Excellence in local and Caribbean filmmaking was recognised on Sunday, September 30, as the trinidad+tobago film festival (ttff) held its annual gala awards ceremony at the National Academy for the Performing Arts in Port-of-Spain.
Over TT$170,000 in cash and other prizes were up for grabs as various awards were handed out in jury and people’s choice categories.
Winning big on the night was Toussaint L’Ouverture, a sweeping two-part historical epic about the Haitian Revolution, directed by Philippe Niang.
The film scooped the People’s Choice Award for Best Narrative Feature, as well as the jury prize for Best Actor in a Caribbean Film. That award went to the Haitian actor Jimmy Jean-Louis, who played Toussaint in the film and who was on hand to collect his prize.
Best Narrative Feature as decided by the jury was Distance, a touching, understated drama about an elderly farmer searching for his kidnapped daughter in the aftermath of the Guatemalan civil war, written and directed by Sergio Ramírez. The film’s producer, Joaquín Ruano, accepted the award on the director’s behalf.
The prize for Best Documentary Feature went to the The Story of Lover’s Rock, Menelik Shabazz’s, feelgood music film, while Ida Does captured the prize for Best Short for Peace: Memories of Anton de Kom, a moving portrait of the Surinamese writer and anti-colonial activist.
In the T&T films category, Mariel Brown won Best Local Film for her authoritative documentary about Eric Williams, Inward Hunger, while Ryan Latchmansingh’s gritty drama Where the Sun Sets, the story of a fisherman caught up in a life of crime, won Best Local Short.
Janine Fung’s joyful documentary about the Lara Brothers parang group, La Gaita, took away the People’s Choice Award for Best Documentary. Buck: The Man Spirit, an entertaining thriller-horror written and directed by Steven Taylor, nabbed the People’s Choice Award for Best Short.
The ttff/12, which ended on October 2, was the largest edition of the Festival to date, with over 120 films being screened. More than half of those films were T&T productions.
Fo a complete list of the awards, go here.
Image: A shot from Toussaint L’Ouverture