N Touch
Sunday 15 September 2019
follow us
News

[UPDATED] Caribbean film needs independent space

Bruce Paddington

Photo: Mark Lyndersay
Bruce Paddington Photo: Mark Lyndersay

TT Film Festival (TTFF) founder and outgoing head Bruce Paddington said Caribbean film needs an independent space where it can be screened on an ongoing basis.

He was speaking on Wednesday night at the premiere of the feature film Queen of Soca at the National Academy for the Performing Arts, Port of Spain, as part of the TTFF 2019 Carifesta edition.

He recalled going to this country's first cinema, the London Electric Cinema in Woodbrook, and said in the 1970s TT had more than 70 standalone cinemas. He said now the country has multiplexes, while former cinemas like Deluxe, Strand and Globe stand forlorn and filmmakers have to wait for a film festival to have their movies shown.

"Something is not right here."

Paddington said some local films have done very well, including I Am Santana and Green Days by the River. Multiplexes will show local films, he said, but only if their audience numbers are high. However, once audience numbers are too low, "You are out.

"Most people in the Caribbean have never seen a Caribbean film or local film. What about niche or artistic films? We need a space, an independent space, where Caribbean films can be screened on an ongoing basis."

He added that after 14 years the TTFF still needs a home.

He said, as late music director and cultural icon Pat Bishop said, instead of complaining about what does not exist, one should make it happen, and added the TTFF team had been working with passion, vision and determination. He also said that at long last TTT has been showing Caribbean and local films and paying for them via a deal with the Filmmakers Collaborative of TT (FILMCO).

Paddington said FilmTT also has a strategic plan, though he believes the film community should get a chance to see it and be more involved in the enterprise. He added that FilmTT was developing infrastructure for the industry and there is recognition from the culture ministry.

Before he spoke, Culture Minister Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly had announced the Take One Feature Film Grant, which provides seed money of $250,000 to three first-time feature-film directors, would be continued.

The films that benefited from the grant, an initiative of the ministry in association with New World Film Centre, were Queen of Soca, She Paradise and Grace and Saleem.

Paddington said the grant needs to be continued and the country needs to invest in films.

"Brand TT as the major film capital of the English-speaking Caribbean."

Gadsby-Dolly, in her address, said successive governments had identified film as one artistic vehicle through which TT's economy could be diversified.

"In that light the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts saw the film industry and the creativity of our young film producers as a critical element of the arts to be highlighted and also to be supported."

She said in mid-2018 the Take One Feature Film Grant was conceptualised.

"And I can assure you that, based on the success of this pilot, the ministry...will take the steps necessary to ensure this grant stays a staple of the cultural community."

This story was originally published with the title "Paddington: C'bean film needs space to be screened regularly" and has been adjusted to include additional details. See original post below.


TT Film Festival (TTFF) founder and outgoing head Bruce Paddington said Caribbean film needs an independent space where it can be screened on an ongoing basis.

He was speaking on Wednesday night at the premiere of the feature film Queen of Soca at the National Academy for the Performing Arts, Port of Spain, as part of the TTFF 2019 Carifesta edition.

He recalled going to this country's first cinema, the London Electric Cinema in Woodbrook, and said in the 1970s TT had more than 70 standalone cinemas. He said now the country has multiplexes, while former cinemas like Deluxe, Strand and Globe stand forlorn and filmmakers have to wait for a film festival to have their movies shown.

"Something is not right here."

Paddington said some local films have done very well, including I Am Santana and Green Days by the River. Multiplexes will show local films, he said, but only if their audience numbers are high. However, once audience numbers are too low, "You are out."

"Most people in the Caribbean have never seen a Caribbean film or local film. What about niche or artistic films? We need a space, an independent space, where Caribbean films can be screened on an ongoing basis."

He added that after 14 years the TTFF still needs a home.

Today's Most Popular
Comments

Reply to "[UPDATED] Caribbean film needs independent space"

News