Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 28th 2016 Contents B2
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt August 28, 2016
necessarily see the movie as a gay one. "It's
really showing how difficult coming into adult-
hood can be when there are expectations from
the people who care for us.
"His family hopes he's going to be that per-
son to have a different life trajectory, and the
film looks at his complicated relationships
with his father, brother and best friend, so
this dynamic with all these other characters
is evenly mapped. It's not then just a film
about him and this man."
Jenkins and Jones are both heterosexual.
They said working on the movie was an eye-
Jenkins, a designer and entrepreneur with
no prior acting experience, said while he was
concerned about the stigma that might be
attached to the role, he took it because he
realised local and regional actors were reluctant
to play the part. He didn't want his children
to think of him as a bigot for not taking up
"The truth is it would be very hard for a
straight man I can get away with, because I
can say I'm straight and I was just acting.
"I felt it's abhorrent the way we stigmatise
such a significant portion of the population.
Essentially it's a human rights issue that keeps
getting swept under the carpet by successive
governments, and if I could do something
positive in one small way by taking on this
role, and expose myself to some backlash per-
haps, then why not?"
Jones, who is from England, said the char-
acter as he played it has a lot of shame verging
on self-hatred. The role helped him see what
it's like to grow up in a society where being
gay is not accepted at all and to carry that
"No one deserves to have to live a lie, so
it was a strange experience for me as a het-
erosexual male to see what it's like living on
the other side of that."
During filming, Jones was harassed by some
boys on a corner because he "looked gay" and
that experience brought the character home
in a different way.
"I would have loved to talk to them to under-
stand their mentality towards homosexuality
and how you think it's okay to shout abuse
at someone you've never seen in your life, just
based on their appearance.
"I could imagine if I was gay that it would
be awful, feeling like you couldn't walk out
of your house and just go somewhere without
someone harassing you. I hope this film will
mitigate some of the negative feelings about
homosexuality by humanizing LGBTQI peo-
Jones and Jenkins both hope that the film
will alter the landscape positively for LGBTQI
people in T&T.
In addition to being shot entirely in Trinidad,
the film used mainly local cast and crew, with
very few non-local people. Hadeed and Govan
congratulated the crew on their professionalism
and positivity, and said the acting talent was
wonderful. Hadeed paid special tribute to Avril
Fisher, Leslie Ann Caton, Lesley-Ann Mac-
farlane, Timmia Hearn, Che Rodriguez, Pene-
lope Spencer and Nickolai Salcedo.
They also thanked the people of Paramin
for being gracious during filming, particularly
"Popo" Constantine, Ellis Emmanuel, Jesus
from Cool Breezes Bar and the New Manage-
ment Blue Devil group.
Govan said they were very open with the
community about the premise of the film.
"We didn't want them to feel betrayed, but
they were fine with it. The culture of jab
acknowledges the shadow in a particular way
and feels rooted in a kind of inclusion that a
lot of cultures don't have, wherein they accept
the things they aren't so comfortable with.
"They see it all as sacred including the dark-
ness and the Devil,' which is why I was so
fascinated by the idea of the jab and the whole
film is inspired by that really."
Hadeed said the Government should
encourage the local sector by initiatives such
as mandating that international film crews
shooting in T&T have people understudy and
learn from them, creating a dedicated police
department for permits and permissions and
funding a script development department.
She also called for greater investment in and
consistent funding of the arts.
Govan said the Government should make
it a priority to cultivate a local industry where
Trinidadians and other Caribbean people can
tell stories about the region in their own voic-
es.Play the Devil was produced in association
with CreativeTT and FilmTT.
The film has been received positively by
audiences at the Los Angeles Film Festival and
won Best Film at QFlicks, an LGBTQI Film
Festival in Philadelphia. It is scheduled to open
the T&T Film Festival on September 20, and
all involved are curious to see how local audi-
ences will receive it.
Jenkins called it an amazing piece of cinema
and hoped people would see it as an interesting
take on what is the reality of life in T&T for
a lot of people. Jones said he's interested in
what different people will take away from the
Hadeed said, "We tried to make a film that
speaks to the real issues in the region and
hopefully encourages us to look at ourselves
and be more compassionate and less judg-
Govan said she hoped that Trinidadians
would be proud of the film, even if they find
it challenging. "The film showcases the rich
colourful cultural backdrop of T&T and hope-
fully it represents how Trinidad is absolutely
rich and beautiful and complicated as a place
and space. I hope that it creates an interesting
conversation in the country, if nothing else,
and people reflect on it and I'm excited for
Bahamian filmmaker Maria Govan's first
feature film, Rain, put her on the map. It
opened the T&T Film Festival in 2009, and
was awarded at the Palm Springs
International Film Festival; it screened at the
prestigious Toronto International Film
Festival. US cable TV giant Showtime
licensed Rain for a year---21 million viewers
saw it, Govan has said---and as a DVD both
Walmart and Target carried it, selling
thousands of copies.
She has also co-directed the documentary
feature Womanish Ways, Freedom, Human
Rights & Democracy: The Women's Suffrage
Movement in the Bahamas 1948- 1962.
A much-celebrated photographer who has
shown across the world, Abigail Hadeed
officially stepped into motion pictures with
the 2012 experimental short film Between
the Lines. It screened in the T&T Film
Festival's New Media exhibition. She co-
produced Janine Fung's documentary feature
film La Gaita, which won a popular award at
the same festival that year. In 2013 she shot
Nicola Cross' narrative short On My
Film showcases rich colourful
cultural backdrop of T&T
From Page B1
ABOUT MARIA GOVAN
ABOUT ABIGAIL HADEED
A still from the production
of Play the Devil, by
Govan and producer
Abigail Hadeed. PHOTO
COURTESY ABIGAIL HADEED
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