC WORKSHOP WAS GREAT,” MILNE ENTHUSED IN AN E-MAIL INTERVIEW. “IT WAS A VERY EXCITING EXPERIENCE FOR ME. I LOOK UP TO A LOT OF THE CINEMATOGRAPHERS WHO WERE LECTURING US. THEY ARE SOME OF THE BEST! IT’S HARD TO SAY WHO STOOD OUT, BUT I GUESS I REALLY ENJOYED TALKING TO OUR PROGRAM ADVISOR STEPHEN H BURUM, ASC. HE WAS VERY EASY TO TALK TO, AND HE HAS A LOT OF COOL TIPS AND TRICKS UP HIS SLEEVE, SO HAVING ACCESS TO ALL OF THESE GUYS TO PICK THEIR BRAINS WAS INVALUABLE TO ME.” Having worked as an audiovisual industry professional in Trinidad and Tobago since 2010, Milne said the industry is” still in its very early stages”. “We have a lot of learning to do. We still don’t have a self-sustaining feature film industry yet, with only a handful of feature films shot here in the past decade or so and most of the work
done here is commercial. “With that being said, I think that the standard of work being produced down here is definitely getting much better. I’ve seen a marked increase in the quality in the last five or ten years and it will only continue to get better.” Milne, who ultimately dreams of directing films, said, “Right now I just want to focus on developing my eye as a cinematographer, and hopefully I’ll start working on more narrative projects down here; maybe some feature films soon? I still want to direct, I have always been in love with the entire process of a making a film, but for now I’m trying to hone my skills as a cinematographer. We’ll see how things go.” The TTFC has facilitated training both in Trinidad and Tobago and abroad for local AV professionals. It
↗ Ryan Khan at Cannes.
has hosted workshops in directing, scriptwriting, and production with international industry experts, and sent T&T filmmakers to participate in training at the Toronto International Film Festival and the Berlin International Film Festival, among others.
↗ Oliver Milne at the ASC.
Such training is in line with the TTFC mission statement: “To establish T&T as the premier Caribbean film location and production centre within the international film and television marketplace.” ▪
Film School Grad Interns at Cannes with TTFC Sponsorship ↘The Trinidad and Tobago Film
to giving a workshop so I can give back for their assistance and generosity.”
James, who graduated in May with a Master’s in Creative Producing from Colombia College, Chicago, took part in a professional internship at the Cannes Film Festival in France with the assistance of the TTFC. James said in an interview in June upon his return to T&T that he had sought funding from the company after the opportunity for the internship came up. “Without the film company I wouldn’t have been able to have this experience,” James said. “They were very generous. I’m looking forward
James said he worked at the American Pavilion on his business internship with the company K5 International, managing its front office with a supervisor. K5 is a German group with film sales, financing and production companies, based in Munich with offices in London and Los Angeles. It sells theatrical, video on demand (VOD), cable or broadcast rights to distributors for different geographical areas. The company sold scripts, completed films, and films in post-production, he said.“The most interesting one was the pre-sales, the ones they only had a script with a director attached. It’s a way of financing the film in advance.” He added, “I also met the other end of
Company (TTFC) continues to assist in the training and development of nationals in the film industry. Recent film school graduate Christian James is one of them.
↖ 2014 March - July
↗ Christian James at Cannes.
it, the producers who would come in to pitch to K5.” This is the end that he found professionally interesting, as he is a producer himself. “Those meetings were more interesting to me because I want to be a producer, so [it is useful] to see how producers pitch their projects and what financiers look for… to know what it takes to sell your film or to attract financiers to buy your film”. ▪ TTFC sends filmmakers abroad for development
↗ A section of the crowd at a London screening of “Forward Ever”.
T&T films travel to Africa, US, Caribbean ↘T&T films have been making the cut
in international film festivals and awards. Two films supported by Trinidad and Tobago Film Company (TTFC) marketing grants were nominated for Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) in 2014. The awards ceremony took place on May 25 in Nigeria. Nominated for Best Diaspora Documentary was the stick-fighting film “No Bois Man No Fraid”. Nominated for Best Diaspora Short was the comic “Tickle Me Rich”, made by Sonja Dumas. Both films were independently produced and received marketing funds from the TTFC. “No Bois Man No Fraid” was also featured at the St Barth Film Festival, which took place from April 25-30. Director Christopher Laird, Chairman of the TTFC, was a special guest at the festival. His short film on the architecture of his father Colin Laird, “Public Spaces”, was also selected for the festival. Bruce Paddington, director of the documentary feature “Forward Ever: The Killing of a Revolution”, was another special guest at the festival. The St Barth Film Festival Web site
T&T Films Travel to Africa, Us, Caribbean
said, “In marking its 19th anniversary, the St Barth Film Festival once again celebrates the rich variety of Caribbean cinema. In doing so, we have found ourselves drawn to the art of documentary filmmaking as a vibrant and compelling means of storytelling.”
