Eleven years ago, Michael Mooleedhar and Christian James met at the University of the West Indies. It was the first time that the institution had offered a Degree in film and they were among the first class of undergraduates who enrolled to pursue the course. In 2014, armed with Film Degrees and a Masters in Creative Design Entrepreneurship and Fine Arts in Creative Producing, respectively – the creative minds reconnected to work on their first feature length film – Green Days by the River – an adaptation of the 1967 novel by renowned Trinidadian author, Michael Anthony
A Caribbean classic which has stood the test of time, Green Days by the River is an intriguing coming of age story whose plot revolves around a Trinidadian boy named Shellie who goes through all the emotional challenges of adolescent life and having an ailing father. Shellie moves to Mayaro and meets Rosalie and is instantly smitten. But when he meets Joan, he finds himself in a bit of a love triangle.
“We tried to stay true to the book and create something that Trinbagonians can be proud of,” said Mooleedhar, the 32-year-old director of the film, known for his critically-acclaimed short films, including City on the Hill, which won People’s Choice Award at the 2015 Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival. “This film is unique because this is a Trinidad and Tobago story by a Trinidad and Tobago director and producer. It’s being told by us for us.”
Pulling off a production of this magnitude wasn’t easy – or cheap.
Mooleedhar and James – the film’s producer, spent all of 2015 pounding the pavement in search of funding to get the 102-minute film in motion. They approached over 100 companies appealing for financial help and most declined, which they understood given the economy. “Imagine making a creative product and telling a business person that you need them to contribute some amount of money towards the total cost, especially in an economic downturn. So yeah, we got turned down a lot.”
That is, until bmobile stepped in as the film’s title sponsor.