Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 28th 2014 Contents B38
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt September 28, 2014
After spotlighting Jamaica in his first three
full-length films, award-winning documen-
tary filmmaker Miquel Galofré turned his
lens on T&T for his fourth. Art Connect is
being screened at this year s T&T Film Fes-
tival, which ends this week.
Like Galofré s previous films, Art Connect
shows people making the best out of difficult
circumstances, which is something the
Spain-born, T&T-based Galofré can identify
with, as he tells us in a rare interview. Art
Connect was made over three years, starting
in 2011.Q: How did you get involved in the
Art Connect project?
A: Collaborating with the advertising
company Abovegroup, they asked
me to film a short video about a
workshop that one of their clients was about
to have at Success Laventille [Secondary]
Coconut Growers Association (CGA) decided
to do something to help the community,
Laventille, where they have their factory locat-
ed.They brought Wendell McShine from Mex-
ico, a great Trinidadian artist, to have his proj-
ect called Art Connect with a group of students
from [Success] and they allowed Wendell and
the kids to paint a big mural on a wall in front
of the school.
The project was about teaching techniques
of painting to the kids, helping them to express
They sent me to film this process only for
three days, but after I met the students and
I saw the great work that Wendell was doing
with them, I decided to go and film every day,
to have deep interviews with the students, to
keep doing more workshops and to lend small
cameras to them.
Why did it take so long to complete?
One is the difficulty of getting the funds to
keep doing workshops after Wendell left. It's
very, very, very difficult to find money for a
documentary in Trinidad.
The budget to film the first workshop was
zero dollars, but because the workshop was
already happening thanks to CGA, we could
document it. But then to have more workshops
meant money. We wanted to do two more
workshops, one about spoken word, where
the kids will write and record a song with the
Trinidadian band Freetown Collective, and
another workshop about dance, with the cho-
reographers of Company Chameleon from
It took more than a year to get the money,
and it was finally possible thanks to Charlotte
Elias, who came on board as the producer of
the film. Before she got involved the team was
only three people, with no producer and no
The second reason was the difficulty of the
editing process. We had more than 200 hours
of footage (the kids were filming themselves
at home using GoPro cameras). It was all about
giving a voice to the teenagers so I didn't want
to put anybody between them and the audi-
ence. This makes the editing very hard, but
I find it more powerful and more real. The
full story is told by the kids. No voiceover, no
narrator and no adults allowed. Well, a lie...
We have David Rudder.
Then we also had the classic problem: a
director and a producer having different views
of how the final cut should be. Finally we both
are very happy with the film and we can't
wait to show it at TTFF.
What personal meaning does it have for
you? Considering your troubled childhood
as discussed with [blogger] Adam Cooper
This project is very personal for me. I have
been emotionally attached to it.
Nothing is more important than kids, they
are the future, and they don't have it easy.
I feel we, the adults, don't listen to them
enough. They just get commandments of what
to do or what not to do. Can you remember
yourself being a teenager? How many things
were difficult to understand... how miserable
you could feel... And having to pretend that
you are very confident.
I was a very unhappy child. I grow up miss-
ing my parents and blaming myself for all the
bad things that we were facing. I felt guilty
of all the dramas we had always around. The
world wasn't a good place for me.
Now, at my age, I know that talking a lot,
expressing myself and finding a passion to
feed my dreams, any problem becomes easier
The education system is a little old-fash-
ioned. If you don't fit in the box that they
have for you, they don't value you. They could
have a Picasso or a Van Gogh in the classroom
and they wouldn't know, because you have to
do what they want you to do; there is no place
to be different. They don't value your creativity,
your curiosity, your empathy, your compassion,
your capacity to help and plenty important
I think to incorporate projects like Art Con-
nect into the educational system can be very
How long have you been living in
Trinidad? Why did you decide to move here?
I've been in Trinidad for three years and a
I came for first time in 2010 because [my
film] Why Do Jamaicans Run So Fast? got
selected in the TTFF.
I came as a guest for the film festival and
I had the best week ever.
Trinidad has one of the best film festivals
in the world; my favourite one, for sure!
I met very cool people and I fell in love with
the place very fast.
During my last day in Trinidad, Alex Smailes,
co-director of Abovegroup, asked if I wanted
to come to live here for a while and film a
documentary with him.
And, of course, I said yes! And here I am.
What is your next project?
Kim Johnson (writer of Pan! Our Music
Odyssey) wants to produce a documentary in
Trinidad about the book Wishing for Wings
by Debbie Jacob. If you haven't read it, I rec-
ommend it to you.
She is a teacher who is doing an amazing
job at YTC, the youth prison of Trinidad.
Debbie's work helps them to reflect about
their lives. The book has a collection of the
most beautiful letters written by these young
inmates. Reading them aids in understanding
the biggest problem of Trinidad: crime.
There is a lot to do to help to prevent it.
Usually criminals are victims too.
We have done a trailer already and while
we wait to see if this film is possible I'm work-
ing on a next Jamaican documentary with
Nice Time [Productions Ltd].
We already filmed and now we are editing.
It's about parenting.
Jamaica, and all the Caribbean, has this
problem of poor parenting, broken families,
This documentary is called Tell the Children
the Truth and the idea is to show it at the
schools to help them to understand what does
it mean to become a parent.
Also I'm getting ready to film my first nar-
rative feature film in Trinidad.
Currently I'm a co-owner of a company
called Trinidad and Tobago Rocks.
We started as a Facebook page to share nice
photos and videos of Trinidad, and now we
do all kinds of videos... from documentaries
You can check it here:
Art Connect screens on September 30,
10.30 am, MovieTowne POS. Miquel
Galofré will be present for a Q&A.
Filmmaker Miquel Galofré.
PHOTO COURTESY ABIGAIL HADEED
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