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Wednesday 26 June 2019
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Unfinished Sentences for TT cinema

Brown: We have to get our work out to audiences

Renaldo Frederick, Che Jardine and Alessandra Jardine drive to Macqueripe in a scene from Unfinished Sentences.
Renaldo Frederick, Che Jardine and Alessandra Jardine drive to Macqueripe in a scene from Unfinished Sentences.

JULIEN NEAVES

AWARD-WINNING local documentary Unfinished Sentences will be released at Digicel IMAX, One Woodbrook Place, from January 16.

Unfinished Sentences is a documentary that chronicles the life of celebrated Trinidadian columnist and poet Wayne Brown (who died in 2009) and explores the often tumultuous relationship between him and his filmmaker daughter, Mariel Brown.

Brown, who directed the film and is one of the founders of the Filmmakers Collaborative of Trinidad and Tobago (FILMCO), spoke to Newsday about getting local films out there to audiences.

"I'm an advocate for local films and television productions and believe as producers and makers, we have to do everything we can to get our work to our audiences and in terms of exhibitors, that local films should be given a fair chance at the cinema and on television. So I am delighted that Cinema One has decided to give the film a run, and they've been open to working with us on promoting the film – showing the trailer during their regular previews – (and) inviting us to share our poster, and proposing a fair split on the ticket sales. Now it's for audiences to buy tickets and fill the cinema!"

Brown expressed hope that audiences will respond well to the film which she described "an honest portrayal of family, love and loss."

"The thing is, we all have parents, and many of us will have experienced the death of a loved one. So there's a lot in Unfinished Sentences to connect to and I think, in a way, that people want to see themselves, their lives and experiences, reflected on the screen and on television. It means you're not alone in the world – there is a community to which you belong. And I think that's really powerful. So, I guess that's what I'm hoping for – that audiences will leave having made a personal connection to the film and the story."

Brown released Unfinished Sentences at the Bocas Lit Fest in 2018 and noted that since then it has been on its festival run with screenings in Panama, Cuba, Canada and soon London and the Bahamas.

"We make films so that people can watch them and it's a lovely feeling when people can see the film, and then also appreciate the story you're trying to tell and all the work you have put in. That's a really gratifying part of the process. And I hope that continues in 2019!"

In a media release, Savant Films said the film will play for one week in the first instance.

"The theatrical run follows on the heels of a stellar year for Unfinished Sentences."

In 2018, the film screened at multiple film festivals including the TT Film Festival and the Caribbean Tales Film Festival held in Toronto, Canada. It won big at both festivals, receiving the Best TT Feature Film and the Best Feature Length Film awards respectively. Unfinished Sentences has also screened at the International Film Festival of Panama in Panama City, as well as the Festival Internacional del Nuevo Cine Latinoamericano in Havana, Cuba, and is soon to appear at the Island House Film Festival in the Bahamas, and on screen at the Close Up Film Centre in London.

Actors Renaldo Frederick, Che Jardine and Alessandra Jardine in a scene from Unfinished Sentences.

“Father-daughter relations, the politics of being an artist, and poetry of breathtaking power converge in Unfinished Sentences, Mariel Brown’s moving new work about her late father, the acclaimed poet, writer and newspaper columnist Wayne Brown,” journalist and poet Andre Bagoo said in a review.

“Mariel Brown's’s film Unfinished Sentences was begun as a documentary about her father, the late Wayne Brown, one of Trinidad’s most influential newspaper writers, a public figure and a fitting subject for biography in any form. As the film develops, though, its focus changes before the eyes of the viewer. A documentary somehow becomes a memoir and a purportedly subjective portrait of a writer actually becomes a deeply personal map of a film-maker’s uneasy voyage into the creative mind of her greatest artistic influence, and out of the mental doldrums in which her father’s death had left her," wrote BC Pires.

"The greatest strength of the film may not be emotional at all, but technical: the unfinished first film is connected to the 'un-begun' second one by robust film-making know-how – this might be the best-edited film ever shot in Trinidad.”

Unfinished Sentences is funded, in part, by sponsors Republic Bank, the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts, Office of the Prime Minister and BPTT.

Tickets will be available from January 14 at the Digicel IMAX Box Office. The film runs until January 22.

Actors Renaldo Frederick and Norah Dowden in a scene from Unfinished Sentences.
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