22–28 Sept 2021
Save the Date

independence greetings and ‘love t&t’ films!

Happy Trinidad and Tobago Independence, film lovers! In celebration of Patriotism Month and the development of the Trinidad and Tobago film industry, we bring you ‘love t&t’, a series of online film screenings during ttff/20, of some of the new films and filmmakers emerging in T&T.

‘love t&t’ is brought to you in partnership with the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Arts.

Production still from ‘Waiting in Strange Times’, directed by Kristof West
Our first love t&t bundle will be screened online Wednesday 09 September, and will be available for 24 hours. 

A Day at the BeachMarcy is having a relaxing day at the beach when a nationwide catastrophe occurs in this sci-fi horror short set in South Trinidad.

The InterviewA confident young man meets with unforeseen complications at a job interview where things are not quite what they seem.

Get FreeTwenty-one-year-old Iris’ life is endangered as her ex-boyfriend returns to seek unwanted closure. A series of events unfold as we see what was, and what still is, between them.

The Covid Chronicles: Filmed during two weeks in March, “The COVID Chronicles” is an intimate, candid portrait of our strange new times, seen through the eyes of a group of friends spanning Trinidad and Tobago and Canada.

Waiting in Strange Times: Set in Trinidad during the lockdown imposed by the government to prevent the spread of COVID-19, “Waiting In Strange Times” explores space and time during a period of boredom, uncertainty, confusion and fear.

Get tickets for love t&t bundle 1 here!

Production still from ‘Jump’, directed by Sharri Petti
Our second love t&t bundle will be screened online Thursday 10 September, and will be available for 24 hours. 

Mightier Dan De Sun: “Mightier dan de Sun” is the story of an Indian couple with nothing to lose. When combined with mental illness and supernatural forces, alcohol becomes a catalyst for unfortunate events.

Jump: “Jump!” follows the three-month journey of the JumpTT programme which used parkour and physical theatre as an aesthetic to tell the stories of young people transitioning from childhood to adulthood.

Get tickets for love t&t bundle 2 here!

Production still from ‘A La ‘Diablesse Curse’, directed by Jared Prima
Our third and final love t&t bundle will be screened online Monday 14 September, and will be available for 24 hours. 

A La’Diablesse Curse: A womanising absentee father is hunted by La Diablesse, a powerful shape-shifting Caribbean spirit, who demands his soul in exchange for his son’s freedom.

Code R.E.D.D.: A man with a briefcase is more dangerous than a man with a gun. Two struggling private detectives hired to find a briefcase instead find themselves running for their lives. Now they must find the businessman who set them up and thwart his plans to set up a human trafficking ring in Trinidad.

Get tickets for love t&t bundle 3 here!

Tickets for Online Screenings

Tickets are now available for all our online screenings! Visit online.ttfilmfestival.com to browse through the daily film bundles, click the bundle you’d like to see, and take it from there! Please note, films will be available to viewers across the English-speaking Caribbean only.

All tickets for online screenings are quoted in USD. As a quick guide, our regular online tickets are tt$35, and tickets for the opening night film cost tt$50.

Click here for a detailed step by step of setting up your account to watch films during the festival.

Note, films will only be viewable on the day they are scheduled for. Take a minute to browse through our daily schedule or download a PDF of our guide here.

Printed guides can also be collected from a number of locations, including Paperbased Bookshop, Y Art Gallery, Medulla Art Gallery, Rituals St Ann’s, Ink Stop, SPLICE Studios, Full Bloom. You can also swing by our office to collect a copy of the guide or to pay for workshops and screenings. We’re at 22 Jerningham Ave, Belmont.

ttff/20 Presentations: ‘Social Media Marketing’, ‘Navigating Contracts & Clearances’, and ‘Getting Ready for Distribution’

trinidad+tobago film festival is pleased to announce our industry presentations for ttff/20! Click on the links below to register now. You can view our complete Industry Programme here.

Social Media Marketing for Filmmakers, with Neala Bhagwansingh

Collectively, we are spending more and more of our time engaging with content on networks like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Love it or hate it, social media has become a valuable tool for independent filmmakers, with its potential for greater audience reach, feedback in real time from fans, and networking opportunities with fellow filmmakers and investors. In this ttff/20 presentation, practitioner Neala Bhagwansingh shares invaluable tools and tips for harnessing the power of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, to drive interest and investment in you and your film projects.

Logistics

date: 10 september
duration: 1.5 hours
time: 12:00pm-1:30pm

This is a free presentation. Click here to register and to see our other Industry offerings.

About Neala Bhagwansingh

Neala Bhagwansingh has 12 years of marketing experience including social media management, and has developed and effectively managed social media campaigns for multiple businesses including the trinidad+tobago film festival and FILMCO.


