TT Film Festival announces strong lineup of Caribbean films
A strong lineup of critically acclaimed, award-winning Caribbean films will screen at this year’s trinidad+tobago film festival (tt/ff), to be held from September 19 - 26, at MovieTowne Port of Spain, San Fernando and Tobago, as well as at the University of the West Indies, St Augustine.
The films from some of the Caribbean’s finest filmmakers, include, from the Dominican Republic, Jose Maria Cabral's Carpinteros (Woodpeckers), a high-octane, no-holds barred movie about a forbidden relationship conducted through prison bars and across the 200 yards of empty space dividing the male and female prisons in Santo Domingo. Described by critics as a raw, intriguing and energetic blend of the tough and the tender, Carpinteros played at the Sundance Film Festival, to great acclaim.
Bahamian filmmaker, Kareem Mortimer’s moving and topical film, Cargo, tells the tragic story of human trafficking from the point of view of reluctant trafficker, Kevin. An American exile with a gambling addiction, living in the Bahamas, he begins smuggling Haitians to Florida in an act of desperation, to keep his secrets buried and get out of a financial bind.
Mortimer, haunted by a vivid childhood memory in which Haitian migrants who drowned on route to the United States, washed ashore in the Bahamas, recreates the incident to great effect for his opening scene. No stranger to the tt/ff, Mortimer’s films have always played to a full house and Cargo is expected to do the same this year. In 2015, Cargo was one of 15 films in development that participated in the tt/ff’s Caribbean Film Mart.
In A Caribbean Dream, Barbadian director and screenwriter Shakirah Bourne re-imagines Shakespeare's magical fairy tale A Midsummer Night's Dream, under a full moon and during the annual Crop Over festival. With the lovers’ quarrels, powerful herbs, missteps, and mishaps - Bourne’s modern-day retelling mixes Shakespearean language with Barbadian dialect amid lush tropical imagery, for a Caribbean take on a comic classic.
Also in this year’s lineup, is a strong showing from Trinidad and Tobago, with four feature length films and over 34 short and experimental films, to be announced soon. Still to be announced, also, are the international films screening in the Festival’s Panorama section. The ttff/17 opening night film Green Days by the River, by Michael Mooleedhar and Christian James, was announced last week.
The Caribbean films in competition are as follows:
BEST FEATURE FILM - NARRATIVE
Carpinteros (Woodpeckers) - José María Cabral, Dominican Republic
Cargo - Kareem Mortimer, The Bahamas
El Techo (On the Roof) - Patricia Ramos, Cuba
Santa y Andres - Carlos Lechuga, Cuba
Ultimos Días En La Habana (Last Days In Havana) - Fernando Pérez, Cuba
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Jeffrey - Yanillys Perez, Dominican Republic
Kingston Crossroads - Oliver Becker + Jonas Schaul, Jamaica/Germany