RBC Focus Filmmakers’ Immersion 2012
RBC Focus: Filmmakers’ Immersion
Presented by the ttff + RBC Royal Bank
25 – 28 September 2012
Ten Caribbean filmmakers—spanning the region from The Bahamas in the north all the way down to French Guiana—will come together in Port of Spain during the upcoming trinidad+tobago film festival (ttff) to be part of a unique training opportunity.
Entitled RBC Focus: Filmmakers’ Immersion, the initiative is being presented by the ttff in association with RBC Royal Bank. This is the second year running the Immersion is being held, and the focus is documentary filmmaking.
The participants are: Tyler Johnson (The Bahamas), Willy Rollé (French Guiana), Olivia McGilchrist (Jamaica), Michelle Serieux (Jamaica/St Lucia) and John Barry, Mariel Brown, Sonja Dumas, Francis Escayg, Abigail Hadeed and Natalie Wei (T&T).
Chosen from numerous entrants who responded to an open call for applications, the participants will spend four days (25–28 September) working on an original concept for a feature-length documentary. They will engage in group discussions and exercises on a range of documentary filmmaking techniques and strategies, opening them to the creative possibilities of the art form.
The facilitators for RBC Focus are two internationally respected film-industry professionals: Jamaican-American filmmaker and teacher Alrick Brown, and documentary story consultant Fernanda Rossi, born and raised in Buenos Aires and based in New York for the past 17 years.
At the end of the four days, the facilitators will choose their top five participants to pitch their concept to a jury at a public event on 29 September. The participant with the best concept and pitch, as determined by the jury, will win a cash prize of TT$20,000.
“RBC Royal Bank is proud to continue to support the RBC Focus: Filmmakers’ Immersion and the ttff,” said Mr Suresh B Sookhoo, CEO, Caribbean Banking, RBC. “We have seen first-hand the strides these emerging filmmakers have made after participating in the programme. Improvement in their skills ultimately means growth of the film industry in the region.”
Exploring Caribbean cinema
Caribbean cinema is as varied as the many territories which make up the region. Its history stretches back almost to the beginning of cinema itself, and as it continues to evolve and grow, scholars and writers have taken on the important task of documenting and analysing Caribbean cinematic practice.
Adding to the store Caribbean cinema studies is a new book, Exploring Caribbean Cinema (or, to give the book its Spanish title, as it is yet to be translated into English, Explorando el Cine Caribeño). Co-edited by Cuban film scholar Luis Alberto Notario and Bruce Paddington, founder and director of the trinidad+tobago film festival, the book is divided into four main sections, covering the cinemas of the Spanish, French, English and Dutch Caribbean. The essays look at both individual films and trends in Caribbean cinema, as well as the various regional film industries and film production in the different countries in general. Contributors include writers and scholars from Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, Barbados, Suriname, Martinique, Haiti, Puerto Rico, Argentina, the Dominican Republic and Cuba.
Exploring Caribbean Cinema had its launch earlier this year at the International Book Fair of Havana, and its T&T launch took place recently at the University of the West Indies, St Augustine campus. An English-language translation of the book is expected in the near future.
European, T&T film festivals team up for a “month of movies”
Cinema fans are in for a treat this September and October, as the European Film Festival (EFF) and the trinidad+tobago film festival (ttff) have formed a partnership to present what is being dubbed a “month of movies”.
The ttff runs from 19 September to 2 October across T&T. The EFF follows right afterwards, from 3 to 16 October at MovieTowne, Port of Spain and 9 to 16 October at MovieTowne, Tobago.
An annual celebration of the best new and recent cinema from T&T, the Caribbean and its diaspora, and Latin American countries in the Caribbean basin, the ttff is now in its seventh year.
The EFF, which is in its 16th year, showcases films from the European Union (EU), and is organised by the European Member States with diplomatic missions in T&T—France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom—and the EU Delegation. This year Germany is the host mission of the EFF.
In addition to both festivals taking place back to back, a number of films at the ttff/12 will be presented in association with the EFF, the second year running that such an initiative is taking place.
Further, the ttff will assist in selecting the films that will screen at the EFF, and will also work with the EFF in a number of other areas.
“This year we are presenting a great selection of European films in close cooperation with the ttff,” said His Excellency Stefan Schlüter, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany. “In addition to the great films that will be shown at the ttff, I can promise two weeks of thought-provoking, entertaining and memorable movies at the EFF and do hope for packed theatres in Port of Spain as well as Tobago.”
Photo caption: His Excellency Stefan Schlüter, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany, signs the memorandum of understanding between the EFF and the ttff with Annabelle Alcazar, Programme Director, ttff
Acclaimed dancehall film takes centre stage at We Beat
A multiple-award-winning documentary about Jamaica’s vibrant and fascinating dancehall scene is set to enthrall audiences as part of the annual We Beat festival, on Saturday 2 June from 7pm at the St James Amphitheatre.
The screening of Hit Me With Music is part of the trinidad + tobago film festival (ttff) and bpTT Community Cinergy series of film screenings, and is presented in association with the St James Community Improvement Committee. Admission is free of charge and open to all persons 16 years and over.
Released in 2011 and directed by Miquel Galofré, Hit Me With Music is a brilliant exploration of the various facets of dancehall culture, including feuds between rival musicians, skin bleaching, and the “daggering” phenomenon. Dancehall pioneers Yellowman and the late Bogle make appearances in the film, as well as more recent stars Elephant Man, Mavado and Vybz Kartel.
The film—which has been playing to enthusiastic audiences in North America and Europe—won both the jury and audience awards for best documentary at the ttff/11. Following the screening there will be a Q&A session with the director.
Before the film there will be a lime, from 6pm. Food and drinks will be on sale.
Community Cinergy screenings continue with Limbo
Limbo, the acclaimed debut film by Norwegian writer and director Maria Sødahl, will be the next selection of the Community Cinergy series of movie screenings, hosted by the trinidad+tobago film festival (ttff) and bpTT, in association with the Callaloo Company.
The screening, which is free, takes place on Saturday 26th May at the Callaloo mas camp in Chaguaramas from 8pm. There will be a lime beforehand, from 6pm, with food and drinks on sale.
Released in 2010, Limbo is the emotionally charged story of Sonia, a young Norwegian woman who moves to Trinidad with her family in the 1970s. When she discovers her husband—who works in the oil industry—is having an affair with a colleague, Sonia’s already fragile world shatters, and she must find a way to put the pieces back together.
Shot on location in T&T with an international cast that included a number of local actors, Limbo won the prize for best director at the Montreal Film Festival. It was a selection of the ttff/11, and opened the European Film Festival in Port of Spain last October.