Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 29th 2013 Contents B3
God Loves the Fighter is a fictionalised tale
about crime and poverty in east Port-of-Spain,
but twice during the shooting, reality came
frighteningly close to fantasy, director Damian
Marcano told a small audience at a panel dis-
cussion last weekend.
One cast member was shot because of "jeal-
ousy," he said. In a separate incident, police
pulled guns on the crew during a rehearsal as
they responded to a report of a robbery in
Cast member Christopher Watson was shot
three times in Belmont during a period outside
"Probably the only reason I didn t get shot
was because I left to go to the studio with
Freetown (Collective) to go record a song called
Somebody Got Shot Today," said Marcano,
noting the irony. Freetown frontman Muham-
mad Muwakil plays the lead in the film and
the band is featured on the soundtrack.
Marcano was one of five filmmakers on the
panel on September 21, at the Little Carib The-
atre, in Woodbrook, organised as part of the
T&T Film Festival.
The festival, which wraps up on Tuesday,
gives movie buffs the chance to see more than
100 films---films they may not have otherwise
been exposed to---at discounted prices.
Maybe more importantly, Q&A sessions and
panel discussions allow audience members to
hear stories from the filmmakers about how
their films were made that can be as intriguing
as the films themselves. And they give film-
makers the opportunity to get valuable feedback
"The importance of a festival like this is that
it s giving people a voice," said Marcano after
the session at Little Carib.
"It s giving me, a fella from Morvant, a voice."
Dr Bruce Paddington, whose film about the
aftermath of the 1979 Grenada coup, Forward
Ever: The Killing of a Revolution, premiered
at the UWI Film Building on September 20,
gave audience members his e-mail address
during the Q&A.
He d already showed the film to affected
parties in Grenada and made changes they
suggested. He invited the UWI audience to be
part of further editing of the two-and-a-half-
"I d really like your comments about what
you like about it. What are the strengths,
what are the weaknesses. And are there any
sections that could be cut to make a shorter
version?" he said.
Grenadians in the audience shared with him
what the film---the first that explored the still
painful and divisive event---meant to them.
"We ve never really had the opportunity to
be exposed to the truth of what really hap-
pened," said one young woman.
One woman at the Q&A after the Movi-
eTowne showing of the film Red, White and
Black: A Sports Odyssey used the opportunity
and the presence of Minister of Sport Anil
Roberts to press for more to be done to help
improve the quality of life of T&T s first
Olympic medallist, weightlifter Rodney Wilkes,
who was featured in the film. The 88-year-
old Wilkes is ailing and in dire financial straits.
At the Little Carib panel discussion, five
filmmakers talked about the sometimes gru-
elling process involved in making a film. Finding
funding is one of the biggest challenges.
"For me the funding started with my maxed-
out credit card and a second mortgage of my
home," said Indian director Jayan Cherian. His
film Papilio Buddha was one of the festival s
Panorama offerings, made by international
His tone was light but the words mirrored
the experience of other filmmakers.
"I m lucky I have the ability to shoot and
edit. So that s what I did: I shot and edited,"
said Christopher Laird, whose stick-fighting
film No Bois Man No Fraid is up for the festival s
best documentary feature prize.
"There was no crew. There was no lighting.
No extra soundman.
"I hope it doesn t show too much in the
film," he added with a laugh.
The God Loves the Fighter team has actually
been using the Q&As to promote the film.
The Q&A for the premiere was apparently
so explosive that festival blogger Aurora Herrera
posted about it, beginning with the line, "Wow.
What a night." The film s Facebook page posted
a comment about the Q&A and a link to Her-
rera s blog.
"It s time to watch the film for yourself and
join in the discussion!" the page said on Sun-
Herrera said issues of race coming out of
the different experiences of the multiracial cast
of characters contributed to the heat of the
Marcano pointed to other sources of dis-
agreement. One woman complimented him
on his use of an "international eye" in his film-
making. He didn t like the implications.
"I asked her, How many films have you
seen from a child from Morvant? Growing up
there is what makes me shoot like that," he
said. "I said while I accept the compliment,
I can t accept it in the way you gave it to me.
Because everyone in Morvant and Laventille
has had my back for the last three years (during
the making of the film)."
But the voluble Marcano, who is based in
California, USA, and makes music videos for
a living, said he appreciated the exchanges that
"At the end of it all," he said, it was "a great
Festival brings audiences,
God Loves the Fighter is showing tonight at
MovieTowne in Tobago and on Tuesday at
MovieTowne in Port-of-Spain. Forward Ever:
The Killing of a Revolution will be shown
tomorrow night at MovieTowne, Port-of-Spain.
The director will participate in a Q&A
More info: ttfilmfestival.com or 621-0709.
(See Page B4 for a review of God Loves
• Guardian Media Ltd is the official media
partner of the T&T Film Festival.
Ida Does, director of Poetry is an Island, addresses the audience. With her are Damian Marcano, director God Loves the Fighter, left, and
Christopher Laird, director of No Bois Man No Fraid. PHOTO COURTESY TTFF/13
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