Grenadian Revolution, was in the audience. Grenadian-born educationalist Professor Gus John was a member of the panel. The panel was moderated by writer and activist Michael La Rose, son of the late Trinidadian-born UK intellectual John La Rose.
“WHETHER YOU ARE INTERESTED IN FACT OR FICTION, THIS YEAR’S SELECTION OF FILMS [IS] DEEPLY ROOTED IN CARIBBEAN CULTURE AND TRADITION”.
The BFI screening was followed by a private screening at the University at the Arts, also in London. The film was also selected for the Washington DC Caribbean Film Festival. Additionally, it was screened at several venues in New York—in Brooklyn, Harlem, Manhattan and Rochester—in June, and at UWI campuses in Barbados, Jamaica and St Lucia during June and July.
“Forward Ever”, another independent film supported by marketing grants from the TTFC, was screened on May 17 in London as part of the African Odysseys series of the British Film Institute (BFI). The public screening at the National Film Theatre 1 was sold out. Over 400 people attended the screening, which was followed by a panel discussion and lively question and answer session, said the film’s director. Selwyn Strachan, one of the main protagonists in the story of the
March - July 2014 ↗
Sean Hodgkinson’s feature-length follow-up to the dramatic short “A Story About Wendy”, “A Story About Wendy 2”, was an official selection of the Zanzibar International Film Festival, which took place in Tanzania from June 14-22. TTFC provided marketing support to the film. ▪
TTFC facilitates international crews in 2013-2014 ↘ Some 28 film crews visiting
Trinidad and Tobago have been facilitated by the Trinidad and Tobago Film Company (TTFC) since October 2013. The projects have included a feature on the George Williams Affair—a university riot in Canada that was led by Caribbean students—a documentary on turtles, and a documentary on golfer Stephen Ames.
The Canadian documentary, “The Ninth Floor,” is about West Indian students who took over the computer lab of Sir George Williams University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, in 1969. (The university is now part of Concordia University.) Referred to as “The Computer Riot” or the “Sir George Williams Affair”, it changed not only the university—which would make important student-centred reforms afterwards—but also its participants, who went on to influence revolutionary events in the Caribbean as well.
here in June 2014. Golfer Stephen Ames, an international celebrity born in T&T, is the subject of a documentary being produced by Project 10. The outfit did a two-day shoot for the film in May.
Trinidad-born filmmaker Selwyn Jacob is documenting the historic event. A producer with the Canadian Film Board, Jacob was in Trinidad in February and March to shoot footage for the documentary feature “The Ninth Floor”.
Other international crews who filmed in T&T during the time period include BBC Scotland, Leopart Films USA (House Hunters International), Vogue Italia, and NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation). ▪
In April PASD funding recipient Karen Martinez was in T&T to film, for her project “Dreams in Transit”, a 60-minute documentary about migration and the idea of home. Described as a “lyrical, essay-style film about a migrant’s relationship to the place they call home,” the film will be set in London and Trinidad and Tobago.
In May, Bobbcat Films came for preproduction work on its dramatic feature “Grown Girls Getaway”, which filmed
↘ National Film Board on location in Trinidad, February, 2014.
↖ 2014 March - July
TTFC Facilitates International Crews in 2013-2014
Film Company closes call for TV pilots ↘ The Trinidad and Tobago Film Company (TTFC)
invited applications for grants of up to $100,000 for production assistance, and post-production assistance for TV show pilots. The call closed at the end of June. The grants are part of the Production Assistance and Script Development (PASD) programme administered by the TTFC. It sought scripted TV pilot episodes of standard broadcast length, for traditional TV or for Internet TV. Content could be or dramatic or comedic. Animated shows, magazine-style shows, talk shows, documentaries, and shows not developed for TV and VOD distribution would not be considered eligible for funding. The call for TV submissions came on the heels of PASD calls for documentaries, feature films and children’s content issued last year. “The Call for Television Series Pilots seeks to support high quality scripted series that demonstrate innovative and original creative elements, by awarding
Rose and roti for WeBeat, Street Fest
↗ Screening of “Dal Puri Diaspora” at St James WeBeat Festival.