Navigating Contracts and Clearances, with Cindy F. Daniel and Dionne McNicol-Stephenson

ttff/20 is pleased to again present an integral seminar on contracts and clearances. This two-hour session will be led by facilitators Dionne McNicol-Stephenson and Cindy F. Daniel.

McNicol-Stephenson and Daniel will guide viewers through the main types of contracts needed on a project. Product placement contracts will also be covered in this presentation, and Dionne and Cindy will employ the use of local case studies.

Logistics

date: 10 september
duration: two hours
time: 9:30am-11:30am

This is a free presentation. Click here to register and to see our other Industry offerings.

About Cindy F. Daniel and Dionne McNicol-Stephenson

Cindy F. Daniel has been involved with commercial theatre and film in Trinidad and Tobago for more than a decade as both a thespian and practising attorney. She has worked consistently in the entertainment industry as a voice talent, TV host, actor on both stage and screen, and theatre and creative content producer. After being called to the bar of Trinidad & Tobago, she worked primarily in the public service and has significant experience in policy and legislative development, contract negotiation and drafting, and intellectual property. She is attached to the Culture Division of the Trinidad and Tobago Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts and has collaborated with the Intellectual Property Office to host workshops for artists.

Dionne McNicol-Stephenson has over 20 years’ experience in the creative industries and 14 years experience in the area of intellectual property and entertainment law.  Her work has spanned the areas of music, theatre, film, live performance and live events – in the form of performance, administration, production, legal services and policy development. Her career path has had many twists and turns, most recently leading her to national service on the board of directors of Creative Industries Company of Trinidad and Tobago (CreativeTT) and as chairman of the Film Company of Trinidad and Tobago (FilmTT). She is a creative industries consultant and the chief connector at A Big Box of Crayons – a collective showcase of and for Trinbago’s creative makers and thinkers.


Getting Ready for Distriribution, with Patricia Martin

Sales agents, distributors and digital outlets expect more than an HD master to release a film. In our present age, filmmakers must think about distribution from the get-go and start preparing for this stage of the process before filming even begins.

ttff/20 presents this integral talk on distribution facilitated by Patricia Martin of Habanero Film Sales in Brazil. Martin will explain why filmmakers must start budgeting and preparing their team for distribution before heading out to film.

Patricia will also discuss how film festivals have become alternative distribution platforms and also take a look at ‘windowing’ and what it means for hybrid distribution. Co-production agreements, territories and holdbacks will all be discussed to aid participants in their understanding.

Logistics

date: 11 september
duration: two hours
time: 9:30am-11:30am

This is a free presentation. Click here to register and to see our other Industry offerings.

About Patricia Martin

With more than 25 years in the film business, Patricia has a particular wide-angle understanding of the industry based on her academic background and professional experience in media education, cultural entrepreneurship, film festival programming & film distribution. She is a Political Science graduate, with a persevering passion for international affairs and comparative cultures that earned her fellowships to pursue further training in Tokyo, Madrid and Washington D.C. She has served as program officer, consultant and media advocate for institutions in Venezuela, Cuba, Canada, Colombia, Mexico and Brazil. Together with her partner Alfredo Calvino, they run Habanero, a Brazilian based international sales company specialized in quality films by Latin American and Caribbean filmmakers. She is also founding director of Intermedi@rte, a non-profit art initiative focused on trans-disciplinary creative exchanges & collaborative learning. As visiting professor at Cuba’s International Film School – EICTV, she has conducted an international workshop on film festivals for 10 years. Patricia can most often be found chasing her 5 dogs around her beach house in Búzios, the small town two and a half hours north of Rio she calls home.

Workshop: Build Your Film’s Website with the Magic of WordPress

Websites have become an essential tool in a film’s promotional kit: they bring visibility and validity to a project; allow users to meet your cast and crew, to learn about your project’s story and to share press reviews, and so much more. But websites can cost a fortune to produce.

In this informative four-hour workshop, web developer Shaun Rambaran will give a wide-ranging lesson in both preparing and running your own website using WordPress. Initially designed as a blogging platform, WordPress has evolved into a fully capable Content Management System (CMS). Backed by the power of the Open Source community pushing its ongoing development, the software has grown (and continues to grow) ever faster and more user-friendly for people at all levels of technical experience. Join Rambaran as he discusses the multiple elements that go into successfully building a website using the WordPress platform for your film or TV show.

Prerequisites

Participants must have access to a computer (desktop or laptop preferably) for the workshop. No previous knowledge of WordPress is necessary.

Logistics

date: 10 september
duration: four hours
times: 12:30pm-2:30pm and 3:30pm-5:30pm AST

This workshop is no longer available. Thank you for your interest.

