Tuesday 19 September, 2017

Dreams from a flight:Green Days comes to theatres, UWI student is lead

Nadia Kandhai never set out to be a movie star.

A random meet up on a flight to Tobago set her on the path to play Rosalie, the female lead in the upcoming film, Green Days by the River.

“I’m a third-year Medical School Student,” said Kandhai as she reflects on how she ended up playing Michael Anthony’s female character in the film, set to open this year’s Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival (tt/ff) before opening nationwide on September 27. “I met Christian (James) on a flight to Tobago. He told me I looked like what he imagined Rosalie would look like, I auditioned and here I am.”

Kandhai is one of just under 100 local actors and actresses that bring Michael Anthony’s beloved Green Days by the River to the big screen. Though Kandhai had no acting experience, Christian James and Michael Mooleedhar coached her – they needed Rosalie to ‘feel real’.

“Rosalie inspired a boy to want to become a man, you had to see her and feel her powerful innocence,” said Mooleedhar, a UWI film school graduate who teamed up with Christian James to work to win the BPTT Best Film in Development award in the 2014 Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival. Three years later, their latest project, Kandhai’s acting debut, will be the first locally shot period movie to open the Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival.

“It’s really an honour to show our film not just at the festival, but to but the nation,” said James as he described the feeling of seeing the movie’s poster on show at Movietowne Port of Spain last month. 

 “2017 is the 50th anniversary of the Green Days by the River novel so in a way, it feels like serendipity that the movie‘s opening coincides with such an important milestone in our nation’s literary history,” said James. “So many of us read this book in school, I hope that parents, children, and grandparents will come out to see the film.”

“Studying film at UWI, I know many of my friends and family, though supportive, felt that making a movie in Trinidad that would be any good was kind of like a hoop dream,” Mooleedhar confessed. “It was hard. People say corporate T&T does not support, but you have to work at it, and knock on the right doors. We did and with a lot of luck, we got through.”

“Over the years, BPTT has helped Mayaro grow and develop but we never lose sight of the natural beauty of the community and the people who live there. This film showcases the lush greenery of Mayaro as the backdrop for a coming of age story many of us know and love. We wanted to support from day one but, when we first saw the budget for the film, we were not sure this would be possible,” said Danielle Jones-Hunte, BPTT Manager Corporate Communications. “We support local film through the Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival…we don’t usually do individual projects but this one was based in our host community so it took a while, but we found a way to support.”

It took over a year, but when Mooleedhar and James never gave up. “They stayed in touch with BPTT and in line with our over 50 years of support for arts and culture in Trinidad and Tobago, we were pleased to support the editing and the post production costs along with marketing and promotional costs,” said Jones.

Look Opticians, First Citizens Bank, and BPTT supported the film while BMOBILE retained title sponsorship of the Green Days by the River movie which premieres in cinemas in just a matter of weeks.

To reconnect audiences to the characters of the novel and the beauty of Green Days by the River, from September 5, BPTT will run a VIP ticket giveaway on radio stations where anyone can win tickets to see the film by answering questions about the book and film production.

 “Over 200,000 people have viewed the Green Days by the River movie trailer online, said Mooleedhar. “We hope that these promotions and giveaways funded by BPTT will continue to raise public interest in the film which will only stay in theatres as long as moviegoers go out to see the movie.”

Thousands are expected to see the movie – including the friends and family of the key cast of characters, not the least of which is the ‘real’ feeling Kandhai.

“I never pictured myself on the big screen. I never pictured members of the public answering questions about me to win contests," said Khandahai. “It’s a surreal feeling – in a way, it’s like I’m coming of age because of the movie – just like my character.”

Green Days by the River, the movie opens nationwide on September 27. Tickets are available now at box offices everywhere.