TV Pilot Call / WeBeat
production funding,” the Film Company says in the document in which the call was outlined. It added that all awarded productions are must be completed within 18 months of the award being confirmed. “Each episode must adhere to global broadcast standards and must have the capacity to be screened on any major terrestrial, cable, satellite, cable VOD platform, or Internet VOD platform.” VOD—Video on Demand—is a fast growing market for film and TV. The recent success of US TV shows such as Netflix’s “House of Cards” and “Orange is the New Black” has drawn industry attention to the VOD platform. Last year, regional VOD got a boost when CaribbeanTales, a distributor of Caribbean film and TV content, launched its own VOD platform, Caribbean-tales-TV. Grants from the TTFC’s PASD programme will only partly-fund productions. “The TTFC will support a percentage of the pilot’s production budget, up to a maximum amount of $100,000, for production costs spent in Trinidad and Tobago. The amount of each award given to any production will depend on the experience of the producers, the creative and production personnel as well as the nature of the submission,” the PASD call document says. The Film Company held a “How to Apply” workshop to support the call. ▪
↘ Once again the Trinidad and Tobago Film Company
(TTFC) partnered with the Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival (TTFF) to screen T&T films for the public. On June 7, Richard Fung’s documentary on roti, “Dal Puri Diaspora”, was screened at the St James Amphitheatre as part of the WeBeat Festival. The documentary traces the development of Trini-style roti from India to Trinidad and from the Caribbean to the Diaspora. It looks at the changes it has incorporated and links colonisation, migration and globalisation. Two weeks later, on June 21, “Rose: Lioness of the Jungle” screened at the Street Arts Festival, at the Little Carib Theatre. “Rose” is a bio-doc on the calypso legend McArtha “Calypso Rose” Lewis. It travels with the iconic singer and songwriter from Tobago where she was born to Africa, where her roots are, with stops in Europe and the US along the way. Both screenings were free and open to the public. ▪
March - July 2014 ↗
The Tenth anniversary Schools Film Festival orientation begins ↘ Entries for the tenth anniversary edition of the
Secondary Schools Short Film Festival (SSSFF) closed on March 14. The competition, held annually under the aegis of the Trinidad and Tobago Film Company (TTFC), this year attracted 58 entries, representing projects from 39 schools and three youth groups. As the SSSFF looked back on a decade of developmental work with young would-be filmmakers, it also looked forward to April, when this year’s batch will begin their training. An orientation session on March 19 prepared students and
↗ Arima North Secondary students pose with the TTFC Chairman, Dr Christopher Laird, and their prizes for winning Best Overall Film, Best Story and Best Social Awareness Film in the SSSFF 2013.
trainers for the work to come. Students participating in the SSSFF have to write, produce, act in, direct and edit a five-minute film that will be screened for a national audience in September. They receive technical know-how from trainers supplied by the TTFC, and each group must have a teacher or adult on board, but the work itself is made by students.
EACH YEAR, THE TTFC PROVIDES THEMES UPON WHICH THE GROUPS MUST CREATE THEIR WORKS. THIS YEAR’S THEME ON PEACE/ SOCIAL CHANGE HAD SOME OF THE HIGHEST UPTAKE OF ALL THE CATEGORIES, TOPPED ONLY BY THE NEW OPEN CATEGORY; 19 GROUPS CHOSE THE OPEN CATEGORY AND 13 CHOSE PEACE. OTHER THEMES FOCUS ON CULTURE AND THE ENVIRONMENT. Most of the groups in this year’s festival come from east Trinidad, north Trinidad and south Trinidad; there are two participating schools from the northeast, four from central and two from the northeast. Three schools and one youth group from Tobago plan to compete. There will be awards for Best Cultural Film, Best Social Awareness Film, Best Open Theme Film, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Original Score, People’s Choice Award and Best Overall Film. This year’s SSSFF continues to be held with the support of the Tobago House of Assembly, Movie Towne Multicinemas Limited, the Ministry of Education and the Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival. Joining them for the first time in 2014 is the Maracas Valley Action Committee, which will sponsor an award for the Best Environmental Film. ▪
↘ Representatives from schools present at the SSSFF 2014 orientation pose with the TTFC Chairman Dr Christopher Laird and CEO Carla Foderingham.
↖ 2014 March - July
The Tenth Anniversary Schools Film Festival Orientation Begins
the March / July 2014 screener
the screener Title
March - July 2014 â†—