FilmTT and AACTT assist creatives

 Mariel Brown of Filmco. -
Mariel Brown of Filmco. -

The Trinidad and Tobago Film Company Limited (FilmTT) and the Arts Association Collective of TT (AACTT) have joined forces to tackle some of the challenges facing creatives during the pandemic.

The Work-From-Home hamper initiative was created through the collaboration of the AACTT, an informal collective comprising over 22 representatives, including presidents and executive committee members of incorporated, community-based and stakeholder-led arts associations and cultural groups; lead sponsor, the National Lotteries Control Board (NLCB); sponsor and facilitating agency, FilmTT and project co-ordinator, Black Collar Creative.

The key partnering associations include the National Drama Association of TT (NDATT), the TT Performing Arts Network (TTPAN), the Filmmakers Collaborative (Filmco) and the Supermarkets Association of TT (SATT), a media release said.

Triston Wallace, founder/managing director of the Performing Arts Network said the WFH relief hamper initiative was one of two pilot projects sponsored by the NLCB with additional sponsorship and support from FilmTT.

"The first was a mass grocery hamper distribution project to arts associations and their respective members in both Trinidad and Tobago through Massy Stores and Pennysavers Supermarket respectively," Wallace said in the release. "This demonstrates how the creative and cultural sectors continue to collectively share resources, opportunities and initiate and properly execute self-governance projects to assist its respective members through public-private sector partnerships."

This initiative, with the assistance of equipment co-ordinator Baird's Affordable Imports, includes the sponsorship and supply of 20 hampers, containing film equipment and accessories to support artists and cultural workers transition to digital, virtual or online platforms. The intention is to encourage creatives to continue working, creating content, and facilitating projects in the sector, while packaging the products of their creativity for virtual and online audiences, the release said.

The call-for-applications for the WFH relief hamper is open until August 23 and will be applicable to individuals only. Those interested in accessing the hamper can complete an application form available on FilmTT’s social media platforms, as well as on the platforms of various arts associations. Each application will require the individual to submit information on what is the "work", or project in which the equipment will be used.

Project co-ordinator Janine Charles-Farray of Black Collar Creative said, "Outside of the well-known names in entertainment, there is a huge community of over 5,000+ artists and cultural workers in TT who have lost work, and the opportunity to earn a steady income in the arts, since the beginning of the pandemic in TT in March 2020. Many of these workers continue to create and perform for the love of the art forms, but it has been a long, hard journey in keeping spirits alive and ensuring that as many stakeholders as possible receive support and care at this time."

General manager of FilmTT Leslie-Ann Wills-Caton said the project was a fantastic initiative. “When AACTT reached out to us at FilmTT, we jumped at the opportunity to assist. The WFH-hamper initiative is such a fantastic initiative as professionals currently developing projects are able to enhance the overall production value. This, of course, goes a long way in marketing, distribution and audience engagement,” Wills-Caton said in the release.

Leslie-Ann Wills-Caton, general manager, FilmTT.

The events manager at the NLCB, Susan Worrell, said, “The NLCB wishes to commend the Arts Association Collective for conceptualising this initiative on behalf of the cultural sector. We also thank all presidents and representatives of the individual arts associations and cultural groups in the collective for their advocacy on behalf of their members."

Filmco director Mariel Brown said the company is proud to partner with Charles-Farray and the arts organisations "to find and offer solutions that can help us get our peers back on their feet."

She said, "Covid has presented those of us who work in the creative sector with a myriad of challenges which have had a devastating effect on our ability to earn a living.”

The National Drama Association noted that "the pandemic will continue to have a critical impact on the creative sector." "As such," said its president Safa Niamat-Ali, "all of our arts associations look forward to continued current and future private sector collaboration and invite sponsors who may be interested to come forward to aid in financing problem-solving support programmes and initiatives in the creative and cultural sectors.

"Both collectively and individually, local arts associations have programmes and projects that are in need of support and sponsorship at this time to ensure that artists and creatives are given the space to survive, recalibrate and transition to meet the changing demands of working in the arts locally and internationally."


"FilmTT and AACTT assist creatives"

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