The biggest Caribbean Film Festival, the Trinidad & Tobago Film Festival will be held this year from Sept 17 to Oct 1, and will feature over 100 films. The Festival programming includes, feature-length, short and experimental films from the Caribbean and its diaspora, the RBC Filmmaker Focus Immersion Program, and feature-length fiction and documentary films from world cinema in its Panorama section.
Without much more blabbing about the Festival, we’ll take a look at the films. Because of the large number of latino films, we’ll divide the post into two sections, reveiwing the latino films in their own section.
Synopsis: The invasion of Grenada by US forces in 1983 echoed around the world and put an end to a unique experiment in Caribbean politics. What were the circumstances that led to this extraordinary chain of events? This comprehensive, gripping and revealing documentary tells the story of the Grenada revolution as never before. The film features extensive, previously unseen file footage, as well as old and new interviews with many of the key players of the time.
Synopsis: CHARLIE IS A young man seeking to make ends meet on the streets of Port of Spain. Reluctantly, he takes a job from a gang leader as assistant to a drug courier. This is how he meets Dinah, a prostitute, who works for the fearsome Putao. Dinah convinces Charlie to escape with her, in a move that triggers serious consequences. Shot in an urgent and unflinchingly gritty style, God Loves the Fighter is an honest yet sympathetic tale of real life as lived in contemporary urban Trinidad.
Synopsis: ROMIE AND PACK are best friends who dream of becoming mechanics and escaping their boring jobs as security guards. They’ve been saving their salaries and plan to make a down payment on a garage in their village of Pickletons. But their efforts are being challenged on all sides: by their loving but eccentric families, a violent drug dealer, a charity collector and a still-obsessed ex-girlfriend. The boys will have to go to extreme measures to keep their dream alive. Watch the trailer here:
Synopsis: AS A POET, playwright, painter and even filmmaker, Derek Walcott has been hymning the Caribbean for over 60 years. This documentary presents an intimate portrait of the St Lucian Nobel laureate for literature, set in his beloved native island. The film observes Walcott in places essential to his work and life, such as his art studio and childhood home, and gathers the thoughts of his closest friends. Most importantly, this documentary is a celebration of the greatest gift Walcott has given the world: his poetry. For more information, visit the film’s website and FB page. Watch the trailer here:
Synopsis: When Keshorn Walcott threw his javelin to gold-medal-winning lengths at the 2012 Olympic Games, he joined a distinguished group of athletes who have made Trinidad and Tobago proud at the world’s premier sporting event. This film documents the history of T&T’s participation at the Olympics, from the country’s first medal in 1948 right up to the finest overall performance ever last year in London. Narrated by four-time Olympic medallist Ato Boldon, the film features interviews with the likes of Hasely Crawford, Richard Thompson, George Bovell and Kelly Ann Baptiste. Watch the trailer here:
Ten Days of Muharram: The Cedros Hosay
by Ernest Che Rodriguez
Trinidad + Tobago, 2013 (106 mins)
Synopsis: HOSAY IS A Shia Muslim ritual commemorating the martyrdom of Hussein, grandson of the prophet Muhammad. In the southwestern Trinidad community of Cedros, the observance of Hosay in the month of Muharram crosses ethnic, gender and even religious lines. This film documents significant aspects of Hosay, while recording for posterity the collective memory of the Hosay artists and celebrants from Cedros. Watch the trailer here:
Synopsis: IN 1951 STUART HALL left his native Jamaica to study at Oxford University. He would later become one of the United Kingdom’s foremost cultural theorists and intellectuals of the Left. This powerful documentary portrait of Hall, spanning over 50 years, is comprised entirely of footage from his archives. The film is completed by a potent soundtrack comprising music fragments from Hall’s lifelong love of Miles Davis. Watch the trailer here:
The Wind that Blows
by Thomas Weston
St. Vincent and the Grenadines, 2013 (60 mins)
Synopsis: FOR WELL OVER a hundred years, men of the tiny island of Bequia in the Grenadines have engaged in a dangerous, and (now) controversial activity: the hunting of humpback whales. Spanning a generation, this revealing and compelling film gently examines this group of men whose lives are indelibly entwined with nature. Amidst the clamour of modernisation, the steadfast voices of a people reverberate as they cling to a proud past. Watch the trailer here:
Synopsis: Based on true events that took place on Curacao in 1795, this is the story of Tula (Obi Abili), an enslaved African on the island of Curacao, who is becoming more and more aware of the injustice existing between his people and the white oppressors. When he hears of the revolution in St Domingue and that France has ended slavery in her colonies, he downs tools and demands to meet with the governor, de Veer (Jeroen Krabbé). His peaceful resistance is not looked upon kindly by the rulers. But it resonates with his own people, including old Shinishi (Danny Glover). Inspired by Tula’s example, they unite in a passionate struggle for equality, freedom and brotherhood. For more information, visit thefilm’s website and FB page.
