The drama Green Days by the River was the big winner on Tuesday night at the Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival (ttff) bringing home both best TT feature and people’s choice for best feature film narrative.
The wins were announced at the ttff awards ceremony held at the Central Bank Auditorium, Port of Spain. The film, based on the novel by local writer and historian Michael Anthony, was directed by Michael Mooledhar and produced by Christian James. The coming of age story is set in Mayaro 1952 and is about a teenager named Shellie (Sudai Tafari) who is befriended by a plantation owner named Mr Gidharee (Anand Lawkaran) and falls for his beautiful daughter Rosalie (Nadia Nisha Kandhai).
Mooledhar said in an interview that he and the producer were looking at a slate of project and Green Days by the River “kept popping back up.”
“We liked the story. We liked what it represented. We wanted to do something different and fresh and it felt very patriotic to me.”
Mooledhar said that it was the third time he won the people’s choice award having previously won with Coolie Pink and Green (2009) and City on the Hill (2015).
“We excited. But what we really excited for is people to come out and see the movie. So this is just piece of it.”
His advice to young people interested in film-making Mooledhar said they should make films whether it was on their cellphone or on YouTube.
“You will learn. You will develop.”
He said that after Machel Montano’s film Bazodee they found it easier for them to access corporate Trinidad, “because they start to get confidence so I hope that we help to build confidence and make it easier to other film-makers.”
He also expressed thanks to Anthony for the novel and for assisting them with the history of the period.
Green Days by the River opened in theatres nationwide yesterday.
The people’s choice award for Best Feature Film Documentary was won by Sorf Hair by Shari Petti. She told Newsday she was “shocked” by the win and was not in attendance at the ceremony and came after someone called and told her she had won.
“I was not really expecting it so I am glad it happened.”
She said that she put more work into Sorf Hair than she ever put in anything creatively “and it was really well received and it just really won my heart.”
The people’s choice award for Best Short Film was won by Salty Dog written and directed by Oliver Milne. He said that it was “super exciting” to seem the amount of work coming out from all over the Caribbean and Latin America.
“It’s really exciting right now in the industry. I feel there is a lot of growth spurts happening. And to see this many local features happening between last year and this year and it is just about keeping the ball rolling and keeping the energy there.
Best TT Short Film was won by Short Drop by Maya Cozier and she said that it felt “amazing” and winning an award is a great encouragement to a film-maker.
“I just want to go out there and make something new.”
She said Trinidad was the inspiration for the film and screening it in the country was important. She said she is working on producing another short film about being a young woman in Trinidad. Her advice to young film-makers was to be patient with the process and keep pushing.
Best TT Film in Development was won by Scattered by Karen Martinex and Georgia Popplewell.
Best Feature Film - Narrative was won by El Techo (On the Roof) by Patricia Ramos of Cuba, Best Feature Film - Documentary was won by Jeffrey by Yanillys Perez, Dominican Republic and Best Short Film was won by Féfé Limbe by Julien Silloray of Guadeloupe.
Best film from the youth jury was won by El Techo by Patricia Ramos of Cuba, Amnesty International Human Rights Prize was won Cargo by Kareem Mortimer from the Bahamas, Best Experimental Film Prize was won by Chaotic Beauty Di-Andre Caprice Davis of Jamaica and Future Critics Prize was won by Kirk Bhagan.