Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 10th 2014 Contents SUNDAY,
Veteran filmmaker Yao Ramesar
has begun work on his sixth feature
film in eight years. It examines an
individual s struggle with adversity,
a familiar theme for Ramesar.
The Last Dance of the Karaoke
King will star singer/actor Chris Gar-
cia and is about a chutney singer
who tries to survive by performing
karaoke as he struggles to save a
fading career. It s scheduled for
release in 2017 or 2018.
Haiti Bride, a film about a Haitian
woman who loses her groom in the
2010 earthquake, is set to premiere
next year. Ramesar began working
on the film in 2010 after the dev-
Ramesar recently returned from
South Africa, where he is shooting
his latest film, Shade. It will be the
first feature film shot in Africa by a
T&T filmmaker and tackles an
unusual subject---a young albino
woman who aims to be an R&B
The other notable aspect of the
film is that the crew will be made
up of only Ramesar. He s screen-
writer, producer, director and cin-
ematographer. This makes it only a
little more challenging than Haiti
Bride, which Ramesar worked on
with just one other person, Edmund
Attong. The two were also the only
crew on Ramesar s previous film,
Her Second Coming, a follow-up to
his debut, Sistagod.
With Her Second Coming, they
matched the world record for the
smallest crew to finish a professional
"It comes especially with the
ultra-low budget recipe," said Rame-
sar about working alone or with one
"I can t even afford to take on vol-
unteers. It costs money to provide
food and transport, etc. Working
alone means that I have to fulfil
about a dozen technical roles---
which, fortunately, I can.
"The physical stress is another
matter entirely," he continued.
"Working in post-earthquake Haiti
was incredibly tough, as was the
one-man crew experiment in South
Africa. Though day-to-day injury is
real, it s not as noticeable when you
are consumed by the filmmaking.
"The morning after shooting
wraps, though, is like the day after
a prize fight, I imagine. It takes weeks
and sometimes months to recover,"
Ramesar, who in 2006 won one
of the Anthony N Sabga Caribbean
Awards for Excellence for his con-
tribution to arts and letters, is also
the head of (and a lecturer in) the
UWI Film Programme.
Besides the six feature films, he s
worked on more than 120 films and
"Making films contributes signif-
icantly to my functions as co-ordi-
nator of the UWI Film Programme,"
he said about the challenge of being
a filmmaker while running the pro-
"Filmmaking under the conditions
that I work in forces me to be
resourceful, innovative and disci-
plined. It s always about astute man-
agement and precise budgeting,
which is indispensable to my work
"Making films for me is also all
about continuous learning, so I
become a better teacher."
Ramesar met Mathapelo Ditshego,
the young South African star of
Shade, through a world albino net-
work he formed with Crystal Felix,
the lead in Her Second Coming.
Ramesar said in some ways, it s
actually easier to film abroad than
"They have all been very demand-
ing, but frankly much less stressful
than the films I ve made here," he
said of his last three films, which
were shot outside T&T.
"Partly because I m removed from
day-to-day dramas and commit-
ments. But it also takes a village to
raise a film, and I guess I get much
more support from the global village
than at home," he added.
"There really hasn t been a home
field advantage for me making films."
Many local films are in different
stages of production this year. The
Sunday Arts Section will be looking
at some of them over the coming
Yao Ramesar makes films with skeleton crews
Filmmaking under the conditions that I
work in forces me to be resourceful,
innovative and disciplined. It's always
about astute management and precise
The hardest working
filmmaker in T&T?
directing on location.
Shade lead Mathapelo Ditshego on location in Soshanguve township,
Pretoria, South Africa. IMAGES COURTESY YAO RAMESAR
film will be Pan!
struggle for survival
team exhibit their
art work ---Page B38
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