Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 17th 2013 Contents A28
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Tuesday, September 17, 2013
The T&T Film Festival (TTFF)
has made significant strides and
this year, there is even greater
interest by the general public and
potential stakeholders, directors
of the Festival have told the T&T
Editorial director Jonathan Ali,
said this year s festival has several
new components. One is the three-
day conference that the festival is
hosting with Unesco from Sep-
tember 25 to 27. The conference
titled Cameras Of Diversity For A
Culture Of Peace, will take place
at the Hyatt Regency and the main
focus is on the development of the
Caribbean film industry.
"This is a major initiative. There
will be a number of film industry
guests both from T&T and abroad.
They will take part in a series of
panel discussions on topics ranging
from funding and distribution, to
issues relating to the role of women
in film and the role film can play
in social development," said Ali.
The role of film criticism and
how the level of critical dialogue
about film throughout the
Caribbean can be improved will
also be on the itinerary. Ali said
the majority of these sessions will
be free and open to the public.
Ali pointed to the impressive
growth of the festival since its
inception in 2006.
"This year we have over 140
films. Fifty are feature length films
and the rest are short films. This
is a major leap when compared to
having just a dozen films submitted
when we started.
"We have gone from one venue
which was MovieTowne, to several
venues, MovieTowne Tobago, Little
Carib Theatre in Woodbrook, and
UWI St Augustine. All of our
industry events will also be hosted
at the Hyatt this year," said Ali.
Ali believes the interest in the
festival has grown over the years
because of the diverse range of
"People love movies and they
don t normally get a chance to see
films outside of the festival season.
Most of the time when they go to
cinema or they re watching cable
television or DVDs, their access is
pretty much limited to what s
coming out of Hollywood.
"The growth of the festival has
shown there is a great demand, a
great desire to see more than just
Hollywood films. People want to
see local films."
He said last year a number of
the local films that were screened
at the festival sold out and addi-
tional screenings had to be put on
to facilitate the large number of
"We expect the same thing will
happen this year. There are several
local films that will be making their
world premiere and they are going
to be popular."
Another attraction of the TTFF
is the panorama film---movies from
Latin America, India and Africa.
Ali said for the first time this year,
a Chinese film will be shown.
"We show films from these
countries because they are coun-
tries we like to call our heritage
nations. And those films also prove
very popular with audiences who
want to see something different
than the average, Hollywood
Ali said what separates the fes-
tival from just programming and
screenings, are the filmmakers,
who are actually there to see their
films and to speak to the audience.
They are quite accessible, he said.
Every single year that the festival
has been held, the attendance
numbers have risen.
"Last year we had the highest
attendance yet at the festival and
we certainly expect to increase
numbers again this year."
Ali credited the increase in
patronage to the number of films
submitted and the improvement
in the quality of these films.
"We hope that people who
haven t yet come to this festival
or those who might have been
skeptical about it will come and
see these wonderful films and
understand why the festival is
growing," said Ali.
In addition to the action on the
screen, there s been a lot of work
behind the scenes to secure the
Festival s sustainability.
"We do have some sponsors
who have been working with us
for several years and through their
willingness to make long-term
commitments, we have been able
to establish a level of sustainability
where we know we can have a fes-
tival every year, based on the input
of these sponsors," said Nneka
Luke, TTFF director of external
For example, presenting sponsor
Flow, has been with the Festival
for six years and the company just
signed on to continue its spon-
sorship for another three years,
from 2014 to 2016.
"We also have bpTT as one of
our lead sponsors and they re in
the middle of their three-year
commitment with us," she said.
She noted other sponsors like
RBC Royal Bank, also a lead spon-
sor, has remained committed as
well as the T&T Film Company
(TTFC), which has been a sup-
porter from inception of the festival
and has grown in its support.
"TTFC will be facilitating a
workshop this year with American
actor Bill Duke, who has many
years of experience in the film
industry," said Luke.
She noted that the NGC has also
remained committed to sponsoring
community screenings throughout
the year. It also continues to sup-
port many events hosted by the
She said others who have come
on board this year include Hyatt,
which is the official venue for
TTFF s formal events, Drink Wine
Bar and Lounge in Woodbrook,
Medulla Art Gallery and Heineken
Mini. Luke said many other com-
panies in the corporate sector have
indicated their interest in being on
board in 2014.
• The T&T Film Festival runs
from today until October 1.
Guardian Media Ltd is the fes-
tival's official media partner.
Every day, festival picks from
BC Pires will be highlighted in
the T&T Guardian.
A scene from God Loves The Fighter, one of the much-anticipated local films that will be screened at the 2013
A bigger and better
film festival this year
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