22–28 Sept 2021
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Good Films Start with Good Scripts

At the recently concluded T&T Film Festival, there was a renewed focus on local films. Green Days By the River, a local feature based on the Michael Anthony novel, opened the Festival and is still running at cinemas. There was also a fantastic response to short films like Maya Cozier’s Short Drop and Shari Petti’s Sorf Hair. Away from the glare of the Festival spotlight, however, there was an extremely important educational event taking place. The British Council teamed up with the T&T Film Festival to host development training for filmmakers in the form of a scriptwriting workshop with British script development consultant Ludo Smolski.

Amnesty International Awards Bahamamian Film

A recognition for a crisis in the Caribbean.

The Trinidadian and Tobago Film Festival came to a close last week and the Amnesty International Human Rights Prize went to “Cargo,” a Bahamian film about the Haitian migration crisis. Its filmmaker Kareem Mortimer was thrilled at the honor and said his project speaks to a larger story to tell.

“It feels incredible and not even for me, but for the film — because it’s important for films to raise awareness about things that are important for us and our community,” he said.

Although he was not one of the deciding judges for his award, he has an idea as to why his film stoodout among others and the type of message it brought to the light.

“I think all over the world there’s a sort of a migration crisis happening and a type of language we use for migrants and sources, and this is happening all over the Caribbean, Africa, Europe — and it’s a global topic,” said Mortimer.

Writing the Indigenous Survival Story in T&T

A descendant of the original inhabitants of this country, Tracy Assing can be considered a “princess” of a proud people, the Caribs.

Originally from Arima, Assing—the great niece of a Carib Queen—has continued to keep traditions and memories of the first people alive.

She’s a complete media practitioner, having worked in print, radio and television. Assing is currently pursuing a degree in Mass Communications, doing film and considers herself primarily a “storyteller.”

Proudly speaking about her roots as a child of the First People, Assing said: “On both my mother’s and father’s sides of the family we have indigenous heritage. My mother’s family are from St Vincent and from Tamana and Arena, and my dad’s from Venezuela and Caura.

T&T Film Festival to screen films in celebration of First Peoples Day

In celebration of First People’s Day on October 13, the T&T Film Festival will host Indigenous Voices—an afternoon of films that present a diverse spectrum of indigenous storytelling and powerful narratives on the disappearing indigenous cultures of T&T and the Americas.

T&T Film Festival to Screen Films in Celebration of First Peoples Day

In celebration of First People’s Day on October 13, the T&T Film Festival will host Indigenous Voices—an afternoon of films that present a diverse spectrum of indigenous storytelling and powerful narratives on the disappearing indigenous cultures of T&T and the Americas.

A release said the event will be held on October 14 from noon to 5 pm, at the Arima Town Hall, in association with the Santa Rosa First Peoples Community, and with sponsorship from the Ministry of Community Development Culture and the Arts. The screenings are free.

T&T Film Festival to Screen Films in Celebration of First Peoples Day

TT Film Festival to screen films in celebration of First People’s Day.

This Caribbean Film Has Won The Amnesty International Human Rights Prize

Caribbean film that focuses on the issue of human trafficking – but from the point of view of reluctant trafficker, has won the Amnesty International Human Rights Prize.

Cargo by Bahamian film director Kareem Mortimer, won the top Prize at the recently concluded trinidad+tobago film festival, (ttff).

The Amnesty International Human Rights Prize is awarded to a Caribbean filmmaker whose film best highlights a human rights issue. The Award recognizes the importance of film as a vehicle for raising awareness about human rights issues and advancing inclusion and social justice.

Cargo wins Amnesty International Human Rights Prize at ttff/17

The film Cargo by Bahamian film director Kareem Mortimer, has won the Amnesty International Human Rights Prize at the recently concluded trinidad+tobago film festival (ttff). Established in an effort to support the promotion of human rights in the Caribbean, the Amnesty International Human Rights Prize is awarded to a Caribbean filmmaker whose film best highlights a human rights issue. The Award recognises the importance of film as a vehicle for raising awareness about human rights issues and advancing inclusion and social justice.

Cargo, which played to packed audiences at the ttff, was Awarded by a three-person jury comprised of Gregory Sloane-Seale, National Coordinator, Citizen Security Programme in the Ministry of National Security, Trinidad and Tobago; Dr Gabrielle Hosein, Head of Department and lecturer, Institute for Gender and Development Studies, at The University of the West Indies, and Pamela Carmona, Regional Youth and Activism Coordinator at the, Amnesty International Americas Regional Office, in Mexico.

Cargo, tells the story of human trafficking from the point of view of reluctant trafficker, Kevin. An American exile with a gambling addiction living in the Bahamas, he begins smuggling Haitians to Florida in an act of desperation to keep his secrets buried and get out of a financial bind.

Mortimer has said that the story was influenced by a childhood experience that impacted him deeply – a  news story that showed the dead bodies of Haitians who had washed up on shore in the Bahamas, in an ill-fated attempt to get to Miami. The haunting image impacted him so much that he re-created it for the opening scene in the movie.

According to Pamela Carmona, at Amnesty International Americas Regional Office, in Mexico: “Caribbean filmmakers have been fairless in crafting powerful stories of human struggle, sacrifice and triumph – reaching across cultures and countries, transcending language barriers to speak eloquently on the issues of human rights and social justice. As long as human rights violations exist, there will always be a need for such films, and this prize is our way of acknowledging the important work being done by filmmakers and activists in the Caribbean region.”

Amnesty International is a global movement of more than three million members, supporters and activists in over 150 countries and territories. The organisation exposes human rights violations and campaigns for their full enjoyment for everyone around the world. It is independent of any government, political ideology, economic interest or religion, and is funded mainly by its membership and public donations.

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. The ttff is presented by Flow; given leading sponsorship by BPTT and the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts; supporting sponsorship by the Inter-American Development Bank and UN Women; and contributing sponsorship from RBC Royal Bank.

TT Film Festival to Screen Films Celebration First People Day

In celebration of First People’s Day on October 13, the trinidad+tobago film festival will host Indigenous Voices, an afternoon of films that present a diverse spectrum of indigenous storytelling and powerful narratives on the disappearing indigenous cultures of Trinidad and Tobago and the Americas.

The event will be held on Saturday, October 14 from 12.00pm – 5.00pm, at the Arima Town Hall, in association with the Santa Rosa First Peoples Community, and with sponsorship from the Ministry of Community Development Culture and the Arts.

The screenings are free.

Scattered Picks up Steam

The winners of the award for Best T&T Film in Development at the 2017 T&T Film Festival (ttff), writers Karen Martinez and Georgia Popplewell and producer Lesley-Ann Macfarlane, say the prize is a sign of progress. It showed that bpTT and ttff are acknowledging that the process of making a film can be a long and arduous one.

The project, a feature-length narrative script called Scattered, has already won several prizes, including the Best Caribbean Film Mart Project award at ttff 2016, and has been shortlisted for the Sundance International Screenwriters’ Lab and CineMart Rotterdam.

Good Films Start with Good Scripts

Amnesty International Awards Bahamamian Film

Writing the Indigenous Survival Story in T&T

T&T Film Festival to screen films in celebration of First Peoples Day

T&T Film Festival to Screen Films in Celebration of First Peoples Day

T&T Film Festival to Screen Films in Celebration of First Peoples Day

This Caribbean Film Has Won The Amnesty International Human Rights Prize

Cargo wins Amnesty International Human Rights Prize at ttff/17

TT Film Festival to Screen Films Celebration First People Day

Scattered Picks up Steam

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Invitation to submit your film to ttff/21.

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