About Shaun Rambaran

Shaun Rambaran is a web developer based in Trinidad. In a career spanning 16 years, he has maintained a philosophy of openness and accessibility, executing website projects across all devices, from mobile to desktop, and valuing usability for persons who are visually impaired. Shaun has done work for the trinidad+tobago film festival, FILMCO: The Filmmakers Collaborative of Trinidad and Tobago, The National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago, Fernandes Business Centre, Abovegroup, The National Carnival Commission of Trinidad and Tobago and others. In 2010, Shaun began applying his hefty PHP and MySQL knowledge to the WordPress platform, learning to develop and customise WordPress templates and plug-ins.

ttff’s online industry events are made possible thanks to the support of Shell Trinidad and Tobago Ltd.

Announcing the ttff/20 Opening Night Film: ‘501 Not Out’

PORT OF SPAIN, TRINIDAD, 17 August, 2020 — Feature-length documentary, ‘501 Not Out’, which charts cricket legend Brian Lara’s record-breaking first class innings, will open the 15th edition of the trinidad+tobago film festival (ttff) on 09 September. This year’s much anticipated opening night event and screening will be held online, so that cricket lovers and Lara fans in Trinidad and Tobago and around the English-speaking Caribbean will be able to screen the film and share in the excitement.

Directed by award-nominated UK director and lifelong cricket fan, Sam Lockyer, “501 Not Out” was inspired by the extraordinary career of Brian Lara. Twenty-five years after Lara’s world-record-breaking innings for Warwickshire at Edgbaston in the UK, the documentary tells the story of cricket’s first global superstar.

“I am truly honoured that ‘501 Not Out’ will be opening the trinidad+tobago film festival this year!” said the film’s director, Sam Lockyear. “I have fulfilled a long-held dream in making the film and I hope that it is a fitting tribute to the genius of Brian Lara, my childhood hero and the greatest cricketer to ever live. For the film to be screened where this incredible story begins means a great deal to me and to everyone here at Iconic Productions. I cannot wait for everyone to see it… Thank you ttff!”

Featuring rarely seen archive footage and stills, the film explores Lara’s remarkable ascent in 1994 and celebrates his development in Trinidad. It features interviews with iconic names from the world of cricket, including some of Lara’s former international and county teammates from the historic treble-winning season, his friends and coaches in Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean, fans who witnessed the marathon knock first-hand and those inspired by his heroics. 

“We are thrilled to be screening an opening night film that has such resonance with us at home and around the Caribbean. Brian Lara is a cricket legend! Sam’s film will give our Caribbean audiences the chance to relive Lara’s astonishing, record-breaking performance. With ttff making the switch to a primarily online festival this year, we decided to screen the opening night film online as well, and we have some lovely things in store for attendees,” said interim executive director of FILMCO, Mariel Brown. 

With 120+ films being screened online during the festival period 09-15 September, ‘501 Not Out’ will have its Caribbean premiere at ttff/20.  The opening night event will be held online at online.ttfilmfestival.com from 7pm AST, 09 September, 2020.

Opening Night tickets cost TT$50 (US$7.50), and are available now for online purchase at here. Tickets can also be paid for in advance via online bank transfer, or at the ttff office at 22 Jerningham Ave, Belmont. For more information on tickets, call the ttff office at (+)1.868.323.3228 or email Kamille at hello@ttfilmfestival.com

trinidad+tobago film festival is given leading sponsorship by the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts, contributing sponsorship by Republic Bank Ltd, with Shell T&T supporting ttff/20 online industry events. 

Image credit: courtesy ttff/20 and Iconic Productions

ttff/20 industry programme

trinidad+tobago film festival is proud to announce the industry programme for this year’s edition! From the Caribbean to Latin America, Europe to North America, our masterclass and workshop facilitators, presenters and panelists are a diverse, international and award-winning group of filmmakers.

Online industry events and training will be offered as panels and presentations, which will be free and live-streamed via the ttff Facebook page; or workshops, which will be ticketed and take place via Zoom. For Zoom workshops, tickets must be paid for in full and in advance, and Zoom links will be sent in advance of workshop commencement. All workshop tickets are available at ttfilmfestival.com (see event-specific ticket links below). They can also be purchased via bank transfer or in person at our office at 22 Jerningham Ave.

Please register for our industry events here, and one of the ttff team will be in touch to arrange payment and/ or send Zoom links as necessary.

Please email Catherine at admin@filmco.org for information on payment options and discount codes. FILMCO members, filmmakers with a film in this year’s festival and students with valid photo IDs can receive a discount on all workshops.

*If you sign up for three or more ‘paid-for’  industry events at once, you will be entitled to a total discount of 30% off the ticket price.

ttff’s online industry events are made possible thanks to the support of Shell Trinidad and Tobago Ltd.


