Friday, 27 July 2012

Tell us what Independence means to you

The trinidad+tobago film festival and Flow are inviting filmmakers to submit short films on the topic of Independence to a film competition celebrating the country’s 50th Independence anniversary.

Entitled Side by Side, in tribute to T+T’s national anthem, the competition is seeking the best 50-second films that express what “Independence” means to the filmmaker.

Submissions will be accepted on any interpretation of the word “independence” and filmmakers are encouraged to be as creative as they wish and explore any aspect of what the word means to them.

The competition is open to filmmakers of all ages, amateurs as well as professionals. Submissions will be accepted from July 1 to August 1, 2012.

Directors of the five best films will each win a Flow package of services, valued at a total of $40,000. Additionally, the best film overall will be awarded TT$5,000 at the ttff awards ceremony on September 30. Films are to be submitted via private link on YouTube and must be of a minimum resolution of 720 x 480 NTSC.
trinidad+tobago film festival 12
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Friday, 15 June 2012

Focus to win $20,000

RBC Focus: Filmmakers’ Immersion
Presented by the ttff + RBC Royal Bank

25 – 28 September 2012
Application deadline: July 13
The trinidad+tobago film festival (ttff), in association with RBC Royal Bank, invites applications for the second annual RBC Focus: Filmmakers’ Immersion. The Immersion is an intensive four-day development programme culminating in a competitive pitch session with a prize of TT$20,000 for one winner.

Mission and objective
RBC Focus: Filmmakers’ Immersion will provide ten selected Caribbean filmmakers working in the documentary field with the opportunity to learn from professional film artists. It will be held from 25–28 September 2012 in Trinidad during the ttff/12 (19 September–02 October).
Focus will include group discussions and exercises on a range of documentary filmmaking techniques and strategies, opening participants to the creative possibilities of the artform.
Each filmmaker will enter Focus with a concept for a feature-length documentary film and in the course of the programme develop a detailed treatment.

Lab facilitators
The facilitators for Focus are two internationally respected film-industry professionals: Jamaican-American filmmaker and teacher Alrick Brown, and documentary story consultant Fernanda Rossi, born and raised in Buenos Aires and based in New York for the past 17 years. Mr Brown is the writer and director of the award-winning feature Kinyarwanda (2011) and producer of the acclaimed documentary Death of Two Sons (2006). Among the many documentaries Ms Rossi has consulted on are the Academy Award-nominated The Garden (2009) and Recycled Life (2007). Her signature presentations have been given to over 40 organisations in over a dozen countries.

Pitch session and competition
At the end of Focus, the facilitators will choose their top five participants. These five participants will then pitch their project to a five-member jury at a public event during the ttff/12. The participant with the best project and pitch, as determined by the jury, will win a cash prize of TT$20,000.

Focus is open to emerging Caribbean filmmakers (citizens or residents of Caribbean countries living and working in the Caribbean) who have completed at least one documentary film (short or feature-length) but not more than two features.

All applicants must submit a maximum five-minute excerpt of a documentary film project on DVD, stating their role(s) on the film (writer and/or director and/or producer). Applicants must also submit their résumé and a cover letter stating, in 100 words or less, the concept of the project they would be bringing to Focus and what makes it unique. Participants will be determined based on the strength of all three of these items.

Applications should be sent via mail or delivered in person to:
Jonathan Ali
Editorial Director
trinidad + tobago film festival
199 Belmont Circular Road
Port of Spain
Trinidad and Tobago

The deadline for applications is 13 July, 2012. Successful applicants will be notified by 1 August.
Submitted materials will not be returned.

If you have any questions, please contact

Friday, 27 April 2012

Tagore Film Festival - Char Adhyay: Four Chapters (Mon 7 May)

Char Adhyay (1997)
English Title: Four Chapters

110 minutes

Director: Kumar Shahani

Writer: Kumar Shahani

Stars: Sumanto Chattopadhyay, Nandini Ghosal and Kauskhik Gopal

Adapted from a novella by Rabindranath Tagore, Char Adhyay captures the ideals of the Bengali Renaissance of the 1930s. A group of young intellectuals and revolutionaries, led by the brilliant young Indranath, is fighting for independence from the colonial system.

