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Brooks, a part-time actor for more
than ten years, wants to win an
He also has the less ambitious
but still elusive goal of studying at
the New York Conservatory for
Dramatic Arts. He was accepted
since 2011 to its three-year pro-
gramme, but is still trying to raise
$500,000 for fees. He wants to
make acting his sole occupation.
Brooks may have gotten just a
little closer to his dream as he and
24 other local actors get a chance
to raise their profile locally and
They play roles in the US movie
Girlfriends Getaway, shot within
one month earlier this year entirely
on location in Trinidad.
The comedy premiered on the
US network TV One last Saturday
and ran again on Sunday. It opened
to the T&T public yesterday at mul-
tiple locations across the country
and will run for the next four weeks.
It stars a quartet of actresses well
known in T&T for their roles in
popular TV shows and movies---
Essence Atkins (Smart Guy), Malin-
da Williams (Soul Food; Moesha),
Terri J Vaughn (The Steve Harvey
Show), and Garcelle Beauvais (The
Jamie Foxx Show)---as friends who
fall into misadventures while on
vacation in Trinidad.
"It is a great opportunity for
myself and for the other actors
involved," said Brooks, in the audi-
ence at a press Q&A the day before
the movie s red-carpet premiere at
MovieTowne Port of Spain.
Brooks also had a role in the 2012
Canadian film Home Again, which
was shot and screened in T&T.
In Girlfriends Getaway he plays
a drug-dealer who kidnaps
Vaughn s character.
"We hope it opens the door for
more international producers and
directors to use Trinidad for a loca-
tion. Once casting calls go out,
hopefully I m cast," he said.
Girlfriends Getaway was direct-
ed by Roger Bobb, an assistant
director on many Tyler Perry films.
Bobb spoke glowingly of the
acting talent in T&T.
"I m so ecstatic about the local
talent we ve been able to tap in
this film," he said.
"Everybody comments about
how they kind of steal the movie
a little bit," he added, laughing and
playfully putting up a hand in front
of Atkins face to hide her reac-
Bobb thought about using
Trinidad to shoot Girlfriends Get-
away after meeting film and tel-
evision producer Lisa Wickham
and Carla Foderingham, head of
the T&T Film Company, at a loca-
tion convention in LA last March.
Bobb s parents Marie and
Edward, in the audience at the
Q&A, are Guyanese. Bobb
describes his father as "an hon-
orary Trinidadian" who had come
to the island for every Carnival for
20 years. Bobb had also previously
visited the island.
He paid a scouting visit earlier
this year and was satisfied with
what he found.
Some adjustments had to be
made to the script to suit the
locale. A reference to basketball
was changed to cricket and a dou-
bles-eating contest was included.
"The fact that we used so many
local actors, some the dialogue got
changed," said Cas Sigers-Beedles,
the film s writer, sharing other
ways shooting in Trinidad affected
"There were so many funny
local colloquialisms that weren t
originally in the film that a lot of
the actors contributed to the proj-
ect. So it feels very Trinidadian,"
Unusual for American films shot
in the Caribbean, the majority of
the cast and crew were from T&T.
And some well-known T&T per-
sonalities had cameos in the film,
including Destra Garcia, Daren
Ganga and Olatunji Yearwood.
There were no concerns about
American audiences being put off
by the preponderance of Trini
accents. In fact, the Americans
occasional struggle to understand
Trinidadians was used for comedic
"I grew up in a Caribbean house-
hold around Trinidadians. It wasn t
an issue because they speak English
the way I speak English---or so I
thought," said Bobb. "However,
what you ll see in the film is that
our cast might have had some trou-
ble understanding what they were
saying, and we played it up in the
"It s some of the biggest jokes,"
Overall Atkins, the only one of
the film s US actresses at the Q&A,
raved about the experience of work-
ing in T&T.
"Scenery is great and accou-
trements are great and aesthetics
are great, but I don t have a good
experience unless great people are
involved," she said. "And that s how
it was behind the camera, and that s
how it was in front of the camera,
and that s how it was everywhere
we went in Trinidad.
"It was a great experience," she
• Girlfriends' Getaway will be
showing for an initial run of four
weeks at MovieTowne (Port-of-
Spain, Chaguanas and Tobago), Cin-
emas 8 in Trincity and Hobosco in
Local talent shines in
US movie filmed in T&T
American actress Essence Atkins, Girlfriends' Getaway director Roger Bobb and
Imagine Media CEO and film producer Lisa Wickham at a press conference for
the film on Monday. PHOTO: ABRAHAM DIAZ
Kevon Brooks, who wants to win an Oscar in ten years, with the stars of
Girlfriends' Getaway, from left, Essence Atkins, Garcelle Beauvais, Terri J
Vaughan and Malinda Williams.
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