Bocas Lit Fest 2017

In the 7 years it’s been around, Bocas has grown from strength to strength. The annual literary festival has hosted some of the most successful and interesting writers, publishers and poets of Caribbean, and World literature. And because it’s in Trinidad, there’s a non-pretentiousness to the proceedings that may make your faves seem significantly more approachable.

I’ve always been a fan of Bocas. Especially as a formally voracious reader, who has slowed down significantly. I use Bocas to get me excited about reading again. And it has, not to my old standards, but I’m on the path to being a real reader.

Untold Jamaica - Bocas Lit Fest 2017
Me in the audience for the Untold Jamaica panel featuring Kei Miller, author of Augustown, and Marcia Douglas, author of The Marvellous Equations of the Dread.

I also got to experience Bocas as a journalist. Just before the festival began, I spoke to Founding Director Marina Salandy Brown about the growing influence Caribbean writers is having worldwide. Perhaps, we should be looking towards developing Caribbean literary industry.

And as I mentioned in that piece, the Prime Minister was featured on special panel to discuss his autobiography From Mason Hall to Whitehall. A smart move from a festival that has just been recognised by Penguin Publishing as being one of the 20 best literary festivals in the world. It also allowed them to put the Prime Minister on the spot about his book tax.

It’s also a strategic move from the festival organisers. Because many good things are allowed to whither and die, because they can’t get the support they need. Bringing the Prime Minister, into the festival may help it win some support for it’s projects.

I’ll have more on Bocas, in another post. I may even share my book haul. See you soon.

Carnival Films

The Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival tries to showcase Trinbagonian and Caribbean films outside of the traditional festival period. Their Carnival Film Series (to diffrentiate it from its main festival) has been going on for a few years now. This year they decided to take a look back.

The Film Series will feature 3 feature length films, one from Brazil.

Black Orpheus is a retelling of the classic tale set in Brazil’s favelas. Bachannal Time is Kamalo Deen’s farcical story of two stickfighters trying to get to the finals in Skinner Park, and King Carnival is a documentary filmed during Carnival 1973.

Try to catch them before the series ends.

The Ninth Floor

I got to see this documentary last year during TTFF16. I don’t know why I forgot to write about it, because I loved their access to, and use of archive footage.

The Sir George Williams Affair of 1969 was an early per-cursor to the Black Power Uprising in 1970. Many of the students who took place the Canadian incident returned to Trinidad and became involved in marches here.

It would be nice to see this shown on television here.

Green Screen Film Fest Launch 

The festival will launch with The Pearl Button, a film by Patricio Guzman.

But I’m really excited by the local films that will be included on the schedule.

Details on those films in an upcomimg post.


The Vikings Are Coming- Animae Caribe

In 2010 an animated journey began when Andres Mänd, the head of the Animation Department of Volda University Norway was invited to be on the jury for CubAnima film festival in Havana, Cuba. There he met the founder and director of Animae Caribe Animation Festival Camille Selvon Abrahams. There was an immediate connection and discussion about creating synergies between the islands though each was from the opposite side of the Atlantic.  After five days of intensive jury work in Cuba, both University department heads realised that they shared a lot more in common. Both institutions ran the best animation schools and the coziest animation film festivals in their respective countries. They decided to look into possibilities for future collaborations.  There have been trips across the Atlantic both ways, many discussions about animation and life in general, sharing of knowledge, country and culture.

So yes, the Vikings are coming to Trinidad, but not to invade. Instead of swords and shields, they bring with them ideas, pencils and cameras. Mänd acknowledges that they are coming also to learn, to conduct workshops, to get inspired, and to enjoy the fabulous Animation festival.  However most importantly they are coming to sign a student exchange agreement between the University of Trinidad and Tobago and Volda University. “The main attraction on our team is Ms Anita Killi, a True Viking, former Volda University student, farmer, mother of four and world famous director of animated shorts. The rest of our crew consist Arne Humberset, Head of International Office of Volda University. The multitalented Dave King, who we stole from the British animation Industry seven years ago (sorry Britons!) and myself, the Head of the Animation Department at Volda University College”

This is a momentous time for the University of Trinidad and Tobago as it is set to launch a degree in Digital Media Arts with specialisation in Animation, Music Technology and Gaming in 2017. Ms Killi’s award winning film ‘Angry Man’ and her presentation will be screened at The Academy for Performing Arts on Wednesday 26th October 11am.

Basically Bazodee: A Review

What’s to be said about Bazodee? The Machel Montano headlined film opened in his native land last week, and I happened to catch it on opening night. The film is entertaining, but far from exc…

Source: Basically Bazodee: A Review

Film Festival Season in T&T

It’s the most wonderful time of the year for film lovers. It’s Film Festival Season!

The T&T Film Festival is on, and there are so many great local and regional movies to watch. Plus TTFF always includes world cinema on the roster. It’s a movie buff’s paradise.

But when TTFF ends on the 27th September, start looking out for Anime Caribe which runs from the 24th-30th October. Can you imagine that it’s 15 years old? How audacious are we? Now billed as a digital music and animation festival it’s packed with screenings, talks with the biggest shots in animation, and the Caribbean artists making content.

I’m looking forward to this festival. Local feature film Sankara surprised me with the animated elements. It would be nice to see what else local artists are doing.

And finally Green Screen-The Environmental Film Festival rounds out the season. Starting November 1st and running until the 12th, feature and documentary films meant to build your environmental consciousness will be screened. All the films are free, and it’s the flagship event from Sustain T&T a sustainable living organisation that wants us to live smarter by being greener.

At the launch of TTFF Dr. Bruce Paddington spoke about film helping Government’s buy local campaign. It’s the same with any other social problem we want to solve, films can have a big impact. I can’t wait to check out some of the films in this festival as well.

Enjoy the season, let me know which movies you watched and what you thought of them.

TT Film Festival 2016 Opens

The Trinidad & Tobago Film Festival is up and running. There’s great selection of films in the line-up.

What I liked was Dr. Bruce Paddington’s statement that local films can support a National Buy Local campaign.

And Flow’s Marketing Director Cindy-Ann Gatt says audiences like local and regional content. Not just films. She says they can only do so much, so she is calling on more companies and their sponsorship departments to support filmmaking. She should know, Flow is in the business of broadcasting, if she says customers want local, we should give them local.

TT Film Fest Day 2

The Cutlass was such a surprise to me. The shots were gorgeous. There were homes and location shots that took my breath away. The drone footage alone are a major draw.

But the surprise was the acting. It was good!  So yes, put this film on your list.

The Ninth Floor is a documentary abour a protest at the Sir. George Williams University in Canada. A group of Caribbean students accused a lecturer of racism and took the administration to take when they failed to act.

I thought that it was beautifully shot but some scenes seemed a bit overdone. But I highly recommend this film because of the insight it gives into our history and social evolution.

The film festival runs from the 20-27 September. Check out my thoughts on Day 1’s screenings here.