our-story over his-story
love movies. I especially love local movies. So for film-lovers
like me, MovieTowne over the past couple of weeks or so, has
been more exciting than usual. The third Trinidad and Tobago
Film Festival has been running primarily at MovieTowne, but
also across the country. The film industry is one of the seven
strategic industries getting special focus as we continue
our efforts to diversify away from energy.
The film festival was established in 2006, with headline sponsorship
from the Trinidad and Tobago Film Company. This year, the
Tourism Development Company became an important sponsor, as
the festival establishes itself as a key cultural event. Also
among the list of supporters, is Flow, Columbus Communications
Trinidad Ltd, which has committed sponsorship over the next
So we have the State working together with the private sector
to help develop innovative people as well as enabling
competitive business. Very Vision 2020.
One of my favourite all-time films is actually a local one,
Raoul Pantins Bim (1974) too bad they did not
show it again this year. The film that I enjoyed the most
this year was Wrestling with the Angels: An Exploration of
Caribbeanness. Its by Marsha Pearce, a first-time documentary
film maker and Cultural Studies PhD candidate at UWI. I was
fortunate enough to be able to meet Marsha through a mutual
The documentary highlighted television as the dominant media
and then sought to explore the impact (of the mainly American
content) on Caribbean identity. It used the music video as
a case study and questioned not just the impact of the music
videos on the audience, but also the audience on the videos.
It may sound intense, but trust me it was as entertaining
as it was insightful.
There are two things that I enjoyed about this documentary.
Firstly, it validated those of us who see ourselves as not
just Trinidad and Tobago nationals, but also as Caribbean
peoplethat regional identity.
Secondly, it recognises film as giving us greater opportunity
to tell our-story as opposed to just his-story
to help find our unique voice. So we get to do
we own ting!
Looking closely at music videos, the directors that Marsha
interviewed helped open my eyes. One of the local directors
interviewed in the documentary was Eniola Adelekan. He sees
dancehall, and passa passa in particular, as a resurgence
of suppressed tribal memory by the African diaspora.
Eniola is adamant that the similarity with East African art
forms is hard to ignore.
Ras Kassa, a Jamaican director goes further to speak of a
films ability to archive aspects of our
culturenot just music and dance, but even historical
landmarks such as old buildings.
There is more on Marshas Web site http://www.caribbeanculturalstudies.com
Media is evolving. For a number of reasons, film-making is
arguably now more accessible than ever for up-and-coming artists.
For those wanting to make films, there is support through
the Trinidad and Tobago Film Company, which has programmes
such as Feature Film Programme and the Production Assistance
and Script Development programme.
For those wanting to study film-making, there are courses
at UWI. Of course, Gate means that the State covers the tuition
fees (up to PhD level now), and for some, like student-film
maker Marsha Pearce, UWI has bursaries to help students make
films. Marsha won the Rhodes Trust Rex Nettleford Cultural
Studies Fellowship (an annual award offered to Caribbean nationals
seeking support for cultural projects). UWI also offers research
grants to help students fund their projects.
There is so much good work being done by our artists that
helps to make a positive difference within the wider community.
For me, supporting our artists is part of what Vision 2020
is all about.