Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 16th 2014 Contents Janine Charles-Farray
This year marked the return of the DeciBel Expo and Entertainment
industry conference in Trinidad and Tobago. Multiple representatives
of the local creative industries were given an opportunity to attend
sessions, benefit from local and international experts and network
within the local creative community.
Supported by event partners Creative TT and invesTT, day two of the
DeciBel conference on May 2 was geared specifically toward stakeholders
of both the music and film industries, which began at the Pier One host
venue with the first session ‘Working in America: The Reality and Myths
behind Working as an Entertainer in the US’.
Attorney at Law Neal Richardson Datta, Esq. led the session and spoke
candidly and comprehensively about the mechanisms and processes avail-
able for local entertainers and artists to access specialty Visas for admis-
sion into the US for the purpose of working in the entertainment industry.
There were many burning questions from the packed and eager audi-
ence with issues ranging from US entry for single or multiple performances,
artistic collaborations and entertainment work opportunities.
The crux of the requirements were that one had to be proven as “gen-
uinely remarkable” in skill and talent and had to have the support of a legiti-
mate host in the US to vouch for and endorse the application. The technical
descriptions of Visa types one could apply for were also explained.
The session then split in half with two simultaneous presentations: 'Fi-
nancing your Film on a ShoeString Budget' by Franco Sama , Film Financer
and Executive Producer of US-based Samaco Films and 'Do I need a Record
Deal? The New Paradigm' with Duro, Jason Kpana, Terese Joseph and
Raphaella Lima along with Cybelle Pettus via Skype.
In the film financing session, attendees were given a practical and step-
by-step explanation of the old versus new model of film financing, along
with pertinent tips and tricks from Sama’s experience in US film financing
for low budget films (between one to five million US).
He began the session with an anecdote about how he got into film from
car sales, starting as a publicist and then moving up through the network-
ing ranks to become an Executive Producer. He then broke down the film fi-
nancing process with particular emphasis on the necessity for teamwork
and a focus on the ‘In Development’ phase of the filmmaking process.
Recommendations for the composition of an ‘In Development’ team in-
cluded a reputable Casting Director (to attract premium talent), Distribu-
tion partners (to assess domestic and foreign box office estimates), a
Production Attorney, a Line Producer (for budgeting and scheduling), a
Post-Production Supervisor and funding for travel and other miscellaneous
activities needed during this phase.
He described the financing required for the ‘In Development’ phase of a
film projects as “the riskiest money you’ll ever spend on a film.”
He gave an acerbic and some might say harsh assessment of some film-
maker’s expectations of approaching an investor with only a written script
expecting a cheque, as opposed to approaching an investor with ‘a deal’. A
few suggestions made by Sama as valuable elements of a deal included;
1. A script which has been vigorously assessed and scrutinised
through the Script coverage process**
2. Any Pre-Sale contract confirmations (or estimates) from Domes-
tic or International Film Distributors
3. Film Location Cash or Tax rebate opportunities
**Script coverage is the summary and analysis of a script's plot and writ-
ing quality, used by agencies and production companies to track film and
Sama also indirectly endorsed the Trinidad and Tobago Film Company
(TTFC), one of DeciBel’s event partners for the day, by remarking that T&T
has a very attractive cash rebate incentive for on location filming.
He cautioned the attending audience, which comprised directors, actors,
producers, screen and script writers and one or two film marketers, that
successful film productions work on generating a return on investment for
their financing partners - even before production begins.
Several industry-based film financing methods were reviewed in brief
along with some methods involving strategic modifications to film financ-
ing that Sama personally developed and used successfully over his years of
The merits of debt versus equity financing were discussed, and recom-
mended sources of inflows of film revenue were also explained to the riv-
eted and attentive audience of local film stakeholders. Sama concluded by
stressing the importance of having an Executive Producer on any film pro-
duction, whose role should go beyond simply sourcing financing.
“Getting the money is the easy part.” Sama asserted, “Paying the money
back to investors is the hard part.” He went on to describe the three types
of film investors one may meet in the market and encouraged filmmakers
to assess and know ahead of time what kind of investor is being ap-
proached, so that a filmmaker’s pitch can be adjusted to match. He also
warned that a film which could not pay back its investment would result in
ruined relationships and a negative reputation on producers for future proj-
Overall, on the film side of Day Two’s session, the information shared
was timely, relevant and significant. Many stakeholders left the session
with glowing commendations for Sama’s contribution and DeciBel’s initia-
tive for facilitating the workshop.
