Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 7th 2014 Contents B6
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Thursday, August 7, 2014
This Love is a romance comedy that could easily
imagine Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds as the
leads. The plot revolves around two distant loves,
one determined to win her back, the other demand-
ing, amidst all her protests and rejections, that he
proves his love to her.
It is a gushy, funny love story like all the others
before them. But what makes This Love unique are
the people who wrote the script, sisters Dalia and
Asha King, born and raised in T&T, who want to show
that T&T can write and produce its own love story.
The movie was inspired by a disappointment in the
US fare of romance films.
"The 2013 Christmas crop on the Lifetime channel
were extremely poor, very silly," Dalia said. "I am sure
we could do this," said Asha in response to her sister s
They both believed that T&T could connect to this,
adding cultural nuances that form the backdrop to
the romance. They also believed that while other film-
makers and producers opted to capture the dark side
of life here, or as previous local soap operas interrogated
race relations, community life, social structure, This
Love can be simply be about a happy ending.
The story revolves around two childhood neighbours
Kareem (played by Chike Pilgrim) and Nikki (played
by Elisha Efua Bartels) who separated after studying
at Mona, Jamaica. Ten years later, Kareem, now a suc-
cessful architect, returns to Trinidad during Christmas
to get Nikki back. The subplot is the sinister ploy of
real estate mogul Mitchell Braithwaite (played by
Conrad Parris) to purchase the properties in Kareem
and Nikki s neighbourhood.
Dalia, the elder sister, is the romantic buff, a Uni-
versity graduate in English Literature and the
scriptwriter. Asha is the director and producer, an
Honours graduate in film and TV production from
New York University. Their sister Zakiya is the pho-
tographer on the set as well as the content manager
for the movie s social media promotions.
This Love is Asha s first production after graduating
from NYU, but her third effort overall. She started
early, then a student at Bishop Anstey High School
when she submitted That Bishop s Girl for the Sec-
ondary School Film Festival and received fourth place.
"What inspired me to do film was reading Moon
Over a Rainbow Shawl (by Errol John). I started writing
scripts and I would do the plays during lunchtime.
Then I decided to enter the school festival. That film
flipped the adjectives---aggressive, independent---that
stereotype a Bishop s student," Asha explained.
While at Chapman s University in California, where
she did her first two years of study in the US, Asha
produced Pierrot Granade for the T&T film festival
Sisters hope for hit with This Love movie
in 2011. That film, she explained, in another
quest of identity. It spotlighted the Pierrot
Grenade living at Lord Harris Square debating
whether to accept herself as a dialect speaker
or as an orator who has the full command
of the Queen s English.
This time around, This Love does not
evoke questions of self. It s simply an offering
of love. Boxing Day of 2013, the sisters began
writing---with Dalia focused on one scene,
Asha on another until they completed the
script one month later. While it seemed a
quick finish, Dalia felt the challenge.
"As a Literature student, I always ques-
tioned why the books we studied always
ended in death...perhaps it was the easiest
way to end a story and not worry about what
happens next to the main characters. But
writing a romance comedy is hard, though.
It s about the timing," she said.
With 56 roles cast and rehearsals complete,
shooting began last month with the intention
of local distribution by December to
Caribbean Cinemas 8 and Movie Towne and
then international exposure. The tight timeline
is a reflection of the belief that it is possible
to have it accomplished. Also marked in that
timeline around the same time as shooting
is the sponsorship phase, targeting the cor-
porate community to support this production.
Dalia and Asha s voices chime in with
other local film producers who continue to
lobby for support of the T&T effort. After
all, film is an industry and the sisters, too,
want to make their film profitable through
the ideal financial model.
"If we need to reach the stage of Nollywood
and Bollywood, there must be investment,"
• Check out This Love on Facebook for fur-
Chike Pilgrim, left, and Elisha Efua Bartels are the
stars of This Love movie.
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