Synopsis: Ana is an actress who can’t seem to do better than land limiting parts in lurid historical soap operas. One day she impetuously announces to her family that she has won the lead role in a major film, which will enable her to buy the household a new refrigerator. Yet, to actually make the money, Ana will have to take on a rather different role, she must pretend to be a prostitute for a foreign documentary about Havana’s streetwalkers. It can’t be long before the ruse unravels and trouble begins. Watch the trailer here.
Synopsis: FIFTY YEARS AGO Carmen Ignarra left her Cuban homeland and travelled to Hollywood, hoping to become a great actress. But her initial success was followed by a slow, painful decline. Today, at 80, she lives forgotten in an old mansion in Monterrey, Mexico. Laura, a young woman from the Dominican Republic, arrives to work as a housekeeping assistant. She brings a video camera and the secret intention of making a documentary about Carmita. Together they talk about the past, about wasted talent and lost loves. watch the trailer here:
Synopsis: AFTER SPENDING SEVERAL years in Los Angeles, Carlos, a budding filmmaker, returns to his native Puerto Rico with plans to make a movie, Hollywood style. There are just a few small complications: he has no script, no money and no discernible talent. Yet along with his producer and only believer, Joa, Carlos is determined to make his dream a reality. This is a hilarious satire on the filmmaking process, by turns both savage and affectionate.
Synopsis: IN THE TOWN of Melaza the sugarcane industry is at a standstill and work is hard to come by. Monica, receptionist at the sugar mill, still goes to the factory daily, although it has been shuttered for a year. Her husband, Aldo, teaches swimming in a pool with no water. To make extra money, they engage in a lucrative but illegal venture. When the police discover their scheme they charge the couple a hefty fine. To get out of their predicament, Monica and Aldo must consider doing the unthinkable. For more information, visit the film’s FB page. Watch the trailer here:
Synopsis: Esteban, an ex-professional swimmer and now instructor, waits for his students to arrive. The four teenagers have one thing in common: their physical disabilities have made outsiders of them all. Diana is bossy; Rodrigo is weak-willed; Dany is an innocent; and Oscar flatly refuses to speak. As one languid, carefree day at the pool runs its course, conflict within the group slowly arises, until the idyllic scene is filled with animosity, rivalries, power games and an unspoken mutual longing for love. Watch the trailer here:
Synopsis: LOS ALDEANOS (“The Villagers”) are an electrifying rap duo sweeping the Cuban underground with their urgent lyrics about the economic and political state of their beloved country. Heralded as the voice of the lost generation, El B and his partner Aldo are banned from performing in official venues, and distribute their music by hand, in total secrecy for fear of government reprisal. Shot in true guerrilla style with hidden cameras, this powerful and provocative documentary takes viewers inside a new revolution brewing within Cuba. Watch the trailer here:
Other films we’ve already covered that will be shown this year, include: Abo So, Chrissy!, Fatal Assistance, Kingston Paradise, No Bois Man No Fraid, Silent Music, Songs of Redemption, and Three Kids.