Meet the ttff/15 filmmaker: Michael Rochford

Michael Rochford is a filmmaker from Trinidad and Tobago. His ttff/15 selection, Pendulum, is his first feature film.

Tell us what your film is about in 140 characters or less.
Pendulum is about a former Marine turned journalist investigating the murder of a CEO, which he is accused of committing.

Why should audiences see your film?
Pendulum is a thrill-ride encompassing great characters; a suspenseful mystery with a compelling story to keep you guessing at every turn. It features an all-local cast of young and new talent, and inspiring well-photographed and enthralling imagery.

What was the most challenging thing about making your film?
I can’t say that there was one major challenge as much as there were several little things, some more serious than others. For example, making the film (shooting, writing, editing) while juggling school activities was a challenge. Finding the right team was another challenge. Also, being respected as a filmmaker in the Caribbean proved to be difficult. The film was very ambitious and took a lot of preparation. Hours of careful pre-production had to be done in order to achieve what we did.

What did making this film teach you?
Making this film was definitely a lesson in endurance; being strong and trusting that my vision would work out. There were many times while working on Pendulum that I would wonder, “How in the world I will get all of this done?” I would contemplate shortening it or doing something simpler. But I had to persevere. With Pendulum I learned about the necessity of collaboration more than any other project I worked on. You really need very sensible and competent people to work with pulling the project through.

Complete the sentence: “If I weren’t a filmmaker…”
If I weren’t a filmmaker I would be telling stories in some other way…or doing other forms of art.

What films or filmmakers inspired you?
Star Wars, Men in Black and The Matrix were seminal films that spurred me into this passion for filmmaking. Movie-watching heavily impacted my childhood and early teenage years and I loved the movie theatre a lot. Steven Spielberg, David Lean and Orson Welles have had profound influence on my art and in the shaping of my own voice as a filmmaker. Those guys are fantastic! As for Caribbean film, I think Bim is one of the best films ever made. I remember seeing it and being impressed at how masterfully it was done. It has inspired me greatly.

If you could only watch one film ever again, what would it be?
It would probably be Men in Black mostly for the nostalgic [hold] it has on me. I just adore the time I saw it and where I was in life as a child. It brings back wonderful memories and feelings of creativity growing up.

What’s next?
Apart from finding a job, I am constantly writing so I have a lot of ideas. There is one film in particular that I really want to make and I think it will be my best work yet.

Pendulum screens at the ttff/15 as follows:

Thu 17 Sept, 6.30pm, MovieTowne POS Q&A
Fri 25 Sept, 4.00, MovieTowne POS Q&A
Fri 25 Sept, 8.00pm, MovieTowne Tobago
Sat 26 Sept, 6.30pm, UWI Q&A
Mon 28 Sept, 3.00pm, MovieTowne Tobago

Image: A still from Pendulum

Date: Fri 04 Sep, 2015
Category: ttff news and features
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Meet the ttff/15 filmmaker: Michael Rochford

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