Samaco Films and Question Mark Entertainment are currently collabo-
rating on a film to be produced and shot in Trinidad and Tobago entitled,
“When We Were Pirates” featuring members from the cast of the popular
TV series ‘Lost’. Synopsis: A tight-knit group of friends, bound together by
their love for playing pirate, discover that a childhood promise “written in
blood”, gives them all they need to navigate the sometimes turbulent wa-
ters of life.
(Source: IMDB ‘When We Were Pirates’)
Women feature strongly in this year’s European Film Festival (EFF), as hero-
ines, protagonists and agitators. They include: Hannah Arendt, a German-
Jewish philosopher – tasked with conveying to the world, the mind of one of
Hitler’s evil architects of the holocaust; Rosa – a British teenager hoping to
save the world from the threat of nuclear war; and the storybook character –
Snow White (Blancanieves), recreated as a fearsome matador in1920s Spain.
Their stories, whether told silently or in another language, speak volumes about
female grit and determination that transcends, time, status and country and pro-
vide a commentary on the lives of women throughout the twentieth century.
The selection of films with strong female leads include:
Director: Andrea Arnold
Drama / 122 minutes / 16+
Mia, an aggressive fifteen-year-old girl, lives on an Essex estate with her tarty mother,
Joanne, and precocious little sister Tyler. She has been thrown out of school and is awaiting
admission to a referrals unit and spends her days aimlessly. She begins an uneasy friend-
ship with Joanne's slick boyfriend, Connor, who encourages her one interest, dancing.
Sun 18 May 8.15pm, MovieTowne, POS
Thu 22 May 5.45pm, MovieTowne, POS
Tue 27 May 1.15pm, MovieTowne, POS
Director: Margarethe von Trotta
2012 German, English, French, Hebrew and Latin,
with English subtitles
Drama / 113 minutes / PG
When Adolf Eichmann, ex-Nazi officer and one of
the major organizers of the Holocaust, was captured
in South America and put on trial in Jerusalem in
1961, the German writer and philosopher, Hannah
Arendt, agreed to cover the trial for the New Yorker
magazine. This film dramatizes those spellbinding
events. The film highlights Arendt’s controversial
portrayal of Eichmann as ordinary and mediocre,
which introduced her now-famous concept of the
“banality of evil”.
Sun 18 May 3.30pm, MovieTowne, POS
Thu 22 May 8.00pm, MovieTowne, POS
Mon 26 May 6.00pm, MovieTowne, POS
Ginger and Rosa
Director: Sally Potter
Drama / 88 minutes / PG13
Ginger and Rosa are best friends growing up in London in the
early sixties. The two teenagers are inseparable, sharing every-
thing together. But as the Cuban Missile Crisis breaks and Ginger
becomes an activist in the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament,
their friendship is redefined. And when Ginger discovers a terrible
secret, their bond threatens to break forever.
Wed 14 May 8.00pm, MovieTowne, POS
Tue 20 May 6.15pm, MovieTowne, POS
Thu 22 May 3.30pm, MovieTowne, Tobago
Fri 23 May 11.00am, MovieTowne, POS
Sat 24 May 5.45pm, MovieTowne, Tobago
Tue 27 May 8.15pm, MovieTowne, Tobago
Blancanieves, - Snow White and Seven Dwarfs (Spain)
Director: Pablo Berger
2012 Spanish, with English subtitles
Drama / 104 minutes / 14+
Sat 17 May 8.15pm, MovieTowne, POS
Tue 20 May 1.15pm, MovieTowne, POS
Wed 21 May 3.30pm, MovieTowne, Tobago
Fri 23 May 8.00pm, MovieTowne, Tobago
Sun 25 May 6.30pm, MovieTowne, POS
Mon 26 May 5.45pm, MovieTowne, Tobago
The EFF held from 14 – 27 May, is hosted by the European diplomatic missions in Trinidad and Tobago, and the EU Delegation, in partnership with the trinidad+tobago film festival. Visit www.ttfilmfestival.com/eff. Or visit the Facebook
page: European Film Festival – Trinidad and Tobago.
Director: Michael Winterbottom
Drama / 113 minutes / 14+
Trishna, a young woman who lives in con-
temporary Rajasthan, falls in love with
wealthy British businessman Jay Singh, who
has come to India to work in his father's
But despite their feelings for each other,
they cannot escape societal pressures. Tr-
ishna's tragedy is that she is torn between
the traditions of her family life and the
dreams and ambitions that her education
has given her. Based on Thomas Hardy's
classic novel Tess of the D'Urbervilles.
Sat 17 May 5.45pm, MovieTowne, POS
Wed 21 May 3.30pm, MovieTowne, POS
Mon 26 May 11.00am, MovieTowne, POS
Friday, May 16, 2014 • Issue 140
Links Archive May 15th 2014 May 17th 2014 Navigation Previous Page Next Page