A report by Verdel Bishop for Trinidad’s Daily Express.
Film Festival season is here and there are exciting times ahead for film enthusiasts and industry practitioners.
The trinidad + tobago film festival (ttff) recently unveiled its itinerary for a weeklong film festival that will not only showcase and recognise the best films and the best talent in the industry,The festivities will run from September 19 to 26 and will involve activities such as training and outreach across the country to promote the production of local movies.
The line-up for this season is quite impressive with the spotlight on local and regional films, workshops and discussions. Filmgoers can look forward to just about 120 feature-length, short and experimental narrative and documentary films from the Caribbean and its diaspora and contemporary world cinema will be screened including five feature films and more than 30 short and experimental films from Trinidad and Tobago.
In recognition of National Patriotism Month which is observed in this country from August 31 to September 24, the ttff has partnered with the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts to showcase a day of screenings of local short and feature films. The screenings will be held on Republic Day, September 24, at MovieTowne Port of Spain, San Fernando and Tobago.
Three films on pan are also in the line-up of short and feature films that will screen at this year’s Festival. These steelband documentaries are To Be an All Star, birdsong and the James O’Connor’s film To Be A Renegade, which captures the story of bp Renegades through an examination of the violent beginnings of pan, the era of change, and its present state as a positive influence in communities, with steelbands now travelling abroad as international ambassadors. The documentary features players, founding members and supporters. Funded by bpTT the documentary seeks to show what it really means to be a Renegade. Both birdsong and To Be An All Star will screen on September 24, as part of the ttff’s day-long celebration of local films at MovieTowne.
Also on the itinerary is The Power of Women in Film. The ttff has partnered with UN Women and the The University of the West Indies Institute for Gender and Development Studies to host the power of women in film through its “Feminist Cinema” from September 22-24. Filmmakers can also look forward to discussions on the Orange Economy,
Speaking at the launch of the ttff at the Hyatt Regency in Port of Spain, Magella Moreau, ttff director of Public Relations, said women will be celebrated through a day of panels and discussions on short films looking at issues faced by women and girls. She said these films are aimed at giving women a voice and highlight the powerful roles women filmmakers play in advancing the change in dialogue on women issues.
Moreau noted that films are a powerful tool in promoting self-awareness and development. She also said however, that funding continues to be increasingly difficult and noted that there is a lot to be gained in preserving our culture. “We continue to be excited by the quality of films and the work being done by local filmmakers. You have to have passion to do this because it’s not easy with the eternal search for funds. It’s a real challenge and you have to be crazy or passionate to do it. Films are much more than just films. It’s about having a wider voice. It’s about preserving our culture, it’s about reminding young people about who they are and allowing them to see themselves and then we will understand who we are in all our many dimensions so this is important work,” Moreau said.
The Festival will open on September 19 with Green Days by the River and will culminate on September 26 with an award ceremony celebrating the best of the lot across several categories including Best Feature Film, People’s Choice and Best Film as Decided by a Youth Jury. The local feature length films to be screened as part of the ttff include Green Days by the River, Moko Jumbie, The Lies We Tell, Quick Pick and Back to Freeport.
Films being screened at ttff 2017 will be available for viewing on Flow’s video on demand (VoD) service. VoD provides Flow customers with a diverse selection of local and Caribbean films, with 100 per cent of all proceeds going directly to the filmmakers.