Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 4th 2013 Contents B1
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The director of Diana says he has "no
regrets," despite the film s poor reception
in the UK.
Oliver Hirschbiegel told the BBC that
the movie s critical mauling was "dev-
astating, but when you make a film you
don t think about the reactions."
The Telegraph described the film as
"a special class of awful," while the Mirror
called it "cheap and cheerless."
Hirschbiegel admitted the reviews had
put off audiences, but he still hoped peo-
ple would "make their own minds up."
"In all the other places where it s
opened---in Poland, the Czech Republic,
Turkey and Slovakia---it s been very
strong," he said. "I think for the British,
Diana is still a trauma they haven t come
to terms with."
Starring Naomi Watts, the film depicts
Princess Diana in the final years of her
life, with a focus on her affair with heart
surgeon Hasnat Khan, played by Lost s
Diana director 'devastated' by reviews
"Picture is up!"
"Quiet on set!"
"Ok guys, that s a cut!"
The assistant director meant busi-
ness when he warned potential
noisemakers and extras to keep quiet
on the set of Pan! A Modern
Odyssey, as cast and crew shot a
scene at Unity Church on Aber-
cromby Street, Port-of-Spain, a few
Meanwhile, just up a flight of
stairs, costume co-ordinators busily
dressed the cast in costumes
designed by Meiling for the day s
The 90-minute docudrama began
filming on September 14 and
wrapped 13 days later, using several
locations throughout the country,
including Santa Cruz, Belmont, and
The film combines the history of
pan---from its birth to Panorama to
eventual national instrument sta-
tus---with a fresh, fictional twist.
It is set in Trinidad with a 1940s
backdrop, and revolves around the
story of a young boy called "Gold-
teeth," played by Renaldo Fredrick,
who leaves a steelband in Port-of-
Spain and moves to Tacarigua, where
he joins another band and brings
the two together. The film comprised
20 main actors, 50 crew members,
and depending on the scale of the
scenes, up to 200 extras, all from
Journalist turned scriptwriter, and
brains behind it all Dr Kim Johnson
explained that the audience will
understand the main changes in the
steelband movement through Gold-
teeth s journey.
He said the movie had to be wor-
thy of an international market, and
a professional crew was therefore
necessary to ensure a high-quality
production. Enter producer Jean-
Michel Gibert, the founder and
director of the Caribbean Music
Group, who recently produced a
well-received documentary called
Calypso Rose: The Lioness of the
Jungle, an intimate portrait of the
legendary singer from Tobago.
Johnson has written several books
on the history of steelband and said
when Gibert approached him with
similar aspirations to capture the
story and beauty of pan in film, the
ball got rolling slowing but surely.
"We started off with a script two
years ago...It s been re-written about
15 or 20 times and the story has
changed completely. It s sort of
unrecognisably different now. But
that was the start."
The director of the fictional por-
tion of the film was Belgium-born
Jerome Guiot, while French director
Thierry Teston directed the docu-
mentary, which was shot during
Carnival earlier this year.
The multi-million-dollar film has
had a continuous spell of good luck
since production began, as many
businesses have been charitable with
their time and resources. Johnson
said Penta Paints donated old drums
that were turned into antique pans,
and other agencies (governmental
and non-governmental alike) have
contributed money and free use of
"We just have so much love. Peo-
ple have been working 18-hour
days---it is crazy how people have
been working. There is such a vast
support and togetherness," Johnson
said, lighting up as he detailed the
generosity of many. "I have to say,
T&T really come out to help us. Oth-
erwise we couldn t have done it."
He said scouting for locations was
challenging at times because of the
time period the movie portrayed.
"The action of the film takes place
in the 1940s, so locations are a real
problem. Everywhere in Trinidad
looks modern. In the 1940s there
were no burglar bars---now every-
where has burglar bars."
Similarly, old clothes and vintage
cars were needed to match that
decade, true to the movie s portrayal.
Meiling created printed T-shirts with
old band names, while vintage car-
collector Bramie Maharaj lent the
production three of his cars for a
scene shot outside Zen nightclub on
The film will be launched at the
Cannes Film Festival in France with
Scriptwriter and film co-producer Dr Kim Johnson said he wanted the movie to be high quality and worthy of an
international market. PHOTO: ANDY HYPOLITE
• Continues on Page B2
T&T film history
in the making
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