Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 1st 2017 Contents SUNDAY 1 OCTOBER, 2017 -- UWI TODAY 15
According to producer Christian James, he threw all reason
out the window by enrolling in e UWI, St. Augustine Film
Programme in 2006. At the Sixth Form level, James, 32, had
been a science student and was warned against venturing into
the uncertainty of the creative industries.
Director Michael Mooleedhar, 32, has a similar story. Yet,
seven years a er the two graduated in the Film Programme's
rst cohort, James and Mooleedhar are collaborating and
reaping the bene ts of their risky decisions.
eir feature-length lm "Green Days by the River," an
adaptation of Michael Anthony's classic Caribbean novel, was
the rst opening night lm of the trinidad + tobago lm festival
(tt ) by a local director and producer. e lm was released
on the 50th anniversary of the book's publication and helped
spawn a resurgence of interest in the novel.
e National Library and Information System (NALIS)
chose to relaunch the One Book, One Community initiative
this year using the novel and it's been returned to the syllabi
in many secondary school literature classes.
" is lm is a gi to Trinidad & Tobago. is book is one
that means a lot to people and the country and one thing we
hope is that the lm will be around 50 years from now in the
same way the book has tested time. We're hoping to have that
type of e ect," said Mooleedhar, who also has a Master's in
Creative Design Entrepreneurship from UWI.
Mooleedhar and James said they were lucky to have
professors such as Dr. Jean Antoine and Bruce Paddington
(tt Founder). "I think what UWI did was it created a good
foundation and base. It opened up our minds to all the di erent
aspects of lmmaking. We probably didn't come out of it as
experts, but we got really good exposure," said James.
When the project began in 2014, UWI also provided
support to the lmmakers in the form of assigning a research
assistant from the Institute for Gender and Development
Studies to help the team remain true to the pre-Independence
period in which Green Days is set. Moreover, the campus
turned out to be a talent pool. e production assistants, interns
and the two female leads, Vanessa Bartholomew and Nadia
Khandai, are all UWI students.
e coming of age story of Shell, a teenager in rural Mayaro
set in 1952 is one that's not only familiar among Caribbean
readers, but also popular. James said the team didn't feel any
negative pressure, however, in doing an adaptation. They
worked closely with Anthony, who was supportive of the project
from inception and also has a cameo in the lm. Mooleedhar
says the lm is as close to the novel as can be while retaining
an entertaining quality. " ere's a di erence between a book
and a movie. It's not a play and there're certain creative liberties
you take to make it more cinematic."
Green Days by the River
is in theatres nationwide.
Running Time: 100 mins
Rating: PG 13
For more information,
Film Programme Alumni
FIND GREEN DAYS IN THE CINEMA
BY ZAHRA GORDON
"At rst glance the book is such a simple story you wonder
how you are going to make this into a movie, but the themes
are extremely complex. You're dealing with a boy becoming a
man, with love; so the situation may not be complex, but the
emotions are, and the lm has to bring that to life." Mooleedhar
" ere's also the idea of space and the land and what the
connection of the land meant to people. I don't think that
connection exists for the majority of Trinidad and we tried
to bring out those themes and amplify them and give them
For James, simplicity was the key to a successful rst
feature. " at's speci cally why we chose this story. As rst
time lmmakers, you don't want to choose any high concept,
time-travelling type of lm. You're still developing your cra
and if you can tell a simple story in a unique, poetic way, you
can master your cra ," he said.
e story also had a special meaning for some of the cast
members. Khandai read the book at a young age and identi ed
closely with the main character. "I read this book when I was
11 when I had just written SEA. It really resonated with me as
a young person going from one stage of my life to another as
secondary school was a foreign environment. At the time, I felt
a lot like Shell did in his new home experiencing all these new
things, trying to nd his place as a man and his place also as a
child continuing to strive to be true to himself," said Khandai,
a 24-year-old medical student in her third year.
For Bartholomew, a nal year sociology student, Green
Days has rea rmed her love for theatre arts. "Doing the lm
de nitely encouraged me to stay within the industry and to get
back into that creative atmosphere," said Bartholomew who
was active in theatre in secondary school. Like Khandai, Green
Days was Bartholomew's rst formal audition.
Working on the film hasn't only been inspiring for
Bartholomew and Khandai; James and Mooleedhar plan to use
everything they learned in the past three years on bigger and
even better projects. "We've spent three years putting energy
into this project so we'll need a short break, but I just want
to keep directing. Every time you direct something, you get
excited about what you learned and theoretically, you feel like
you're getting better. So I don't want to wait two years to do
something again and forget what I learnt," said Mooleedhar.
Green Days will be screened at the Belize International
Film Festival in November and the Bahamas International Film
Festival in December. e team is also planning a Caribbean-
wide limited release.
Christian James and Michael Mooleedhar shake hands with Michael Anthony, author of "Green Days by the River." e lm won the award
for BEST TRINIDAD & TOBAGO FEATURE FILM, and also copped the People's Choice awards at the ceremony on September 26.
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