HAD FUN: 2013 SSSFF Best Actor winner Shaun Williams of Gasparillo Secondary School receives his prize from MovieTowne marketing representative Lisa Sadler during the official launch of the 2014 Secondary Schools Short-Film Festival. —Photo: NIGEL TELESFORD

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New category for Schools Film Festival

By Nigel Telesford

PUPILS participating in this year’s Secondary Schools Short-Film Festival (SSSFF) will be able to suggest their own themes, ideas and or creative vision as the festival organisers have included an all-new Open Theme category to the list of themes.
In celebrating the tenth year of the annual festival, the Trinidad and Tobago Film Company announced the new category at the official launch event, which was held recently at MovieTowne, Invaders Bay, Port of Spain. The launch of the event also featured the official prize-giving ceremony for last year’s winning schools and pupils in various categories.
Speaking at the launch, Trinidad and Tobago Film Company CEO Carla Foderingham outlined the themes behind this year’s categories:
“The categories for this year’s festival are as follows,” she said, “Firstly, Culture — what it means to be Trinbagonian. Then, you can choose: the second category— peace and social change — say no to discrimination and all forms of discrimination, including HIV/AIDS, race, class, gender, age, disability, religious and all other forms or, alternatively, – living in harmony through cooperation. The third category is the environment – Taking the lead in creating a more caring and respectful attitude to the natural environment or protecting the watersheds and forests of Trinidad and Tobago to save the water supply for future generations or protecting our wildlife and their habitats to prevent extinction in the future.
“The final category is an open theme category – so we’re leaving it open to you students to submit your own original ideas, but the theme must be relevant to the age group and must be pre-approved by the TTFC before you start working on your film. Now, listen carefully because once the theme has been approved by the TTFC, the theme cannot be changed, so think about it carefully and choose wisely.”
The SSSFF is a showcase of films produced by pupils of secondary schools, film clubs and registered youth groups in T&T. Founded by MovieTowne Multicinemas Ltd and subsequently managed by the TTFC, the festival aims to encourage the production of responsible content by the student population; to develop film industry know-how and competencies within the youth of Trinidad and Tobago; to promote career opportunities and encourage innovation and to develop a sustainable national audio-visual industry. Pupils are given training and assigned mentors, while required to produce a five-minute film using the designated themes and guidelines.
Following the production, submission and adjucation of the films, prizes will be awarded for the top three entries in the following categories: best cultural film, best social awareness film, best environmental film, best open theme film, best overall film, best actor, best actress, best original score, people’s choice award.
While delivering “Student Remarks”, 2013 best actor winner Shaun Williams of Gasparillo Secondary School described all the fun his group experienced throughout the process and thanked the organisers and sponsors:
“Our team’s journey began when the announcement was made for interested persons to participate in the Film Festival,” He recalled. “We were all filled with enthusiasm and indeed it has proven to be a great learning experience. Our entire attitude toward producing a short film changed drastically on March 13, 2013 during student orientation at Queen’s Hall, Port of Spain. There we felt an inner hunger and wanted to learn more. Seeing short films produced by youths just like us was the foundation which drove us at Gasparillo Secondary School.”
The judging criteria for this year’s awards will be announced at the pupil orientation event, scheduled for a date to-be-announced in March 2014. The SSSFF is supported by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Investment, the Ministry of Education, the Division of Education, Youth Affairs and Sport of the Tobago House of Assembly, the Maracas Valley Action Committee and MovieTowne Multicinemas Ltd. For more information, log on to: www.trinidadandtobagofilm.com or e-mail: info@trinidadandtobagofilm.com.
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