Rain, a new Bahamian film directed by Maria Govan, opened the Flow Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival last Tuesday night with a gala event at Movie Towne Invaders Bay. The film, whose central theme is the transforming effect of rain, follows its title character as she comes to discover her biological mother after the death of her grandmother. Set in the Bahamas, the film features Irma P. Hall (who won a Special Jury prize at Cannes in 2004 for her performance in the Cohen brother’s remake of The Ladykillers) as well as Emmy nominee and star of The Shield, CCH Pounder. Rain was also screened at the Toronto Film Festival last year and received the awards at the Palm Springs International and Bahamas and other film festivals that year as well.
In an interview with Jonathan Ali of the Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival blog (http://www.trinidadandtobagofilmfestival.com/blog), Govan spoke about the difficulties in making the film a reality. “Too often I wondered if the film would ever be finished, as we kept running out of money along the way. I will say this though, as in life, nothing stays the same, and this was my experience on Rain. When I felt most hopeless and like giving up, something shifted and I was a little closer to the end. God gave me just enough to take the next small step and when one led to the next, the mountain became shorter, one phone call, one email, one moment at a time. If you keep on keeping on, you will survive the climb no matter how hard it may be along the way.”
But Govan is confident that notwithstanding this, a viable film industry is possible in this region.
“Of course it’s viable! The region is so rich with story and magic and colour – so much that is so inspiring and so moving. I can say that there are a number of Bahamians now making really strong work and so if we, as a very small country can contribute to the global platform of cinema in the important way that we are in this moment in time, I have complete faith that as a region there are truly great things ahead!”
In an interview on the occasion of the film’s screening at the Toronto film festival, Govan had this to say about the origins of the film:
I worked for several years on a documentary film called Where I’m From: HIV and AIDS in the Bahamas that followed the lives of three Bahamians of diverse socio economic backgrounds living with HIV/AIDS. One of those subjects had been struggling with addiction to crack cocaine for some time, and sadly during the course of our film returned to her drug habit. I spent two years observing life in a crack house in Nassau. I began to think about a fictional story that would live in this world. I am interested in what it means to lose our innocence, to experience betrayal for the first time in our young adulthood – looking more closely at why so many are broken by this moment while others seem empowered by the will to move beyond and through it. My approach to making this film was simply naive, whole-hearted commitment. I had no experience with narrative work and so in many ways really did dive into the deep end. There I was treading water with this thing in my arms – on some days it felt like a boulder I was carrying, then on others it would lighten up. I hope that one day in the near future it transforms into a buoy that will support all who have given so much to this journey.
For more on the film’s showing at the TTFF go to http://www.thebahamasweekly.com/publish/international/Bahamian_Rain_showers_Trinidad_and_Tobago_Film_Festival7753.shtml
For the Toronto Film Festival interview go to http://www.indiewire.com/article/toronto_08_discovery_interview_rain_director_maria_govan/