Masterclass

The Art of Creative Producing

with Lee Thomas

07–11 September, 2.30pm–4.00pm
Tickets: $1,000 TTD / $150 USD
Online via Zoom

In a world where all the gatekeepers seem to want to say “No,” it’s sometimes difficult to survive as a producer and get your projects out into the world. This intensive five-part masterclass on the art of creatively and sustainably producing your film will be facilitated by acclaimed UK film and television producer, Lee Thomas.

Click here for more information.

This workshop is no longer available. Thank you for your interest.


Workshops

Build Your Film’s Website with the Magic of WordPress

with Shaun Rambaran

10 September, 12.30pm–2.30pm and 3.30pm–5.30pm
Tickets: $240 TTD / $35 USD
Online via Zoom

Websites have become an essential tool in a film’s promotional kit, but they can often cost a fortune to produce. Join web developer Shaun Rambaran as he gives this essential wide-ranging lesson in preparing and running your own website using WordPress.

This workshop is no longer available. Thank you for your interest.

Cost-Effective Lighting for Film

with Robert Macfarlane

10–11 September, 9.30am–12.30pm
Tickets: $360 TTD / $56 USD
Online via Zoom

Lighting is fundamental to film: it creates mood and atmosphere, and adds to a sense of meaning. In this two-day online workshop led by narrative film director Robert Macfarlane, participants will learn how to cost-effectively achieve professional lighting systems for their projects.

Click here for more information.

This workshop is no longer available. Thank you for your interest.

Edit Your Trailer like a Pro!

with Ryan C. Khan

11 September, 9.30am–12.30pm and 2.30pm–5.30pm
Tickets: $360 TTD / $56 USD

In this all-day workshop, facilitator Ryan C. Khan will explore the key elements of a good trailer – what aspects of the story to leave in and leave out; graphics; the right music; and essential information to include in all trailers.

Click here for more information.

This workshop is no longer available. Thank you for your interest.

Breaking it Down:
The Role of the DP

with Gabrielle Blackwood

14 September, 10.00am–1.00pm
Tickets: $180 TTD / $28 USD
Online via Zoom

Understanding the role of the film’s director of photography, and the various departments the dp works with, is invaluable before beginning a project. This foundational three-hour workshop, led by Jamaican director and dp Gabrielle Blackwood, will discuss the role and process of the director of photography, both on and off set.

Click here for more information.

This workshop is no longer available. Thank you for your interest.


Presentations

Social Media Marketing for Filmmakers

with Neala Bhagwansingh

10 September, 12.00pm–1.30pm
Online via Facebook Live @ttfilmfestival

Love it or hate it, social media has become a valuable tool for independent filmmakers. In this ttff/20 presentation, practitioner Neala Bhagwansingh will share invaluable tools and tips for harnessing the power of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to drive interest and investment in you and your film projects.

This presentation is no longer available. Thank you for your interest.

Navigating Contracts and Clearances

with Dionne Mcnicol-Stephenson and Cindy F. Daniel

10 september, 9.30am–11.30am
Online via Facebook Live @ttfilmfestival

If the words ‘contract’ and ‘clearance’ keep you staring at the ceiling at night, you’re not alone. This enlightening two-hour session led by facilitators Dionne McNicol-Stephenson and Cindy F. Daniel will guide listeners through the main types of film contracts including the often-misunderstood collection of music clearances and rights.

This presentation is no longer available. Thank you for your interest.

Getting Ready for Distribution

with Patricia Martin

11 September, 9.30am–11.30am
Online via Facebook Live @ttfilmfestival

Sales agents, distributors and digital outlets expect more than just an HD master to release a film. ttff/20 is pleased to present this integral talk on distribution facilitated by Patricia Martin of Habanero Film Sales in Brazil, in which Martin will explain why filmmakers must start budgeting and preparing their team for distribution long before heading out to film.

This presentation is no longer available. Thank you for your interest.


ttff Talk with Orlando von Einsiedel

ttff talk with Academy Award-winning filmmaker, Orlando von Einsiedel
12 September, 10.30am–11.30am
Online via Facebook Live @ttfilmfestival

In this, our first ever ttff talk, we’ll be sitting down for a wide-ranging discussion with Academy Award-winning documentary director, Orlando von Einsiedel, on documentary filmmaking, curiosity and finding compelling stories in some of the world’s most dangerous places.

This presentation is no longer available. Thank you for your interest.


Every year, the ttff presents filmmakers’ panels, which provide an opportunity for local, regional and international filmmakers to come together to discuss the shared experience of making films within an independent industry context.

