CaribbeanTales Film Festival invites you to go island-hopping at the movies and experience the creativity of Canadian and Caribbean diaspora filmmakers at Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre from Sept. 4 – 15, 2012.
All the buzz is about the festival’s opening-night film, The Story of Lover’s Rock, a documentary that uses music to understand the journey of Caribbean people arriving in England in the seventies. “It’s a story I personally identify with because I came of age in Britain. It was a time when the streets were not safe and our parents had no idea what we were dealing with. Lovers Rock was a release for young Caribbean Brits and was opportunity to explore intimacy through music and dance,” says CaribbeanTales CEO Frances-Anne Solomon.
Movie-goers can expect to see eight feature films and 16 short films that were selected for screening at Harbourfront Centre’s Studio Theatre. Organizers have branched out to include a variety of film perspectives including a spotlight on the LGBTQ community with the program Queer Caribbean featuring Stud Life – the first feature film from Britain’s Campbell X .There are also two films showcasing Haiti today, including Broken Stones, that won the award for Best Documentary at the recent Belize International Film Fest.
CaribbeanTales is also looking at developments in Caribbean Web Series with the world premiere of Rodney Smith’s The Accidental Time Traveller, and will host the world premiere of Antiguan filmmaker Melissa Gomez’s compelling autobiographical documentary Silent Music, about growing up with deaf parents. The festival will also feature a Showcase on films from Canadian Caribbean filmmakers, many Canadian premieres as well as films from the UK, US, Dominican Republic and French Guyana.
“Marc Barrat’s powerful Orpailleur is a must-see along with Leticia Tonos’ award-winning La Hija Natural – both are quickly becoming classic of our cinema. So much excellent work is exploding from the Caribbean right now!” says Solomon. “And don’t forget Santana,” she laughs referring to the Trinidadian puppet show that got one million views on YouTube before being turned into a movie, selling out cinemas on the twin island for a month.
After seven years, the festival is expanding to great lengths.For the first time, CaribbeanTales is actively inviting youth participation with the 48hr Film Challenge. Targeted at Toronto’s priority neighbourhoods, filmmakers are divided into teams and have 48 hours to make a five-minute film. “Participants can use any medium, so we expect to see a lot of variety, ranging from semi-pro productions to films shot on cell phones. All the films delivered by the deadline will be shown during the festival,” says actor and activist Michael Miller, the coordinator of this year’s 48hr Film Challenge.
The Incubator Program, supported by Telefilm Canada, will showcase 25 filmmakers and mentors from all over the world who are connected by their ideas about Caribbean identity. “These are the films that will win awards globally next year,” says Solomon. “like Ian Harnarine’s Doubles With Slight Pepper which won Best Short at the Toronto International Film Festival and a Genie Award, after participating in CaribbeanTales 2010 Incubator Program.”
“This year, we received over 100 amazing film submissions,” says Solomon. “What I’m looking for is authenticity; a truth about who we are as Caribbean people. What touches audiences is truth, so the films we screen need to contribute to our shared understanding and a dialogue about what it means to be Caribbean.”