Ela, a beautiful spirited young man is a member of a group of armed revolutionaries during the freedom struggle. She is at once the mascot and the spirit of the movement. Within the group she meets Atin and falls in love. The unyielding nature of the movement decrees that they cannot be together. As Ela and Atin start questioning the indoctrination and the ideology of the movement, they come into conflict with the leaders of the group. The film is the story of this conflict between beuty, love and humanism and the harsh ideology and the indoctrination of the revolutionary struggle.

Tagore Film Festival - Teen Kanya: Two Daughters (Sun 6 May)

Teen Kanya (1961)
English Title: Two Daughters

Comedy/ Drama
173 minutes

Director: Satyajit Ray 

Writers: Satyajit Ray, Rabindranath Tagore (stories)

Stars: Anil Chatterjee, Chanada Banerjee and Sita Mukherjee

The first story is about Nanda, a young man who leaves Calcutta to work as a postmaster in an isolated malaria-infested village. The postmaster is looked after by a young orphan girl, Ratan. His only solace in the village is in teaching Ratan how to read and write. The second story is about a student, Amulya, who returns to his village after finishing his exams. His widowed mother is very anxious for him to marry, and has already picked out a girl. He rejects his mother's choice and, being forced to choose some girl, marries a lively tomboy who is not ready to give up her freedom. Written by Will Gilbert  

Tagore Film Festival - Khudito Pashan: Hungry Stones (Sat 5 May)

Khudito Pashan (1960)
English Title: Hungry Stones
117 minutes

Director: Tapan Sinha

Writers: Rabindranath Tagore (story), Tapan Sinha (Scenario)

Stars: Arundhati Devi, Soumitra Chatterjee and Chhabi Biswas

The film is adapted from a story called Hungry Stones by Rabindranath Tagore. A tax collector posted to a small town puts up at a mansion feared by the locals because it is haunted. As time passes he grows more consumed by the mansion and its air of romance, and the spirits that haunt it, especially a beautiful woman. Written by Ravenus, India  

Tagore Film Festival - Kabuliwala (Thurs 3 May)

Kabuliwala (1961)

95 minutes

Director: Hemen Gupta

Writers: Rabindranath Tagore (story), Vishram Bedekar and S. Khalil (screenplay)

Stars: Balraj Sahni, Sonu and Usha Kiran

Abdur Rehman Khan (Balraj Sahni), a middle-aged dry fruit seller from Afghanistan, comes to Calcutta to hawk his merchandise and befriends a small Bengali girl called Mini (Sonu) who reminds him of his own daughter Amina back in Afghanistan. He puts up at a boarding house along with his countrymen. Since he is short of money he decides to sell his goods on credit for increasing his business. Later, when he goes to collect his money, one of his customers abuses him and in the fight that ensues Rehman warns that he will not tolerate abuse and stabs the man when he does not stop the abuse. In the court Rehman's lawyer tries to obfuscate the facts but in his characteristic and simple fashion Rehman states the truth in a matter of fact way. The judge, pleased with Rehman's honesty, gives him 10 years' rigorous imprisonment instead of the death sentence. On the day of his release, he goes to meet Mini but discovers that she has grown up into a woman and is about to get married. Mini does not recognize Rehman, who realises that his own daughter must have forgotten him too. Mini's father gives Rehman the money for travelling back to Afghanistan out of Mini's wedding budget to which Mini agrees; she also sends a gift for Rehman's daughter. The film ends with Rehman travelling back to his homeland.

