On the evening of February 2, 1911, the first cinema in Trinidad & Tobago, the London Electric Theatre, opened its doors on French Street in Woodbrook. Thus began a local love-affair with the silver screen that continues to this day.
As VS Naipaul has written, the cinema has played an incalculable role in the shaping of our society, from its effect on people’s norms and attitudes to its influence on Carnival and steelpan culture.
One hundred years on from its beginnings, the ttff will celebrate local cinema industry with an exhibition at MovieTowne in Port of Spain for the duration of the Festival, 21 September to 4 October. Also, at the awards ceremony on Sunday 2 October, some of the pioneers of the cinema industry in Trinidad & Tobago will be recognised.
In this year that marks one hundred years of cinema in this country, the Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival (ttff) will roll out its largest ever showing of films from September 21.
Exciting new and recent films from Trinidad & Tobago, the Caribbean and the Caribbean Diaspora, as well as Africa, India and Brazil, will be on offer at the sixth annual trinidad+tobago film festival (ttff), presented by Flow, which takes place from September 21 to October 4.
Almost 100 feature-length and short films will be screened at the ttff. Screenings will take place at MovieTowne Port of Spain, The Little Carib Theatre, UWI and other venues throughout both islands.
Here’s a sample of some of the films you can expect to see at the Festival. Check the website, www.ttfilmfestival.com, for the full, updated schedule.
’70: Remembering a Revolution
T&T/documentary feature/114 minutes/general audiences
A revealing, riveting chronicle of the Black Power uprising that took place in T&T in 1970. Featuring interviews with various activists, politicians, military officers and others who were caught up in the events, the film evokes those heady months when “Power to the people!” was the popular cry.
Wed 28 Sept 8.00pm, The Little Carib Theatre
Sun 2 Oct 5.30pm, MovieTowne POS
The Lioness of the Jungle
Trinidad+Tobago, France/Documentary feature/85 minutes/general audiences
This is the extraordinary story of Calypso Rose, the Calypso Queen of the World, a tale of triumph over great adversity. We follow Rose from Paris, to her native Tobago and Trinidad, then to New York, and finally to her ancestral homeland, Africa. Along the way we come closer to understanding the woman behind the public persona.
Thur 22 Sept 8.00pm + Mon 3 Oct 3.00pm, MovieTowne POS
Sat 24 Sept 7.00pm, T & TEC Panyard, Belle Garden, Tobago
Martinique/narrative feature/110 minutes/14+
A powerful drama based on the true story of André Aliker, who was the editor of a socialist newspaper in 1930s Martinique. Aliker is determined to speak out against injustice and to champion the rights of working people. For his ideals and fearlessness, he gets on the wrong side of the most powerful in society. Featuring a script by renowned novelist Patrick Chamoiseau.
Wed 28 Sept 7.00pm, Alliance Française
Fri 30 Sept 5.30pm, The Little Carib Theatre
Sat 1 Oct 3.00pm, Centre for Language Learning, UWI
Jamaica/documentary feature/68 minutes/general audiences/general audiences
Bad Friday focuses on a community of Rastafarians in the Montego Bay area of Jamaica who annually commemorate the 1963 Coral Gardens “incident”, when the government jailed and tortured hundreds of Rastafarians. Using the testimony of survivors, the film chronicles the history of violence in Jamaica through the eyes of its most iconic community.
Tue 27 Sept 3.00pm + Mon 3 Oct 1.00pm, MovieTowne POS
Fire in Babylon
UK/Documentary feature/87 minutes/general audiences
From the late 1970s through the 1980s, the West Indies cricket team did not lose a single Test series they played. This is the story of how they did it, in their own words. Through the use of spellbinding archive material and intimate interviews, we learn how a group of so-called “calypso cricketers” came to redefine the genteel game on their own terms—and lift the pride of a region.
Wed 21 Sept 8.00pm + Wed Sept 28 5.30pm, MovieTowne POS
Thurs 22 Sept 7.00pm, Point Fortin Public Library
Fri 30 Sept 5.00pm, Daaga Auditorium, UWI
Sat 1 Oct 5.30pm, The Little Carib Theatre
W.A.R. Stories: Walter Anthony Rodney
This documentary looks at the life of Walter Rodney, one of the region’s great intellectuals and activists, a fearless champion of justice all over the world. His assassination in 1980 shocked the Caribbean and brought into focus the work he was doing. The story is told through archival footage and interviews with contemporaries and family members.
Fri 23 Sept 10.00am, Centre for Language Learning, UWI
The ttff receives leading sponsorship from RBC Royal Bank and is supported by the Trinidad & Tobago Film Company, the National Gas Company, bpTT, the Tourism Development Corporation and the Tobago House of Assembly.