Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 19th 2013 Contents B3
It was around 2 pm one day in March
and the food court outside the entrance
of the Caribbean Cinemas 8 multiplex
was buzzing as usual with moviegoers and
Trincity Mall patrons.
But the air of excitement didn t extend to
three young men who d stopped to catch a
Film director Nick Attin, fight scene cho-
reographer Joel Joseph, and actor/stunt man
Fidel Guerra had earlier heard the news that
the film they d spent eight months working
on, a stylish action thriller called Escape From
Babylon, had been turned down by the pres-
tigious Tribeca Film Festival, due to start the
following month in New York.
"The mood was a bit down," Attin recalled.
"And worse yet, people in the food court were
beaming at the Hollywood movie trailers being
shown on the outside monitors of Cinemas
8."Escape is Attin s second film in as many
years. The first was the well-crafted Little Boy
Blue, a psychological thriller about a primary
school art teacher haunted by the supernatural.
Partly funded by the T&T Film Company, it
received some attention from filmmaking and
art circles, playing at the T&T Film Festival,
the Caribbean Tales Film Festival in Barbados,
and a couple of others in Latin America.
Caribbean Tales organiser Frances Anne
Solomon took over the film s distribution,
freeing Attin for another project.
Escape is an ambitious turnaround from
Little Boy Blue; Attin takes on the challenge
of blockbuster storytelling and pacing, hiring
martial arts expert Joseph to train and guide
actors in a tale about a cop turned taxi driver
who is forced to take the law into his own
hands after a serial killer begins terrorising
While publicising Little Boy, Attin boasted
that the flick only cost US $1,000 to make.
He s more reticent about revealing the cost
of Escape. He and Joseph drained their sav-
"Dov Simens, who is the greatest film
teacher in the world, says to say, It s under
a million, " Attin said, with a smile, about the
money poured into Escape.
He thought the film was worth it.
Escape was even better than he d imagined
it. In quality and content, he said, it was unlike
any other film produced in T&T entirely by
a local cast and crew.
Then the news came from Tribeca.
The blow was made more painful because
Escape was influenced by Taxi Driver, the 1976
film starring Tribeca founder Robert De Niro
and directed by Martin Scorsese, one of Attin s
Attin spent a year submitting Little Boy
Blue to film festivals around the world, expe-
riencing the highs and lows of acceptance and
rejection. He didn t want to take that ride
As he sat at a dining table outside Cinemas
8 looking at the trailers, Attin felt a burst of
"I sat there and the faces of everyone
involved in the movie swooped past my face
and the thought of all their efforts potentially
going to waste crashed on me like a tidal wave,"
"I couldn t let that happen, and I wouldn t
let that happen. I looked at the entrance of
the cinema and I turned to Joel and Fidel and
said, Let s go talk to the manager. "
It was not the first time Cinemas 8 general
manager Onika Ali Aziz had been approached
by a hopeful filmmaker. It happens regularly,
And last year for the first time in years Cin-
emas 8 gave one a chance. The puppet comedy
I m Santana: The Movie had sold-out showings
after it premiered, and went on to run for
Since then, Ali Aziz said, Cinemas 8 s man-
agement has been interested in more good-
quality local movies. When Attin and his team
approached her, she invited them to e-mail
her a trailer. The short video told her she d
found what she was looking for. She forwarded
a copy to her boss in Puerto Rico and he
Escape from Babylon is due to premiere at
Cinemas 8 in August---in the midst of the
The film s poster fits in impressively well
alongside those for Iron Man 3 and The Lone
Ranger in the multiplex s lobby. Customers
are already enquiring and Ali Aziz expects a
good response to the film.
"I think it will do just as good as Santana
or even better," she said. "I m really excited
The film will also be shown at the Empire
Cineplex in San Fernando.
Attin, who was also responsible for the
film s soundtrack, couldn t believe his luck.
It was a long journey to this point. It began
when he made the large and risky jump from
architecture to filmmaking. He d worked at
various firms and had designed the Los Attajos
chapel in Gran Couva.
When he visited the set of a commercial,
he wasn t impressed. He thought he could do
He d work briefly with Santana s Roger
Alexis on a few of the Santana shorts that
went viral, paving the way for the eventual
success of the movie.
He started researching a documentary about
late police commissioner Randolph Burroughs,
then decided that what he learned could be
the basis of a good feature film.
The lead character in Escape, Randolph
Briggs, played by Kearn Samuel, was influenced
"I sort of used a little of his background as
being a dread police and put some of that ele-
ment in the character," said Attin.
It s one thing to make a film, it s another
to get it to a big screen commercial show-
ing---only a handful of local films have made
it, among them last year s hit I m Santana:
"The attitude is still there that local films
don t really score," said Alexis, who s currently
working on I m Santana 2 and expects it to
hit theatres in 2014.
"And it s going to be there for a while,
because not all filmmakers have the talent to
give you a good product," he added.
"There will be hits and misses."
Attin hopes that, like with the Santana film,
if Escape is successful at Cinemas 8, it will
be taken up by MovieTowne and other local
cinemas. It could also make it to big screens
elsewhere in the Caribbean.
In the meantime, he s looking forward to
having the trailer---which can be seen on the
movie s Facebook page and the Web site
arunawaycolony.com---slotted in between the
Hollywood presentations on Cinemas 8 s big
"We ll be going to see movies just to see
that trailer," he said.
Selling a T&T
Director Nick Attin at the T&T Film Festival 2012 Awards.
PHOTO COURTESY MARIA NUNES/T&T FILM FESTIVAL
The poster for the action film Escape from
Babylon. PHOTO COURTESY NICK ATTIN
Author Swift paints
vivid images of gardens
in The Morville Hours
back to T&T
Links Archive May 18th 2013 May 20th 2013 Navigation Previous Page Next Page