Tagore Film Festival - Charulata: The Lonely Wife (Wed 2 May)

Charulata: The Lonely Wife (1964)

Drama/ Romance
117 minutes

Director: Satyajit Ray

Writers: Satyajit Ray, Rabindranath Tagore (story)

Stars: Soumitra Chatterjee, Madhabi Mukherjee and Shailen Mukherjee


Set in British India in the 19th century, the film revolves around Charulata, the beautiful wife of a learned Calcutta intellectual. She sits at home alone while her wealthy husband Bhupati runs his English language newspaper. Upon recognizing her profound loneliness, Bhupati invites his brother-in-law Umapada and wife Mandakini as house guests. Amal, his handsome younger cousin also comes for a visit following his graduation from college. Charu and Amal spend hours reminiscing over literature, poetry and the arts while Bhupati works on his paper. For a short time everyone is content. Then, a tragedy occurs. Umapada absconds with Bhupati's savings, leaving the entrepreneur in terrible debt. But the betrayed man soon realizes that something much more precious than his money is lost. Written by alfiehitchie and Arun K Barua 

Tagore Film Festival

2012 Student Photography Exhibition

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Call for submissions for the ttff/12

Presented by Flow, the trinidad+tobago film festival (ttff) seeks to highlight excellence in filmmaking through the exhibition of films made in the Caribbean region, including Latin American countries in the Caribbean Basin; by Caribbean people of the diaspora; and by international filmmakers that reflect Caribbean culture and way of life both in the region and the diaspora.
The ttff/12 will be held from 19 September to 02 October.
Selected films screened at the Festival are eligible for the following five jury prizes: best narrative feature film (US$4,000); best documentary feature film (US$4,000); best short film (US$2,000); best local feature film (TT$20,000); and best local short film (TT$10,000).
There are also three people’s choice awards, for best dramatic feature, best documentary and best short, each worth TT$5,000.
All selected films are also eligible for screening on Flow’s video on demand service after the Festival.
There is a submission fee of TT$60 (or US$10) per entry.
The Festival screens films in digital and 35mm formats. Entries of various lengths are accepted.
All initial submissions should be made either in digital format (for example, via Dropbox, Yousendit, FTP, Vimeo, Cinando, Festivalscope or personal secure online link), or in NTSC DVD format and must be in English or with English subtitles.
You may also submit via, trinidad+tobago film festival.
All submissions must be accompanied by:
  • Synopsis
  • Running time
  • Year of production (not before 2010)
  • Country of origin
  • Language, and if subtitled
  • Genre
  • Name of director, producer and cast (if appropriate)
  • Short biography of director
  • Festivals screened at/awards won (if any)
  • Contact information
Digital submissions should be sent to
DVD submissions should be sent to:
Annabelle Alcazar
Programme Director
trinidad + tobago film festival
199 Belmont Circular Road
Port of Spain
Trinidad & Tobago
Submitted materials will not be returned.
ttff/12 reserves the right to determine the eligibility of the submissions to be screened at the Festival, the appropriate venues and time slots for the screening of films, and to use excerpts of the films for publicity purposes. All films submitted must have applicable clearances and the Festival will not be held liable.

The ttff seeks to make all screenings at the Festival T&T premieres. Occasionally, however, the Festival considers films that have already been shown in T&T. Please contact us if you have a film that falls into this category.
Please note that there are usually many more submissions than spaces available in the Festival lineup and therefore not all films can be accommodated. This does not necessarily imply that a film has not met the Festival’s criteria or is of poor quality. It may be that we have already selected a film on a similar topic, or that a film is deemed to have already received sufficient public exposure.
The ttff, which is in its seventh year, is held annually in September and receives leading sponsorship from RBC Royal Bank and bpTT, and supporting sponsorship from the Trinidad & Tobago Film Company, the Ministry of Arts and Multiculturalism, the Tourism Development Corporation, the Tobago House of Assembly and the National Gas Company.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Best Films of 2011 - According to Film Students (Part 4)

 Best Films of 2011: Jane Eyre – The Beauty of Subtlety
 A Review by Nadiya Romero
Michael Fassbender
The silent and uninvolved possess the deepest and fiercest passions, as seen in what may be considered the best film adaptation and period piece since Pride and Prejudice in 2005 – Jane Eyre. “A classic for a new generation,” as Rolling Stone describes it, Jane Eyre is emotional and smouldering - elegant and understated all at the same time. While leaving the novel uncompromised and outdoing previous versions, director Cary Fukunaga (Sin Nombre), brings this nineteenth century classic to life with a stellar cast, accurate costumes, gothic set designs and tone, as well as a beautifully composed soundtrack by Italian composer, Dario Marianelli.

