ACTRESS Taromi Lourdes Joseph, who will be featured in three films in this year’s TT Film Festival (TTFF), is elated over the fact that no other local actress has ever appeared in more than one film in any year of the festival.
She said, “I think that is a major accomplishment and hopefully it would be encouragement for other actors and actresses to step their game up.”
She said she was ecstatic because the three films allowed her to show her range of acting abilities since the themes are all different, so too, is the feel she got for each one and the message. “So, I am just happy to be able to be a working actress in Trinidad and that people like my work enough to call me to be a part of their production.”
One of the three films, Hush-A-Bye, which began filming in 2017 was written by Joseph who also produced, directed and played the lead role of Rose. It is a 30-minute, medium short drama that looks at post partum depression through the eyes of the main character and how that type of mental illness affects the family unit. She said it was done to raise awareness, educate, sensitise and start the right discussions on the topic.
The other two films in which she starred are For The Love of Money, a 20-minute short comedy which began filming in 2015 and Lady in the River (2017). In For The Love of Money, she plays Delilah Lombardo, a hustler/gold digger who picked up rich men in casinos until she met her match; and Lady in the River (2017) she plays Jessie, the deceased wife of an ex-military man in the ten-minute, suspense thriller.
Joseph said she got the first real feel for the film business sometime around 2005/6, when she started at the Trinidad Theatre Workshop (TTW) as an observer, having been invited by then director of the Theatre in Education programme (TIE), Louris Lee Sing of the TTW, to audition for a couple parts. One of them was the role of Juliet, from the love story of Romeo and Juliet, and Rosalie in Green Days by the River.
She got both parts for both plays and subsequently went touring schools all over the country as part of the TIE programme that was structured to assist literature students preparing for Cape and CSEC exams. “We brought those books to life and that is when I started taking acting seriously and performing on the whole,” she said.
Asked if she had any input into the 2017 version of Green Days by the River, directed by Michael Mooleedhar and produced by Christian James, Joseph cheekily said: “No, nothing. They should have called me though and it would have been way better.”
An employee of Massy Stores, Joseph says, “Performing arts is my passion but I have a regular eight-to-four that supports me and my lavish lifestyle (raucous laughter), it pays the bills, but seriously, with opportunities popping up outside of Trinidad, I am making preparations for acting to be my mainstay and fortunately, or unfortunately it’s taking me overseas.”
Joseph expects that by next year she will be out of Trinidad, pursuing acting in full, including the pounding of pavements and castings in Atlanta.
Asked why Atlanta, she said, “It is not as saturated as New York or Los Angeles. A lot of filming of TV shows and movies is going on there, because of the film incentives that they have. Some of the Black Panther movie and Walking Dead were filmed at the Tyler Perry Studios which he is expanding in Atlanta.”
Joseph then recalled a time back in 2012 when she acted with Winston Duke who played M'Baku in Black Panther. She said Duke, who came back to TT after being away for years, came for the play An Echo in the Bone in which his character was Son Son while she was Bridget. That play was held at the Central Bank Auditorium and produced by the TTW.
Dates for films in which Joseph appears are:
Lady in the River: September 24, MovieTowne, PoS–3.30 pm.
Hush-A-Bye: September 22, MovieTowne, Tobago–6.30 pm; September 23, MovieTowne, PoS–1 pm.
For the Love of Money: September 19, MovieTowne, San Fernando–8.30 pm; September 24, MovieTowne, PoS– 8.30 pm; MovieTowne, Tobago–8.30 pm.