January 2017

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The first ever Open Day for the Film Programme was recently held at the department’s Carmody Street premises. This was part of the Programme’s Secondary School Initiative, an outreach project aimed at educating students about the local film culture and industry. Students interested in film, TV and photography learned about careers in these industries, as well as courses offered at the UWI Film Programme.

Among participants were students from The Arima North Secondary, Carapichaima East Secondary, Hillview College, North Gate College, Presentation College, and San Juan South Secondary.

Yao Ramesar, Coordinator of the UWI Film Programme, introduced them to the world of filmmaking, “Success in this is measurable. You have to be obsessed with what you do, work hard and add value to put money in their (investors) pockets.”

Krystian Ramlogan, a filmmaker and lecturer in film, who studied under Haile Gerima at Howard University, introduced students to the art and craft of film. He initiated discussions on the importance of art, literature and film, to the development of the Caribbean and students were introduced to cinematic concepts via clips and stills from select movies. He said the study and practice of film can lead to a career in numerous fields within the creative industries and empower the individual with truth, knowledge and the ability to produce representations of their culture.

Amir Aether Valen, BA film student and 2016 winner of the United Nations Trinidad and Tobago Award for Best Emerging Documentary Filmmaker, spoke about adapting and conceptualising written stories into film: “I try to tell a story through the visual languages of the film.” A screening adaptation of “The Nowarian,” filmed by Aether Valen and written by Anna Levi, MFA (Creative Writing) student at UWI St. Augustine, raised intriguing questions from the visiting students. “The Nowarian” is an artistic, solemn and nostalgic character piece about a young boy, and his introspective journey as he tries to get a grip on his life and embrace his existence.

Michael Mooleedhar, independent filmmaker and graduate of the programme gave a guest lecture about his experiences including on his latest film, “Green Days by the River,” an adaptation of the 1967 novel by Michael Anthony. Mooleedhar described the challenges of convincing investors to help him realise his ideas on screen.

Production consultant at Film TT and UWI Film Programme lecturer, Jamil Agard gave a presentation on the production pipeline, the corporate world of filmmaking and the benefits of producing a successful motion picture. Ka’en Haynes, director of and actor in “Legends Revisited” discussed the challenges of making a successful film on an ultra low budget. He explained how his films are tools of connectivity, linking people of different cultures through the themes of magic and mysticism.

Dialogue, action, familiar Trinidad and Tobago landscapes and faces elicited delighted laughter during the screening of the award-winning film “Buck: the Man Spirit” written and directed by Steven Taylor, another graduate of The Film Programme.