Orphaned Jane Eyre is raised by her aunt Sarah, who unfairly ships her off to a strict Catholic boarding school for ‘bad’ behavior. Upon completing her education and turning eighteen, Jane (Mia Wasikowska) leaves the institute and finds work as a governess for Adele Varens (Romy Settbon Moore), the daughter of Edward Fairfax Rochester (Michael Fassbender), owner of Thornfield Hall. Though parentless, penniless and complete with her ‘tale of woe,’ Jane maintains a dignity, modesty and stoicism that leave Adele and her charmingly cold father deeply in love with her. But as Miss Bronte would have it, a shocking secret is revealed on Jane and Rochester’s wedding day, causing the devastated governess to flee the premises and the lives of her loved ones.
Fukunaga could not have chosen a more talented or appropriate set of actors, as there is not one mediocre performance from the opening scene to the bittersweet end. Mia Wasikowska (Alice In Wonderland, The Kids Are Alright) is the archetype of subtle and unconventional beauty, as she gives a performance wrought with quiet emotion, wit and intelligence. Her blunt face reveals everything and nothing, giving her a presence that is as intimidating as it is captivating. In other words, Wasikowska gives an entirely new and ironic meaning to the phrase ‘plain Jane.’ Michael Fassbender (Shame, X-Men: First Class) has had a good year. Another fairly new but wildly talented and attractive actor – Fassbender truly embodies the tormented Rochester, with his cold stare and brooding disposition. Dame Judi Dench, as usual, never disappoints. Her honest Mrs. Fairfax could not be ignored. In addition, the chemistry between the lead actors is palpable as seen in the compelling scenes between them, which are enhanced by poetic dialogue that both Wasikowska and Fassbender deliver without looking and sounding wooden or overly maudlin, which seems to be the norm of such movies in this genre.

The costume design of Jane Eyre simply augments the story, without being overdone or overwhelming. The sharpness and monotony of Jane’s grey dresses are reminiscent of her social background as well as her direct and determined air. Fukunaga’s use of close-ups, wide shots and lighting makes Jane Eyre more personal and authentic. He creates an unforgettable setting that mirrors the inner turmoil of his characters, as seen in the stormy opening scene that shows a distraught Jane. His drab, eerie tone seems beautifully in sync, and at times, in contrast with Jane and Rochester’s violent, yet controlled passions. Jane Eyre is made complete with a stunning soundtrack created by Marianelli, who also composed for similar films such as Pride and Prejudice and Atonement.

Jane Eyre is without a doubt, the best of its category in 2011. It manages to be entirely poignant and romantic without filling the spongy heads of hopeless romantics with sappy misrepresentations of love and all its tenets. It is a movie far more invested in emotional authenticity rather than theatrics, cheap tricks and unnecessary grandiose gestures.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Best Films of 2011 - According to Film Students (Part 3)

Best Films of 2011: Betta Mus Come
A Review by Dainia Wright 

The idea of a signature Caribbean style for our films, an aesthetic that captures our essence, is one the many interesting points about the film.  The cinematography is edgy, capturing the rawness of the Jamaican culture with extensive use of handheld photography more typically used in documentary. Saulter’s style infused the film with a sense of romanticism of the life of poverty in Jamaican ghettoes. Despite the fact that Ricky has leverage being a gunman for the Jamaica Labour Party (implied), he is still not able to receive running water. Jamaican political tribalism has established a system where one’s political affiliation hinders one’s social mobility.

The plot of the film is unconventional, suspending Classical Hollywood’s notion of a cause-effect narrative, which extends to Ricky’s lack of control of his own life. Ricky tries to exit the life of a gangster and tries to bring his companions with him in hopes of providing a better example for his son. He falls for the beautiful Kemala, who unfortunately lives on the wrong side of the neighbourhood, who also holds the interest of the opposing community don, Dog Heart. Realizing that the life of an ordinary citizen was unlikely because of the political situation in the country, they are lured back into the life of crime and to their demise.

