Trinidad and Tobago directors thrilled as short films to screen in London
THREE TT film directors will have their work shown at the Barbican Cinema in London, England, at Snapshots: Caribbean Cinema Up Close – "a collection of films that offer a rare insight into the flourishing Caribbean film culture; exploring individual and shared cultural identities."
In a release, the Barbican Centre said the showcase began on May 17 and will end on May 31.
TT directors Eric Barry, Gesiye Souza-Okpofabri and Andrei Pierre will have their work featured in a special segment called Currents on May 24. It includes a total of seven shorts which cover the themes of familial and self-acceptance, overcoming adversity, as well as justice and pride "from a uniquely Caribbean perspective."
Barry's The Inner View, which is nine minutes long, is about a young man from a marginalised community struggling to secure employment owing to the stigma attached to where he lives.
The Wound is a Portal, Souza-Okpofabri's 11-minute short, focuses on eight Trinidadians getting a tattoo "which connects them all whilst exploring their wider and more personal connection to the island."
And Pierre's four-minute short – My Maxi – shows a young man trying to be open with his parents about his sexuality and identity. However, a "breakthrough conversation" alters the dynamic of their bond "in ways he was not expecting."
The other four films are by directors from Jamaica, Dominica and Haiti.
Barry told Newsday he was quite surprised by the selection, adding that it is the first time this film is being shown in another country.
"I'm very much honoured and excited as well because the work, while it's a short film, it's very, very important in terms of what it speaks about. It's a problem we face at home and abroad where we judge people superficially and wrongly because they come from a particular area, and I think it's a good message to share."
He said when he told his friends his short film is being featured in the UK, they were in awe.
He added, "It feels like an accomplishment and something very much to be proud of because they wouldn't have (chosen) it if it wasn't worthy."
This film was featured in the 2022 TT Film Festival and was in the running for best TT film.
In 2020, Barry was the regional winner of the BBC International Radio Playwriting Competition, and in 2021 he came second in the Prime Minister’s Playwriting Competition (full length).
Souza-Okpofabri, also a tattoo artist, told Newsday she is "very excited and very grateful" for the opportunity and thanked the show's curator Patrice Robinson, as well as the TT Film Festival.
She said the film is part of a larger project which includes a portrait and an animated film – a reel of tattoos she did on people in TT.
It has also been shown in Wales and will be shown in the US this month.
Pierre said it feels gratifying that his film has "gained so much traction beyond borders...
"I'm elated that people continue to be touched by my work.
"I know that the Silver Lining Foundation is also happy that their advocacy of comprehensive sex education is very well received. It's funny it's heading right back to the country that provided funding for it, so now the diaspora gets to hear the message."
He said the film has also been featured in Jamaica and St Vincent.
In addition to all of this, US filmmaker Kavery Kaul's documentary One Hand Don't Clap, which follows legendary calypsonians Calypso Rose and the late Lord Kitchener, will also be shown, at a date to be announced. This documentary was first released in 1988 and has since been restored and re-released. The showing will be strictly for senior citizens
"Trinidad and Tobago directors thrilled as short films to screen in London"