Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 11th 2016 Contents B40
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt September 11, 2016
Tomb is a science fiction feature
film set and made entirely in
T&T. Writer and director
Nicholas Attin tells the story of
a Trinidadian astronaut who
slips into a wormhole while responding to a
distress beacon in deep space and suddenly
finds himself in the afterlife.
Attin said the concept for the film came to
him in a dream, where he was approached by
a space traveller in a black spacesuit called
Obatala, who asked if Attin wanted to tell his
story. (In doing his research, Attin later found
out that Obatala is the name of an Orisha.)
He combined this vision with the work of
his greatest cinematic influence, iconic writer
and director Stanley Kubrick, who directed
2001: A Space Odyssey.
"I pay a lot of homage to him in my work.
If you've seen any of his films, I take it as a
sense of pride and honour to be able to recreate
even a single shot, because I learned so much
by watching his films and listening to him
Attin said he was initially overwhelmed by
the idea of creating a film in the image of
2001 and the 2014 Hollywood hit Interstellar,
knowing he had little or no budget. But projects
that are meant to be taken on a life of their
own, he said, and this began to happen with
In searching for ways to recreate the iconic
space helmet, Attin contacted a costume
designer who worked on the film Prometheus
(Ridley Scott's nod to 2001). Attin showed
him his sophomore feature film, Escape from
Babylon, and impressed him with his willing-
ness and enthusiasm.
The designer made a helmet which he called
the Martian's helmet; it's used primarily for
exploring planets, as opposed to just being
floating around in space. This was perfect for
Attin, who also designed the suit to sleek and
streamlined, less like the traditional bulky
Another major obstacle to be overcome were
the space scenes. After shooting most of these
on a green screen, Attin found Blender, a free
online 3D modeling program, which enabled
him, after a two-month self-taught crash
course, to design two ships. The TTSS Hum-
mingbird and the TTSS Scarlet Ibis, he said,
remain some of his greatest achievements to
Attin is proud of the fact that the film was
created entirely in T&T, with T&T actors, with
very little funding and at no expense to the
taxpayers of T&T. He attempted to raise funds
through an online Indiegogo fund-raiser, which
garnered little or no support from people in
T&T. Attin said this lack of support was heart-
breaking, but he understands that filmmaking
in T&T is still developing and people are skep-
tical about investing.
Funding would pay the actors, who Attin
lauded as some of the most accomplished in
"The two lead actors, Kearn Samuel and
Gregory Pollonais, were trained by Hollywood
coaches. I had worked with them on Escape
from Babylon and wrote those roles for them
because we have a really great professional
relationship and a great friendship.
"The lead actress, Jair Massiah, is Tobag-
onian but based in Los Angeles, and she is
also Hollywood-trained. She has lamented to
me at times that it's difficult getting decent
roles in Hollywood, especially for someone of
her skin colour, but I knew her calibre and
her ability, so I asked if she wanted the role
of Obatala's wife, and she accepted.
"My philosophy on directing is that 90 per
cent of directing is casting. The other ten per
cent is my little 16 herbs and spices, nothing
to talk about."
Attin also paid tribute to his creative con-
sultant, Rafael Noblé, an American actor based
in Los Angeles, who trained Samuels and Pol-
lonais. Attin said Noblé has an affinity for
T&T and has been a bedrock of support. Attin
is also an advocate for having people of colours
in strong roles---not Hollywood's forte.
Attin said he hoped T&T audiences like the
film, as he sees it as a glimpse of what can
be done here. He is also looking forward to
the international premiere of the film, which
he said had a shot at opening the LA Film
"It was really heartbreaking, because the
LA Film Festival is one of the top ten movie
festivals in the world. I appreciated that we
reached that distance and I can only imagine
what would have happened if we had gotten
to that level."
Still, the T&T Film Festival is no small
achievement---what it lacks in renown it makes
up for in cache, as the festival has been voted
one of the coolest in the world. Attin's film
is one of four films in contention for the award
for Best T&T Feature.
Tomb premieres at the T&T Film Festival
on September 23, with two additional showings
on September 24 and 26.
Attin's new film goes cosmic
Go to ttfilmfestival.com/film/tomb
Tomb is Nick Attin's third feature film.
His first film, the psychological thriller Little
Boy Blue, was a project of his second year at
the film programme at the University of the
West Indies, St Augustine. Released in 2009,
it tells the story of a depressed art teacher
who becomes the victim of paranormal
disturbances after confiscating a strange
pendant from an orphaned student.
Attin decided not to complete the program,
as he had begun to make his second feature
film, Escape from Babylon. That film deals
with an ex-cop turned taxi driver who
continues to watch over the city he once
protected, and comes in contact with a serial
killer who also works as a taxi driver.
Both films have premiered locally and
internationally at various film festivals. In
addition to writing, directing, editing and
producing his films, Attin composes and plays
some of the music for the soundtracks.
Kearn Samuel as Commander Nelson Obatala in Nicholas Attin's feature Tomb. IMAGES COURTESY NICHOLAS ATTIN
The TTSS Scarlet
Ibis, which Attin
created for Tomb.
Links Archive Sepember 10h 2016 September 12th 2016 Navigation Previous Page Next Page