The film is reminiscent of Perry Henzel’s The Harder They Come, in its tone, the disjointed plot construction and more blatantly the similarities in the deaths of the protagonists.  Betta Mus’ Come, however, adds a modern dimension in its cinematography style, which not only adds a degree of reality but of the roughness of their lifestyle, always on the go.  Thus the film recreates the beginning of the film industry for Jamaicans and has incited a new excitement over the possibility of a film industry in Jamaica.

Storm Saulter and his team are experimenting with a new form of distribution for the Caribbean. Rather than waiting on distribution deals from Hollywood, they have taken into their own hands to seek out cinemas to play their film. They also appeal to unconventional audiences for Caribbean cinema. Usually films are made with idea of distribution in the United States of America, or Canada or other developed countries. However, his team has pursued distribution in Africa and Latin America, which hopefully a new market for the Caribbean as a whole. They have set a quite a standard for the filmmakers of the Caribbean and I hope their success increases with the production of more films.

Monday, 30 January 2012

Best Films of 2011 - According to Film Students (Part 2)

Best Films of 2011: We Need To Talk About Kevin
A Review by Lynnessa Parks

Director Lynne Ramsey brings to the big screen an interesting and chilling adaptation of Lionel Striver’s best selling novel of the same title. The film is centered on a seemingly perfect family dwelling in suburbia, characterized by wealth and prestige. However just under the surface the family is not as generic as they seem, now this appears to be a typical movie storyline until you meet Kevin. He appears to be the typical problematic child, rebellious, brilliant and slightly psychotic. Told primarily from the mother’s point of view, she struggles to move on with her life after Kevin goes on a very well orchestrated massacre in his high school. Using a series of flashbacks, the film jumps from past to present chronicling the life of Eva after the murders and her memories of Kevin, as she tries to explain his behavior. It is obvious from the onset that he family relationships are strained especially between Eva (Swinton) and Kevin who is trouble from conception.

In her third feature film Ramsay is quickly identifying herself as a prominent female director, delving deeply into the human psyche, analyzing human relationships with each other and the wider society. She straddles a line between experimental filmmaking and traditional narrative at various points in the film; a notable sequence is the condensed meeting of her husband Franklin (Reilly) and conception of Kevin. The red tones combined with a shaky camera and interesting lighting effects makes this a twisted dark love scene rather than the fairy tale perfection audiences have grown accustomed. The colour red continues throughout the movie in the form of lights, paint but never blood an interesting choice that keeps the film out of the horror or thriller genre. Yet Ramsey manages to capture feelings of fear, trepidation and foreboding usually associated with the Halloween film franchise or Hannibal. The lack of graphic displays of violence prevents the audience from truly identifying Kevin as a monster or encouraging emotions of hate and blame toward the mother. Ramsey does not feed into audience’s desire for blood and a clear and present danger, it would be easy forgive an emotionally wounded kid with an arrow whose home life was not ideal in fostering well adjusted individuals excited about life. However, a boy who by the end of the film is not clear about his reasons for murdering his schoolmates is even more disturbing and unforgiveable.

Swinton gives an amazing performance as Eva, a character as complex and unpredictable as Kevin. It is easy to blame the mother for her son’s actions yet the more the hiccups in her parenting style are highlighted the more you pity the character. You are appalled in the beginning, thinking what sane mother carries her young baby to a construction site simply to drown out his incessant wailing. Now as demonic as Kevin appears it is a far-fetched ideal that a baby consciously sets out to annoy his mother but when the father appears waking baby Kevin remains silent as the grave. Also at seven years old we see Kevin soiling his pants simply because he takes pleasure in demanding his mother change him and basking in her frustration.