Filmmaker Panels

Narrative Filmmakers Panel

with Shola Amoo (‘The Last Tree’), Akkel ‘Lee’ Charles (‘Get Free’), Isabella Issa (‘Yellow Girl and Me’), Calyx Passailaigue (‘Zeen?’), and Héctor M. Valdez (‘Malpaso’)
9 September, 11.00am–12.30pm
Online via Facebook Live @ttfilmfestival

Documentary Filmmakers Panel

with Henrique Amud (‘Stunned, I Remain Alert’), Gabrielle Blackwood (‘Unbroken’), Sam Lockyer (‘501 Not Out’), Shari Petti (‘Jump!’), and Michèle Stephenson (‘Stateless’)
12 September, 1.00pm–2.30pm
Online via Facebook Live @ttfilmfestival

Workshop: Breaking it Down: The Role of the DP

Understanding the role of the film’s director of photography, and the various departments the dp works with, is invaluable before beginning a project. 

This foundational three-hour workshop, led by Jamaican director and dp Gabrielle Blackwood, will discuss the role and process of the director of photography, both on and off set. Participants will be guided through the pre- and post-production stages of a film from the perspective of the dp. Blackwood will discuss everything from pre-production site visits, vision boards, shot listing and storyboarding, to post-production planning including colour grading and, where relevant, special effects.

This workshop will also delve into the working relationships you’ll enjoy as a dp, from collaborating closely with members of the creative team such as directors and production designers to liaising with the technical brains of the project – your gaffer, grips and camera department. In the last hour of the workshop, Blackwood will present a live colour-grading segment.

Prerequisites

Participants should have an understanding of and grounding in film that includes a basic knowledge of cinematography.

Logistics

date: 14 september
duration: three hours
times: 10:00am-1:00pm AST
book online now: Tickets are $180TTD/ $28USD. They are available here.

FILMCO members and filmmakers with a film in this year’s festival will receive a 20% discount on the ticket price. To receive a discount code, please email admin@filmco.org.

This workshop will be conducted online via Zoom, so we welcome participants from around the Caribbean.

About Gabrielle Blackwood

Gabrielle Blackwood is an award-winning Jamaican director and director of photography who has written, directed and shot short films, documentaries and commercials in both Jamaica and New Zealand. Her films have been screened at the Pan African Film Festival in LA, Diversity in Cannes (Audience Award, Best Short), American Black Film Festival, Festival International du Film Panafricain de Cannes (Best Short), LA Film & Script Film Festival (Best Short Doc) and the Trinidad & Tobago Film Festival (Best Doc Feature nominee) among others. Gabrielle is a recipient of the Geoff Evans Award for Excellence in Screen Production in New Zealand.

Her feature screenplay ‘Kendal’ was shortlisted for a Sundance Lab and the ScreenCraft Drama Feature Writing Competition and was the winner of the Caribbean Tales 2019 Big Pitch Competition. Born in Jamaica, Gabrielle earned her Masters (Hons) and Post Grad Dip. in Screen Production from the University of Auckland, New Zealand and a BA (Hons) in Media and Communication from the University of the West Indies. She is the immediate past president of the Jamaica Film and Television Association (JAFTA), a co-convenor of Women In Film Jamaica and resides in Kingston, Jamaica where she works as an independent filmmaker.

In Competition: Feature-Length Narrative and Documentary Films

Chosen from the Caribbean section which comprises feature-length films from the Caribbean, the diaspora, and films by international filmmakers made in and about the region, the narrative and documentary films in competition for the Best Feature-Length Narrative Film and Best Feature-Length Documentary award are:

narrative films:

La Imagen del Tiempo (Timeless Havana), dir. Jeissy Trompiz
Malpaso,
dir. Héctor M Valdez

documentary films:

501 Not Out, dir. Sam Lockyer
A Media Voz (In a Whisper), dirs. Patricia Pérez Fernández and Heidi Hassan
Servidão (Servitude), dir. Renato Barbieri
Stateless, dir. Michèle Stephenson

Image: production still from ‘Stateless‘, directed by Michèle Stephenson

synopses

narrative films

La Imagen del Tiempo (Timeless Havana)
Directed by Jeissy Trompiz/ 2019/ Cuba/ 70 minutes

Shot through the eyes of Felipe, a tortured film director trying in vain to create the authentic portrayal of love that his grandfather so easily captured in his amateur films of decades prior, his lens follows Edel and May, actors playing the characters Alejandro and Rita, strangers with different motives looking for the same girl. Their search meanders through a chaotic Havana that gets them simultaneously nowhere and entangled. Likewise, Felipe’s film meanders from scene to scene lacking a coherent thread and conclusion and leaving him unsatisfied. He is incapable of capturing the compassion in his takes that his grandfather did until he realizes that – unlike himself – his grandfather had the capacity for love. With his new-found awareness, he sets his characters free from their hopeless search.

Malpaso
Directed by Héctor M. Valdez/ 2019/ Dominican Republic, Haiti/ 80 minutes

Candido and Braulio are twin brothers growing up near the border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic. While Candido stays home secluded due to his albinism, Braulio helps his grandfather sell coal in the market. Their life takes a turn for the worst after the unexpected death of their grandfather. Now Braulio will need to look after his brother while attempting to make ends meet in the border town market. All the while, Candido dreams of the eventual return of their absent father.

documentaries

501 Not Out
Directed by Sam Lockyer/ 2019/ Trinidad and Tobago, United Kingdom/ 108 minutes

Over 25 years on from Brian Lara’s world-record-breaking innings for Warwickshire at Edgbaston in the UK, brand-new documentary “501 Not Out” tells the story of cricket’s first global superstar.

Exploring Lara’s remarkable ascent in 1994, the film celebrates his development in Trinidad and features interviews with iconic names from the world of cricket. These include his former international and county teammates from the historic treble-winning season, his friends and coaches in the Caribbean, fans who witnessed the marathon knock first hand and those inspired by his heroics. Notable contributions come from Sir Curtly Ambrose, Allan Donald, Dermot Reeve, Gladstone Small, Dennis Amiss, Jonathan Agnew, Ian Bell, Deryck Murray, Bryan Davis and Trini Posse Group co-founders Nikki Borde and Nigel Camacho.

Featuring rarely seen archive footage and stills, the film also examines the wider impact of Lara’s arrival and success at Warwickshire, coming so soon after his test record 375. “501 Not Out” brings an amazing story to life on the big screen for the very first time.

A Media Voz (In a Whisper)
Directed by Patricia Pérez Fernández and Heidi Hassan/ 2019/ Cuba, France, Spain, Switzerland/ 80 minutes

Two childhood friends entering their forties, facing the challenges of emigration, try to rebuild their lives far away from Cuba. An intimate and revealing auto-ethnographic documentary about uprootedness, motherhood, love of film, and freedom. Told through the audiovisual correspondence between two filmmakers and Cuban emigrants, it is a story of friendship and exile.

Servidão (Servitude)
Directed by Renato Barbieri/ 2019/ Brazil/ 72 minutes

A feature-length documentary about contemporary slave labour focusing on the Brazilian Amazon, “Servidão” follows the work of the Special Mobile Inspection Group of the Ministry of Labour. Through the testimony of modern abolitionists and rural workers it explores the links between contemporary slavery and a cruel slave-holding mentality that has existed in Brazil for five centuries. With narration by Negra Li, it is an important record of one of Brazil’s greatest ills.

Stateless
Directed by Michèle Stephenson/ 2020/ Canada/ 95 minutes

In 1937, tens of thousands of Haitians and Dominicans of Haitian descent were exterminated by the Dominican army, on the basis of anti-black racism. Fast-forward to 2013 and the Dominican Republic’s Supreme Court strips the citizenship of anyone with Haitian parents, retroactive to 1929, rendering more than 200,000 people stateless. Director Michèle Stephenson’s new documentary follows the grassroots campaign of a young attorney named Rosa Iris, as she challenges electoral corruption and fights to protect the right to citizenship for all people.

Images: production stills from ‘Malpaso’, directed by Héctor M Valdez, and ‘Stateless’, directed by Michèle Stephenson

Meet ttff/20 Festival Artist, Mark King

Our festival artist for the 15th edition of the trinidad+tobago film festival is the talented interdisciplinary artist, Mark King, whose work combines fashion, surface design, sculpture and installation to name just a few of the tools he uses. FILMCO’s education coordinator, Catherine Emmanuel, spoke with King about his work, his interests and thoughts on being our ttff/20 festival artist.

ttff You work in many varied mediums such as photography, fashion and surface design. What drew you to this diverse combination of tools?

MK My curiosity and general interests are what pushed me to explore these mediums. A strong desire to communicate abstract concepts in different ways guides this approach. It is also through collaboration that I am able to experiment with a wide range of creative tools in both my fine art and commercial life.

ttff How do you use these mediums to explore the subjects that interest you?

MK Each medium plays a role in the expression and transmission of a concept. The decision to use any medium, whether independently or in a grouping, depends on many factors. I’m concerned with how people engage with my work. Lately, I have been thinking of the objects I create as artifacts that go on to be activated/animated by the owner, wearer, or viewer.

ttff Your work is focused on examining the ‘underlying forces that guide our behaviour’. Can you tell us what your work has allowed you to observe and learn about this in the last few years?

