Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 24th 2015 Contents WESLEY GIBBINGS
Meet the young people behind Down
and Out---a documentary short on the
plight of the homeless in T&T and the
work of the state-run Centre for Social-
ly Displaced Persons.
The film, currently on show at the
T&T Film Festival, is a joint project
involving UWI film students and co-
directors Michaela Spencer, Shanice
Martin and David Villafana.
According to Spencer, a final year stu-
dent who hails from St Mary, Jamaica:
"We chose to look at the homeless
because we were interested in their sto-
But, according to Villafana, "while at
first, the intention was to just document
something my teammates and I saw as
unknown story in society for a grade...
now the film can hopefully draw atten-
tion to this issue in a way that helps
"That in itself is an amazing oppor-
tunity for us as young film makers," he
said. Martin said the project exposed
the team to much more than they
expected. "The subjects selected to be
shown in Down and Out were most
open about their circumstances and they
all experienced interestingly-different
situations which may conflict with what
people stereotypically think of people
who are socially displaced," she said.
As film students, they are aware of
the choice of genre with each having
clear preferences. Villafana favours action
or mystery films.
"I don t mind going forward with
making documentary film but I mostly
see myself writing and filming more
dramatic pieces in film," he told T&T
Guardian. Martin is as yet undecided.
"It s hard to pick a favourite," she said.
"I enjoy making documentaries and fic-
tion films, I wouldn t say that I would
commit to just one genre just yet. In
the future I would like to produce and
direct in documentary and fiction films."
Spencer expresses a greater interest
in dramatic features but also understands
the value of documentary filmmaking.
"I am definitely drawn or leaning towards
dramatic features because I m fascinated
with the idea that these stories come
out of someone s mind and I would like
to see what I can bring to the screen
from my head," she said.
"On the other hand I like the doc-
umentary genre because it s based in
reality and it is important to be in touch
with reality. There are many interesting
stories and events happening that need
to be recorded."
The festival is a first-time experience
for all three budding filmmakers. "I think
Caribbean audiences are hard to please,"
said Spencer, "so if they like it in the
festival I guess that s a way to gauge if
you re on the right track."
"It s a good start and it s beneficial
that as students we can get the oppor-
tunity to meet people in the business
such as potential sponsors for future
projects, actors, producers and other
professionals. I think it s a great oppor-
tunity for filmmakers to get exposure
of their work nationwide," Martin said.
"It also creates networking possibilities
with persons within the film-making
industry---locally, regionally and inter-
"It is definitely a great achievement
and simultaneously a starting point for
better things to come."
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Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Thursday, September 24, 2015
See film schedule on Page B10
Down and Out features the Centre for Socially Displaced Persons, in Port-of-Spain and will be screened again
on September 26 at MovieTowne Screen 1 at 11 am and at UWI Film Studio at 5 pm.
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