The mother is the obvious person to blame in this instance; the community publicly ostracizes her as house and car is splattered with red paint, she is assaulted by grievous women on the street and sexually assaulted by a nefarious coworker. Through all this she continuously scrubs away the red paint on her home as she wishes she could wash away her guilt and shame. By the end of the film Ramsay never even hints the reason for Kevin’s behavior and also never condemns the mother who by the 2nd act is all but overwhelmed by a child who must have been swapped at birth with the spawn of Satan. If it were not for the uncanny resemblance between the mother and son I would question the child’s legitimacy as well. Swinton in the film has short dark hair and is very slender, Kevin mirrors his mother body physic to the point where you have to do a double take to make sure it’s Eva and not Kevin.

The uncanny resemblance made me question the child’s paternity, John C. Reilly is an amazing actor with a knack for choosing Oscar worthy films. However his role in this film was not his best to date, not only does he not look like his family but his mannerisms are not suited to the environment. His character is not developed and mostly ignored throughout the film, he is always drinking a beer, making snide comments and just not connecting with the setting or the story. I understand that his character is the absent father but he was more disjointed and blatantly different than just unconcerned, his presence was not always plausible.

Nothing seared my consciousness more than the stunning work from Ezra Miller, the actor playing teenage Kevin. His disturbing robotic performance will dissuade even the most confident and eager individuals from contemplating procreation. Miller’s dual personality changes depending on the parental unit present, even though it is hard to blame the mother for her son’s actions, you find yourself trying to understand his actions, which you are not to sure what they are exactly. Ramsay only hints to his nefarious conduct with a series of knowing looks directed toward his mother, he takes pleasure in jarring her, mentally dissecting her inner most thoughts and emotions. When his sister’s hamster goes missing and is killed by the garbage dispenser, Kevin is strategically positioned near the mother waiting to give her a knowing look. I am not to clear on how his younger sister lost her eye all we know is that Kevin was left alone with the child. Or a quick shot of Swinton walking in on him masturbating, Kevin looks at his mother with twisted joy and pleasure at being discovered in a very private moment. For all the director offers the audience, these moments could truly have been accidents or monstrous acts violence and insanity.

Ramsay cleverly gives the audience an obvious answer then spends the rest of the movie breaking down these assumptions. After viewing this film I concluded that we do not need to in fact talk about Kevin but the mother should consider a priest, prayer and holy water.

Honourable Mentions:

The Help
The Descendants
Crazy, Stupid Love

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Best Films of 2011 - According to Film Students (Part 1)

By Matthew Bailey

In the world of mixed martial arts (MMA), underdogs can win and champions can lose. In the action-drama Warrior, two brothers square off against other champions, and eventually each other, in a MMA tournament called Sparta. Ex-Marine Tommy Riordan (Tom Hardy) and high-school teacher Brendan Conlon (Joel Edgerton) are separated emotionally from themselves, and from their former alcoholic father Paddy (Nick Nolte). The paths of these three men will collide in Sparta, where all scores will finally be settled.

Writer/director Gavin O’Connor sets up the story of Warrior brilliantly. The first half of the film gives us the back-story of Tommy and Brendan, and their troubled relationship with Paddy. Tommy is a tough, seemingly-emotionless machine of a man who solves his problems by walking away or lashing back (both verbally and physically). Brendan is a husband, a father and a fighter, who is willing to put his life on the line for his family. They share one thing in common - their distrust for Paddy.

The second half of the film takes place during the Sparta tournament. Tommy and Brendan fight their way to the final match, where they must confront each other in a steel cage. The fight between the two is both exciting and emotional, with a conclusion that will make even the toughest of viewers get teary-eyed.

At first glance, Warrior appears to be yet another Rocky-type underdog film where the “hero” overcomes all obstacles and beats the “villain”, but it is so much more. For a film about mixed martial arts, Warrior boasts a well-written script, great dialogue and strong performances from the cast. Nick Nolte shines as Paddy, and his performance alone should definitely earn the film an Academy Award nomination. The fight sequences are engaging, superbly choreographed and well-edited. The end result is a moving, emotional and ultimately outstanding film which is definitely worth seeing. Warrior is, in my opinion, the best film of 2011.

The Artist
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
X-Men: First Class
13 Assassins
Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

NEW Film Course

 FILM 3104
Cinemas of Africa

Click on the image below for more details: