Music features strongly in the inaugural Tobago Jazz Film Festival with dancehall, jazz and classic cuban music all finding a place in the lineup. Supported by after-parties and limes, dinner with the movies, prize giveaways and a workshop for filmmakers – there is something for everyone aged 16 and over in this film festival, which is presented by Flow and the trinidad+tobago film festival.
A night of dancehall
The line up begins on Sunday 23 April, with the Tobago-made short film Redman – about Jerry, a young man who is confused about what women want.Made by Tobagonian screenwriter, film director and actor – Jared Prima, co-founder of Triple Spades Studios Ltd, Redman is a humourous look at colourism and male preening and pretensions in Caribbean society.
Redman is followed by the full length feature film from Jamaica, Dancehall Queen, which, as the name suggests, is steeped in dancehall music and dance. It tells the story of Marcia, a single mom and street vendor barely scraping by even with financial assistance from Larry, a gun-toting strongman with a twisted desire for Marcia’s teenage daughter Tanya who he pursues.
Both films will be shown at the Shade Nightclub in Bon Accord, from 7pm, and will be followed by a dancehall afterparty.
The Jazz great who was miles ahead
The following evening (Monday 24 April) – Jazz takes centre stage at Mount Irvine Bay Resort, with a feature film about a fictional moment in the life of jazz-legend, Miles Davis, starring US actor Don Cheadle in the lead role.
The evening begins with the short film Glass Bottom Boat – the true story of Janet Wells, who came to Tobago on vacation with her sister and fell in love with local fisherman Galla. In an honest recollection of her time in Tobago with the love of her life, Janet relives her journey of joy, pain and healing. The film was made by filmmaker and photographer Kyle Walcott, who was born in Trinidad and raised in Tobago by his grandmother, where he attended Bishops High School.
In Miles Ahead, we follow the escapades of Miles Davis, who in the midst of a prolific career, suddenly disappears from public view for five years in the late 1970s. He is living in isolation while dealing with chronic pain from a deteriorating hip, a musical voice inhibited and numbed by drugs and painkillers, and traumatic memories of his past. A music reporter, Dave Braden forces his way into Davis’ house and, over the next couple of days, the two men unwittingly embark on a madcap adventure to recover a stolen tape recording of the musician’s most recent compositions.
Viewers will be familiar with Don Cheadle who has appeared in numerous blockbuster films including Iron Man, Ocean’s Eleven, Hotel Rwanda, Crash and Traffic. Miles Ahead is his directorial debut.
The Festival ends on a romantic note, on Tuesday 25 April,7pm, at Waves Restaurant and Bar – with the animated film Chico and Rita, set in 1950s Havana.
The evening begins first with the Tobago-based short film, The Resort – which comprises a series of three vignettes that follow a young man as he sells love for a living. Made by Shadae Lamar Smith who was born in Miami to Caribbean parents, The Resort, was shot entirely in Tobago.
In Chico and Rita, a gifted songwriter, Chico, and beautiful singer, Rita, chase their dreams—and each other—across the globe, from Havana to New York to Paris to Las Vegas. Chico is an ambitious young piano player and bandleader. Rita is a beautiful singer with an extraordinary voice. Music and romantic desire unite them, but their journey brings heartache and torment. It is a majestic love story rendered in beautiful, bold animation, with original music by the renowned Cuban musician, Bebo Valdés.
The Tobago Jazz Film Festival – a celebration of music and Tobago through film – is being held, as part of the Tobago Jazz Experience. Admission to all events is free. The Festival has been made possible through sponsorship from Flow, and in-kind support from official venue partners – the THA Division of Tourism and Transportation, The Shade Nightclub, Mt. Irvine Bay Resort, Waves Restaurant and Bar; and hotel partner Le Grand Courlan Spa Resort.
The trinidad+tobago film festival (ttff) celebrates films from and about the Caribbean and its diaspora, as well as from world cinema, through an annual festival and year-round screenings. In addition, the ttff seeks to facilitate the growth of Caribbean cinema by offering a wide-ranging industry programme and networking opportunities.