Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 25th 2013 Contents s 's B s s y ( é B )
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Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt August 25, 2013
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The 2012 London Olympics produced many high
points for the Caribbean---the Jamaican track and field
team s domination of the 100m, T&T in the javelin
throw---but the most memorable regional victory had
to be Grenada s first Olympic medal thanks to Kirani
James masterful performance in the 400m. That
gold---and the effect it had on James countrymen---
is the subject of a new documentary film, Footprints,
by co-producers Simone Princess Donelan and Barry
Perhaps best known locally for her role in the long-
running soap opera Westwood Park, Donelan has long
preferred working behind the scenes. Trinidad-born of
Grenadian parentage, she had worked with Grenadian
producer Collymore on a documentary about the killing
of Maurice Bishop.
"Barry called me just before the Olympics," Donelan
recalls, "and explained that there was a big possibility
that Kirani James would medal, but that the Grenadian
crews weren t really covering it."
Donelan, who grew up in Grenada, recognised the
potential of the story and went on faith.
She put a small crew together and got on a plane to
"We had no money at the time but it was a collab-
orative effort; real guerrilla-style filmmaking. (T&T s)
Iscah Straker agreed to come on board as director of
photography and editor. I have mad respect for her;
she s the hardest-working person on set and very skilled."
Keron Lemessy, another Trinidadian, did the sound
and the producers hired two more camera operators in
When it was time for the 400m final, the crew was
ready, cameras rolling, just in case James placed in the
"You have to remember that things were rough in
Grenada then. Tillman Thomas was in office," she points
out. (Thomas and his party, the NDC, lost every seat
in this year s general election.) "There was 50 per cent
unemployment and crime was high."
James win changed the climate.
"There was suddenly an outpouring of love. People
would hug and kiss you on the streets; there were no
incidents. It was such a carnival-like atmosphere. It
So magical, in fact, that when the producers saw
what they had captured on camera, the trajectory of
the story began to shift from being entirely about Kirani
James to exploring Grenadians celebration of his win.
Donelan maintains that this is part of what makes
the film compelling.
"Grenadians took ownership of him. Kirani comes
from an area called Gun Battle, in Gouyave, a fishing
village on the island s west coast. The area is poor and
a bit run down, but [the people there] are a proud people.
Once, when Kirani was running a race against some
older boys and beat them, the boys put their own money
together to buy him a pair of shoes."
The admiration for Kirani James stems from his own
humble attitude and "what a beautiful person he is,"
according to Donelan.
"The people of Gun Battle knew his trials. His mother
worked hard and is a big reason behind his success.
There were church services before his race and thanks-
giving services when he came back home. Grenadian
flags were flying everywhere."
Come next month, the Grenadian flag will be flying
high at the CaribbeanTales Market Incubator Programme
at this year s Toronto International Film Festival.
"That invitation was what forced us to edit the footage
and finish the film," Donelan admits. "The workshop
basically helps producers raise financing and connect
with possible distributors. We get to pitch our film,
network and learn about the tools we need to help us
The hope is for Footprints to screen on the film festival
circuit, as well as show to schools and general audiences
in Grenada. Naturally, Grenadians have a vested interest
in seeing the film, but why should everyone else?
"Because," says Donelan, "who doesn t love a story
about dreams coming true?"
One of BC on TV s favourite recent
American independent films would have
been picked today, had it not been recent-
ly (*Winter s Bone, 7.10 pm Max), as
might have the Godfather s poor but still
hugely impressive cousin (*Goodfellas,
10.05 pm TCM BEST FILM OF THE
WEEK) or the very faithful Spielberg
adaptation of Herge (*The Adventures of Tintin,8.45 pm HBOF). Today s also-
rans also include an Adam Sandler flick that is as close to good as Adam gets
(50 First Dates, 9.15 am HBO) and a computer graphics Disney thing that is
a lot less bad than it ought to be (John Carter, 4.30 pm HBOF). The week offers
one of last week s picks (*Shame, 7.10 pm Thursday Max) and John Singleton s
top-notch debut that might well have got the nod, had it screened an hour
earlier (Boyz N the Hood, 10.05 pm Tuesday TCM).
y's s :
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (Howard Hawks/ 1953/ USA / Comedy-Drama-
Musical/ 91 mins/ Not rated), 1 pm Turner Classic Movies. Watch this if you
liked The Seven Year Itch, Some Like It Hot or My Week with Marilyn. Probably
Marilyn Monroe s most recognised movie title, Gentlemen goes a long way
towards making up for not having the sparkling script of The Seven Year Itch
with song and dance numbers that stand up to anything today for lyrics and
choreography---though lacking the huge burst of energy derived from modern
production values. For anyone who wondered what all the fuss about Norma
Jean was about: given how primitive the technology was, what you see is her
charisma; and Jane Russell is no slouch, either.
y s :
Insidious (James Wan/ 2010/ USA-Canada / Horror-Thriller/ 103 mins/
Rated PG-13 for thematic material, violence, terror and frightening images,
and brief strong language) 6.10 pm today and again 9 pm Wednesday and 6.10
pm Friday HBO. Watch this if you liked Paranormal Activity, Sinister or Mama.
Even with their spectacular computer-generated special effects, few modern
horrors are genuinely good. This one is. Horror that seriously disturbs the
viewer doesn t come from eyeballs flying across the screen occasionally as
much as from nerves being worried away constantly. Insidious is one of a
handful of recent films that uses modern technologies to visually enhance a
fairly good script. Because there are undeniable kinks in the script, though,
it is not as finished a product as, say, The Exorcist or The Omen. Still, Insidious
is a spooky, unsettling movie that will make even the most jaded horror flick
junkie jump several times.
My Zinc Bed (Anthony Page/ 2008/ UK-USA/ Drama/ 73 mins/ Unrated
but at least PG-13), 8.30 pm Thursday Max West. Watch this if you liked The
Upside of Anger, The Secret Life of Dentists or Closer. Dialogue-heavy (but
from a good script), relationship-based, three-hander drama about an alcoholic
romantically involved with his boss s cocaine-addict wife; excellent performances
from Paddy Considine, Uma Thurman and Jonathan Pryce. It s precisely to
draw attention to little gems like this that might otherwise be overlooked that
BC on TV exists.
B s s : Mon: Midnight in Paris, 8.50 pm Max; Tues: Stagecoach,
9.35 pm Enc3; Wed: Bad Day at Black Rock, 3 pm TCM; Thurs: Waterworld,
5.40 pm TCM; Fri: Eyes Wide Shut, 10.05 pm TCM; Sat: Temple Grandin.
6.55 am Max.
What's so great
about Norma Jean?
dream come true
A Trifecta of the Week's Best Films on the Box
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