Machel Montano, centre, and Mohammed Muwakil of Freetown take a photo with some young residents of Belmont, during a break in filming of the music video for their collaboration, "Represent".

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Being caring and conscious

By Nigel Telesford

Reigning International Power Soca Monarch and Groovy Soca Monarch Machel Montano over the last weekend took time to film his latest music video, a theatrical take on his Going For Gold single, titled "Represent", which features the conscious music duo known as Freetown comprising Muhammad Muwakil and Lou Lyons.

The video is being filmed by Blue Cinamon Productions.

The Express was invited on to the set by marketing strategist Janine Charles-Farray and hosted by the production team of LA-based film-maker Damian Marcano and producer Alexa Bailey, as filming took place on Norfolk Street in Belmont.

"We are filming this long form music video – or short film – if you will," Bailey explained, "for Machel and Freetown's remix collaboration. The story is about two kids who plan to make some money by handing out flyers for a local promoter. They have to get rid of all the flyers before the end of the day, so we see them going to different locations and getting into all the bachannal that goes with that task – with cuts of the artistes' performances in between of course," he continued.

Rather than showcase the typical Carnival video format with sexy ladies in skimpy costumes, Bailey explained that Blue Cinamon opted to delve deeper into the magic behind the greatest show on earth.

"In this video, we showcase the city of Port of Spain. We decided to pay homage to the behind the scenes of Carnival – so instead of focusing on the people who wear them, you're gonna see the people who actually make the costumes – and we went with the bands that make costumes locally, D Midas and Harts most certainly, instead of the ones who import them from abroad. The song itself promotes one love, so we wanted to embrace some of the things that people love about Port of Spain and Trinidad in general," Bailey said.

While in Trinidad, the Blue Cinamon team is also completing work on another film project shot on local soil.

"We're also finishing up the film, God Loves The Fighter. It's almost complete. We just have two scenes to reshoot. The new version hasn't been seen yet, but we screened the original at the Scorcese Theatre in LA. We've also included a few of the characters from the movie in this music video, so the main characters: the two kids – "Chicken" and "Dirk" are played by Zion Henry and Jaleel Waithe," Bailey said.

For Montano, the Going For Gold Project is all about "celebrating our victorious past, while giving opportunities to the next generation", so the idea for the video fits perfectly with this agenda.

"I really want people to understand that Going For Gold is not about Machel Montano. I used me to highlight the next generation and to pay respects to those that came before us. Freetown is a group of educated, talented brothers – who, prior to this, absolutely refused to do Soca, but I convinced them, I wore them down over time and now I want them to see how it will benefit them and take their career to the next level. Blue Cinamon was already working with these guys and pushing their music in LA – and I had also heard about their work on the movie, so when they came to me and said they wanted to do the video for the song, it was a perfect fit," Montano said.

For director, Damian Marcano the collaboration is in-keeping with his passion and intent to "share the many amazing and wonderful stories of Trinidad and Tobago through film".

"Music videos are a creative expression in a shortened time period," Marcano explained. "It's a newly-accepted art-form that's also just being appreciated in the industry. My goal is to direct films, but it's all part of the same process and getting better at what we do with each production. Working with Machel was really fun and very professional. I always tell clients that when hiring a director you have to really trust them to do their job and trust that they know how and what to shoot. Machel showed that trust from the time he saw the first few stills from the camera. He appreciates when people are professional and go about their business efficiently and productively," he continued

"I'm originally from Morvant - 21 Pashley St at the top of the hill. So, it's a joy for me to be able to come home and showcase my city and to be able to use the best equipment and do the things that I do for all the big companies in the US here. We went around to Prince Street, Besson Street because I feel like those areas get looked on negatively and I wanted to show a different side. In every area, there's a happy side – whether it's kids playing games in the street or the young men talking or rapping and making music and being creative. If we highlight these things, then we'll see those images more and that's what the viewers will imagine and think about and create in time to come. That's what it's all about- envisioning and showcasing and creating a better future," Marcano said.

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