MK A great example is a recent collaboration called, ​Look on me and be renewed ​(2018). Commissioned by Up Projects and the Science Gallery of London for their HOOKED exhibition, the project enabled me to further expand my practice in this direction. It was a collaboration with Dr John Marsden, Professor of Addiction Psychology at King’s College London and Changing 7, a group of people with lived experience of treatment and recovery from substance use. ​Look on me and be renewed​ invited viewers to reflect on the interplay between human beings, objects and environments, highlighting how visual prompts from our surroundings are connected to the behavioural patterns and rhythms that govern or determine our decisions and experiences.

Empathic Loops/Ode to the Widow’s Walk, 2018
Archival inkjet print 16 x 22.4 in (40.64 x 56.9 cm)
Edition of 5
Kimono made in collaboration with fashion designer, Bregje Cox. 

ttff As a Caribbean artist who’s lived in the region as well as abroad, how do you think this has shaped and influenced your work?

MK I feel that my international experience has made me curious about what rests beneath the surface and how it shapes our behavior on a cultural level. Living in the region and internationally has expanded my network of friends and collaborators. This has inspired me to create work that speaks to many disparate groups of people.

ttff  Do you think your early childhood moves played a role in your development as an artist?

MK Most definitely! I started drawing as a toddler living in Barbados. I took my first after school art classes while growing up in Nassau, Bahamas and continued taking after school classes through middle school and high school in Brussels, Belgium. It gave me the confidence to know that it was possible to be a different kind of artist.

ttff Who and what are your major influences?

MK Lately I’ve found the practices of artists Llanor Alleyne, Olafur Eliasson, Hella Jongerius, Nyugen Smith, the Third Horizon collective, and Rodell Warner to be a source of great inspiration.

ttff What are you presently working on?

MK I’m working with Dutch fashion designer, Bregje Cox on our Enclothed Cognition collaboration. That’s me in the ttff artwork (​Untitled,​ 2017) wearing our VIRTUAL suit. We are currently developing new textiles and have a collaboration with site-specific dance company, Tori Lawrence + Co. in the works. Other than that, I have my personal studio practice and am working as a Creative Director in Pop-Up Magazine’s Brand Studio.

Untitled, 2017

ttff  What are your thoughts on being ttff/20’s festival artist?

MK I’m honored to be named this year’s ttff festival artist. I’ve wanted to participate in the festival for many years now. I’m not a filmmaker (yet) and being invited to contribute as a festival artist always seemed like an ideal way to participate creatively. I’ve admired ttff from next door in Barbados for many years but have yet to attend. It’s always been a standout festival in my mind.

ttff How do you view ttff and its role within the region?

MK ttff is one of the most important film platforms in the region. That makes it significant to the global film industry. There aren’t many opportunities for Caribbean filmmakers to screen their films let alone network, attend workshops, update their skills through masterclasses. This is what makes ttff special and significant in the Caribbean arts/film community.

ttff What impact would you like your work to have?

MK I want it to catch your attention and encourage you to think of a once familiar subject in a totally new way. It is my hope that my works get one to spark delight and thought long after I am gone.

ttff Has the (COVID-19) pandemic affected your work in terms of the topics and issues you want to explore?

MK It has instilled a sense of urgency following the initial shock of it all. The focus of my artwork hasn’t changed much since the pandemic is exposing the vulnerabilities of our current systems, many of which I have come to interrogate through my artwork. For example, our relationship with artifacts and the built environment are still important and have an impact on our well-being. That isn’t going to change. The pandemic provides new context and perspectives.

You can learn more about Mark King’s work by visiting his site:
markkingismarkings.com

In Competition: Trinidad+Tobago Films and Youth Jury

Every year, ttff highlights homegrown talent and excellence by awarding prizes for Best Trinidad+Tobago Film. In competition for this year’s prize are the following films:

  • Get Free!, dir. Akkel Charles
  • I Don’t Call it Ghetto, dir. Miquel Galofré
  • Mightier dan de Sun, dir. Trevon C. Jugmohan
  • Waiting In Strange Times, dir. Kristof West

The Youth Jury views and considers for award recognition, films which focus on young protagonists dealing with coming-of-age issues, challenges and triumphs. These are the films in competition for the Best Film as Selected by the Youth Jury:

  • Avatara, dir. Nadav Harel
  • Choosing Destiny, dirs. Angelo Berkeley and Shemaiah Trotman 
  • Isla Serena (Serene Island), dir. Leonel González
  • K.I.N.G, dir. Rashad Frett
  • Mortenol, dir. Julien Silloray
  • Yellow Girl and Me, dir. Isabella Issa

synopses

Best Trinidad+Tobago Film

Get Free!

Directed by Akkel Charles/ 2019/Trinidad and Tobago/ Narrative Medium/ 37 minutes

Twenty-one-year-old Iris’ life is endangered as her ex-boyfriend returns to seek unwanted closure. A series of events unfold as we see what was, and what still is, between them. A raw, realist exploration of violence against women.

