In celebration of our 50th anniversary of Independence, the Trinidad and Tobago Film Company recently unveiled a unique exhibition entitled Side By Side at the National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA) in Port of Spain.
Featuring classic films and honouring the pioneers responsible for our extensive legacy of film, the exhibit also showcases photographs by film-maker Horace Ové, a display of historic film production equipment from the vaults of the Government Film Unit, a video installation that looks at the work of future pioneers and a screening of the five films selected for the finals of the 50-Second Film Competition.
Minister of Planning and Sustainable Development and chairman of the Inter-Ministerial Committee for the Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Independence Senator Bhoendradatt Tewarie addressed the gathering at the official launch of the exhibition last week. Tewarie congratulated the team for putting together "such a wonderful showcase within a relatively short space of time" and expounded on the virtues and immense potential of the local film industry to showcase the essence of our culture.
"Film has given us an opportunity to see what we have done," he said, "and it has also given us an opportunity to see what we can do. I want to congratulate you all on what you have achieved on this occasion, and I want to ask you to please view this as an opportunity to build a serious platform because there's no reason why we cannot build a serious film industry in this country. It's a world of great variety, and people need different things to see and experience. There's nobody who can give them a view of T&T in its multiple dimensions like the people who live here."
The minister abandoned his prepared statement in favour of an impromptu address where he shared his thoughts on the unique culture of T&T and suggested a different approach to industry, based on the existing culture and professional customs.
"I do not think that we should build a tourism industry in Trinidad and Tobago based on the kind of intense and long-working hours that exist in other parts of the world. I don't think it is appropriate to the way we do things, and how we should relate to things and the kind of culture that we have created over time.
"I want to suggest this to you as you go about doing your great and creative works because it has struck me as important for us to recognise what we are good at and focus on executing and improving those things rather than trying to do things like other people in other places.
"You couldn't go in bpTT, for instance, and operate as you would in a Carnival band…. There is a time and a place for everything, but there is no less effort required in creating a Carnival band than there is in the functions of this oil company—that's the point I want to make. The whole methodology is different, the culture is different, the framework and the expectations are different, and the whole management style is different.
"My own feeling is that given the culture and the life of this country, its evolution and what we've seen over the last 50 years, we need to recognise those things in which we need to imitate the best of the world and those things in which we need to be the pioneers and the creative entrepreneurs in those things, so that we can lead the world in those things. I think we have an opportunity to do both, and the success of this nation will depend on the marriage of those two things."
Sponsored and supported by corporate giants such as Flow, bpTT, NGC, Copa Airlines and RBC Royal Bank, the Side By Side exhibition is now open to the public daily, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday to Saturday, until Tuesday, October 2, at NAPA.
Market head of Personal Banking at RBC Royal Bank T&T Arvinder Bharath announced the participants of the RBC Focus Film-maker's Immersion programme—an intensive, four-day development programme to be facilitated this year by Jamaican-American film-maker and teacher Alrick Brown and documentary story consultant Fernanda Rossi. This programme will culminate in a competitive pitch session with a prize of $20,000 for the winner.
Corporate Communications manager, bpTT Danielle Jones gave tribute to the pioneers of film, who were also officially recognised at a special luncheon earlier that day, and managing director, Colombus Communications Trinidad Ltd Brian Collins announced the five finalists of the Flow 50-second Film-making Competition. This contest invited local film-makers to submit short films on the topic of Independence and its meaning to them.
"The Side By Side exhibition truly captures the talent and resilience of the people of Trinidad and Tobago," said Collins, "and I'm honored that Flow has been able to be a part of it and to be here this evening to present in the presence of so many distinguished pioneers in film. As you will see, the finalists produced films that have different flavours, but they all share a definite appreciation for everything Trinidad and Tobago.
"You'll have to wait a bit longer to find out who's the winner, but my job is to announce the five finalists, and all of them will receive one year free cable and Internet package from Flow, and the winner will receive an additional cash prize of $5,000."
The finalists and their film titles are: Kevin Cummings, Point of Origin; Miquel Galofré, Time to Work It Out; M Jay Gonzalez, Golden; Garland Holder, "Calypso Boys Independence; and Kerri Rechier, Culture.
—For more information on
the exhibition, competitions and
the upcoming Film Festival 2012,
please visit www.ttfilmfestival.com