Yao Ramesar

Film BA Coordinator/ Film Production Coordinator/ Film Lecturer


One of the most accomplished and prolific directors of his generation, Ghana- born, Caribbean filmmaker Yao Ramesar was honoured as the Caribbean’s first Laureate in Arts and Letters, at the inaugural Caribbean Awards for Excellence in 2006. His award-winning  SISTAGOD, the first of a trilogy, became the first Trinidad and Tobago feature film  to gain official selection at a major international festival when it world-premiered in 2006 at the Toronto International Film Festival, the major North American and hemispheric festival. Ramesar has created over 120 films on the people, history and culture of Trinidad and Tobago; screening in more than 140 countries throughout Africa; Asia; North, South and Central America; Eastern and Western Europe and  the Caribbean. The British Museum and Smithsonian Institution among others have also hosted exhibitions of his works.

2009 saw the publication of a book on Ramesar’s earlier works entitled Phenomenology’s Material   Presence by Gabrielle Hezekiah (Intellect Books/UK & Chicago University Press/US). Ramesar remains a cornerstone of the emerging local and regional film culture, having taken Caribbean cinema to the world under the rubric of an original aesthetic deemed “Caribbeing”, notable for its almost exclusive reliance on sunlight to illuminate the people and landscapes of his films. Ramesar established the teaching of filmmaking at the tertiary level in Trinidad and Tobago at the Centre for Creative & Festival Arts, UWI, St. Augustine where he fostered a generation of emerging film artists who produced 140 diverse films, screening locally, regionally and internationally.

Ramesar has collaborated with Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott, directing “The Saddhu of Couva” and “The Coral”, as well as Nelson Mandela and Kwame Toure (Stokley Carmichael) on whom he produced documentaries during their visits to Trinidad.

Ramesar holds a B.A. (Summa cum Laude) in Film Production and M.F.A. in Film Directing from Howard University (Washington D.C.), where he studied under acclaimed Ethiopian filmmaker Haile Gerima. On completion, he immediately returned to Trinidad and Tobago to begin his mission of teaching and developing indigenous cinema in his homeland.

Yao Ramesar