I Don’t Call it Ghetto

Directed by Miquel Galofré/ 2019/ Trinidad and Tobago/ Documentary Medium/ 42 minutes

Single, divorced, mother-of-three, police officer Onika James-Turner has had a life filled with challenges, obstacles and heartache. In “I Don’t Call it Ghetto”, we see how her difficult past has only made her stronger, impelling her to reach for a different life, one in which she could help her community. We witness the great pride she takes in the work that she does, and how she is driven by the desire to be “part of the solution and not part of the problem”. Her three children are the centre of her life and a new husband gives her strength. But she still faces the challenge of raising a teenage son in an area known for crime and must work hard to build trust in her role as a police officer.

Mightier dan de Sun

Directed by Trevon C. Jugmohan/ 2020/ Trinidad and Tobago/ Narrative Medium/37 minutes

Ten years in the making and filmed in Trinidad and Tobago with a team of home-grown professionals, “Mightier dan de Sun” is the story of an Indian couple with nothing to lose. In combination with mental illness and supernatural forces, alcohol becomes a catalyst for unfortunate events.

Waiting In Strange Times

Directed by Kristof West/ 2020/ Trinidad and Tobago/ Narrative Short/4 minutes

Set in Trinidad during the lockdown imposed by the government to prevent the spread of Covid-19, “Waiting In Strange Times” explores space and time during a period of boredom, uncertainty, confusion and fear.

Best Film as Decided by the Youth Jury

Avatara

Directed by Nadav Harel/ 2020/ Israel/ Documentary Short/ 25 minutes

Set in the cultural frontier zone of the Hindu Himalaya, “Avatara” (from the Sanskrit, “descent”) explores the lived religion of goddess worship (Shaktism) in a remote pastoral valley. For her farmer and herder followers, the goddess’s presence is all too real; quick to anger and ever-thirsty for sacrifices, she haunts them in their dreams and rituals, demanding complete submission as both child-like friend and motherly-punisher. In this enchanted world of magical creativity, the encounters with the goddess are transient, intuitive events that hold the key to creation and, for those lucky enough to see her, a short-lived salvation.

Choosing Destiny

Directed by Angelo Berkeley and Shemaiah Trotman/ 2019/ Trinidad and Tobago/ Narrative Medium/ 35 minutes

Two high school students are faced with life-changing choices as they try to navigate their love and the difficult circumstances that surround them. Tackling the contemporary issues of teenage pregnancy, abortion, suicide and illegal drugs, “Choosing Destiny” follows young people at a crossroads in their lives.

Isla Sirena (Serene Island)

Directed by Leonel González/ 2019/ Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela/ Narrative Short/ 15 minutes

Vivi, a young inhabitant of a fishing village, takes a trip by road and sea with her friend Vale to get to an island where, according to the stories of her dead mother, the mermaids live.

K.I.N.G.

Directed by Rashad Frett/ 2019/ United States of America/ Narrative Short/ 12 minutes

In the aftermath of Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria, a troubled boy is sent to Connecticut from the Virgin Islands to temporarily stay with his paternal aunt. In hopes of seeing his deadbeat father after broken promises, he ventures out into an unfamiliar city to find him.

Mortenol

Directed by Julien Silloray/ 2019/ Guadeloupe/ Narrative Short/ 28 minutes

Eleven-year-old Dwayne wants to avenge his older brother who was killed by an enemy gang.

Yellow Girl and Me

Directed by Isabella Issa/ 2019/ United States/ Narrative Short/ 9 minutes

Set in the Jamaican countryside, a young child named Nicole waits for her sister, Yellow Girl, to teach her how to swim. Like the water, Nicole does not resist; she flows, and nothing can stand in her way. Circumstances escalate when Yellow Girl breaks her promise and Nicole realizes that she is next in line for a lifestyle of sexual abuse. Nicole is forced to decide how far she will go in order to protect herself and her sister.

Images: production stills from ‘Mightier dan de Sun’, directed by Trevon C. Jugmohan and ‘K.I.N.G’, directed by Rashad Frett

independence greetings and ‘love t&t’ films!

Tickets for Online Screenings

ttff/20 Presentations: ‘Social Media Marketing’, ‘Navigating Contracts & Clearances’, and ‘Getting Ready for Distribution’

Workshop: Build Your Film’s Website with the Magic of WordPress

Announcing the ttff/20 Opening Night Film: ‘501 Not Out’

ttff/20 industry programme

Workshop: Breaking it Down: The Role of the DP

In Competition: Feature-Length Narrative and Documentary Films

Meet ttff/20 Festival Artist, Mark King

In Competition: Trinidad+Tobago Films and Youth Jury

View the #filmmakerfriday Playlist on Youtube

ttff/21 Merchandise

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Invitation to submit your film to ttff/21.

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