Lavway, Our Story, and director Ryan Gibbons have been awarded the Best Feature Film Award at the 2022 Caribbean Tales International Film Festival.
Produced by Ultimate Events Ltd, and in partnership with Tribe, The Lost Tribe, and Carib Brewery, Lavway, Our Story, was the brainchild of Valmiki Maharaj, creative director of The Lost Tribe. It is an experimental film based on the lore of Trinidad and Tobago’s unique Carnival and Maharaj dubbed it “a love letter to Carnival.”
The film's placing was announced on September 23 at the festival’s closing night screening in Toronto, Canada.
Lavway, Our Story rose up to fill the void created by the absence of customary Carnival celebrations in TT in the midst of the covid19 pandemic. Notably, many of those who worked on the film, from talent to staff to suppliers, were sourced from the Carnival industry which was heavily impacted by the pandemic, a media relase said.
Kendal Latchman, producer and technical director on the film acknowledged the challenges the team overcame to get Lavway from concept to final product.
“We managed to pull together a phenomenal team in the midst of a pandemic in TT, where restrictions were very high and there were a lot of barriers to creating this film, especially the short time frame we had. It is a monumental achievement and we want to thank CaribbeanTales for recognising such efforts. We couldn’t have done it without our partner in Carib, so to them, I would like to say – we did it,” Lutchman said in the release.
The film premiered on a symbolic date – February 14, 2021, which coincided with Dimanche Gras, which would have been the eve of TT’s iconic two-day Carnival Parade of the Bands.
According to Maharaj, Gibbons was a natural choice to direct the film – it was the young director’s directorial debut on a feature film.
“We were working with Ryan on other projects at the time and so, when Lavyway came up, it really felt like he understood us and what we wanted to achieve with the film. The vibe and the energy were just right,” Maharaj said.
Gibbons added, “To receive the award of best feature film in CaribbeanTales International Film Festival is one of the great outcomes we can hope for. I am thrilled to have my first feature film in the director's chair win an award and grateful to have helped tell the story written by creative extraordinaire Valmiki Maharaj. This wasn't our first, nor do I see it being our last, collaboration in this space together.”
One of the key supporters of the film was corporate partner Carib Brewery Ltd. Commenting on his decision to put his support behind Lavway, Our Story, Antron Forte, category manager – beer, stout and cider at Carib Brewery Ltd, said, “Partnering with Ultimate Events in the production of Lavway has been one of the most rewarding experiences in my career. The Carib brand continues to be organically integrated with the celebration of Carnival and culture within TT, playing a role to make it sustainable for the future.”
Lavway, Our Story is co-written by Muhammad Muwakil and sound designed by Lou Lyons of Freetown Collective. It stars Nickolai Salcedo and features performances from an array of soca stars including Patrice Roberts, Nailah Blackman, Aaron "Voice" St Louis, Erphaan Alves, Destra Garcia and others.
This film was made with the financial support of the TT Film Company (FilmTT).
CaribbeanTales International Film Festival (CTFF) is an annual event that celebrates the talents of established and emerging filmmakers of Caribbean and African heritage who practise their art across the Caribbean diaspora worldwide. The 17th edition of the CaribbeanTales Film Festival, under the theme Ah-wakening, took place from September 17-23.
For more info on the film visit www.lavwayourstory.com