When an audience member commented that Ray looked like a scary person to shoot, Low said that, no, Ray had been extremely obliging throughout the interview process, which took place over a few days, fairly recently after Ray had been ill. Low said that the making of the film had been a happy experience and that what he ultimately took out of it wasn’t the cultural differences between himself and Ray but the lesson that “the distance between us is very small; we’re closer than we think.” Another crucial point that Low brought up at the Q&A; was the importance of a filmmaker finding and then using his or her own visual language. And, as for spoken language, Low firmly believes that it shouldn’t be a barrier to understanding a film as, “the most important moments are felt, not spoken. There’s no need to state things when you can show them.”
Pat, on the other hand, took a slightly different approach to her film, which relied, in part, on a spoken narrative. When asked why she chose to make the film and why she chose to call it what she did, Pat replied: “I wanted to make a film about India but specifically for Trinidad & Tobago . . . As for the name: ‘coolie’ has been used as a derogative word [to describe people of Indian descent] so I wanted to confront the use of the word in order to remove the stigma attached to it. The second part, the ‘pink and green’ I included for aesthetic value.” The film emerged in a different way—through verse—as Pat wanted to “move beyond the style of documentaries. Instead of talking heads I decided to go to something more poetic,” she noted.
The ttff heritage element acknowledges and celebrates the various national cultures that have influenced the Caribbean, and Trinidad and Tobago in particular. In this, our inaugural year of the heritage element of the festival, the focus was on India. Next year we’re thinking Africa but we’ll, of course, confirm that once we’re sure!
Christopher Din Chong, production and editing assistant of Coolie Pink and Green speaks after the screening. To his left is crew member, Michael Mooledhar
Adam Low (centre) speaks with visiting filmmaker, Juan Gélas, and ttff creative director, Emilie Upczak before the screening of his documentary