trinidad+tobago film festival announced ten winning films across its two award categories (jury prizes and special awards) at the festival’s virtual awards ceremony streamed live to Facebook on Monday night. The juries comprised several international film industry professionals, and films chosen for the juried competitions were rigorously discussed, dissected and unanimously agreed upon by the festival’s programmers before being selected for competition. The shortlist of films in competition was sent on to the various juries, who then watched and deliberated on all the films before coming to a final agreement.
The documentary film jury was comprised of executive producer of the award-winning series “AfroPop: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange” and board member for New York Women in Film & Television (NYWIFT), Leslie Fields-Cruz; Peabody and Emmy award-winning filmmaker, Shola Lynch; and associate director for documentary film programming for SF DocFest, in San Francisco, California, Chris Metzler.
Jamaica’s “Unbroken”, directed by Gabrielle Blackwood and based on the true-life story of Jamaican amputee, Laron Williamson, copped the prize for “Best Documentary Film, Short” “Best Documentary Film, Medium Length” was awarded to “I Don’t Call It Ghetto.” Directed by Miquel Galofré, the film tells the story of a single, divorced, mother-of-three, police officer who faces the challenge of raising a teenage son in an area known for crime, while working hard to build trust in her role as a police officer. “I Don’t Call It Ghetto” also won the coveted “Best Trinidad & Tobago Film” award. Brazil’s “Servidao” (Servitude), which looks at contemporary slave labour in the Brazilian Amazon, took the prize for “Best Documentary Film, Feature Length”.
The narrative film jury was comprised of Emmy-nominated and Genie Award winner, Ian Harnarine; executive director and director of programming for Miami Dade College’s Miami Film Festival and recipient of the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Isabel la Católica from Felipe VI, King of Spain for his work in Spanish-language cinema, Jaie Laplante; and CEO of Mental Telepathy Pictures, Robert Maylor.
The award for “Best Narrative Film, Feature Length” went to “Malpaso.” Directed by Dominican Republic’s Héctor M Valdez, the film tells the story of twin brothers growing up near the border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic. “Best Narrative Film, Medium Length” went to Canada’s “Zeen?,” with honourable mention given to “Get Free!”, directed by Trinidad’s Akkel Charles. The award for “Best Narrative Film, Short” went to Guadeloupe’s “Mortenol”.
The new media jury comprised award-winning interdisciplinary artist, David Gumbs; chief curator at the National Gallery of Jamaica, O’Neil Lawrence; and scholar, writer, educator and curator, Marsha Pearce. New Media films comprised avant garde and experimental works from artists and filmmakers in the Caribbean and diaspora. The award for “Best New Media Work” was presented to Caludia Claremi for Centella (Firefly).
This year, the festival launched a new prize category for student filmmakers to encourage and support emerging talent. The student film jury comprised president of the Jamaica Film and Television Association (JAFTA), Analisa Chapman; programming manager of the International Film Festival of Panama, Fanny Huc; and Curacao film commissioner, Eloise Van Wickeren. The prize for “Best Student Film” was awarded to La Pieza de Casseus (The Raging Dance of Casseus). Directed by Camilo Mejía, the film tells the story of a young Haitian man whose dream is to become a dancer. Honourable mention was also given to film “Carmencita”, which was directed by Nayibe Tavares-Abel. Both films were from the Dominican Republic.
The special award for “Best Film As Selected By a Youth Jury” was determined by a group of young jurors. Under the mentorship of film critic and ttff/20 festival programmer, BC Pires, the Youth Jury viewed and considered for award recognition, films which focused on young protagonists dealing with coming-of-age issues, challenges and triumphs. The “Best Film As Selected By A Youth Jury” award went to “Mortenol.” Directed by Guadeloupe’s Julien Silloray, the film tells the story of an eleven-year old who wants to avenge the killing of his older brother by an enemy gang.
trinidad+tobago film festival (ttff/20) is given leading sponsorship by the T&T Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Arts, contributing sponsorship by Republic Bank Ltd, with Shell Trinidad and Tobago Limited supporting ttff/20 online industry events.
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