News Releases

UWI’s Film Studies Lecturer, to deliver inaugural ANSCAFE lecture

For Release Upon Receipt - September 7, 2010

St. Augustine

The University of the West Indies (UWI) will collaborate with the Anthony N Sabga Caribbean Awards for Excellence to launch a lecture promoting the work of Caribbean Awards Laureates, many of whom are UWI academics.

At the first Caribbean Awards Lecture, Robert Yao Ramesar, one of three recipients of the inaugural 2006 Caribbean Awards, will deliver the feature address, titled “The Story Made Light: Yao Ramesar and the Language of Caribbean Film.” The lecture, which will take place from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. on September 13th, 2010 at the Learning Resource Centre (LRC), UWI St Augustine, also represents the public launch of a closer partnership between The UWI and the Anthony N Sabga Foundation’s academic programme.

The Caribbean Awards Laureates are chosen based on the quality of their work, in keeping with the stated goal of The Anthony N Sabga Caribbean Awards, to honour distinguished Caribbean citizens who exemplify Caribbean life, and to promote and foster the pursuit of excellence by Caribbean persons for the benefit of the Caribbean community. Ramesar (BA, MFA Film Directing) is a Lecturer in Film at The UWI St Augustine Campus, and he remains a cornerstone of the emerging local and regional film culture. Alongside Ken Crichlow, he began the teaching of filmmaking at the tertiary level in Trinidad and Tobago, fostering a generation of emerging filmmakers who have produced over 140 diverse films on Trinidad and Tobago that have been screened locally, regionally and internationally. One of the most accomplished and prolific directors of his generation, he has created over 120 films on the people, history and culture of Trinidad and Tobago, screening in more than 100 countries throughout Africa, Asia, North, South and Central America, Eastern and Western Europe, and throughout the Caribbean.

Honours for his work include the Paul Robeson Awards (U.S.) for Best Film & Best Editing (1990) and Best Cinematography (1991); the Critics’ Choice Award at the Global Africa Film Festival (U.S) 1992; the Royal Bank/MATT awards for Best Television Series 1996; Best Editing, Best Supporting Video and Best Television Series 1997; Best Supporting Video 1998 (Trinidad); the Saraswatti Devi Award 2000; and Decibel Award 2002; Most Popular Feature Film, Flashpoint Film Festival (Jamaica) 2006; Caribbean Cinema Award, Studio 66 Arts Support Community (Trinidad) 2006; Best Caribbean Film and Best Director, Bridgetown Film Festival (Barbados) 2007.

At the inaugural Caribbean Awards in 2006, Ramesar received the Caribbean Award for Arts & Letters, and was one of three Laureates who all shared a connection to The UWI. The other two were Professor Terrence Forrester (Science and Technology) and Monsignor (Msgr) Gregory Ramkissoon (Public and Civic Contributions). It was as a young academic lecturing in Geography at UWI Mona Campus, Jamaica, that Monsignor Ramkissoon set up the ministry which would blossom into the Mustard Seed Community. Professor Forrester (BSc, MSc, PhD, DM) unified four research units across three UWI campuses when he spearheaded the formation of the Tropical Medical Research Institute, which merged the Tropical Metabolism Research Unit, the Sickle Cell Research Unit and the Epidemiology Research Unit at UWI Mona, and the Chronic Disease Research Unit in Barbados.

At the 2010 Caribbean Awards, another UWI Lecturer, a Professor of Pathology at the Mona Campus in Jamaica, was named Laureate for Science and Technology. Professor Kathleen Coard received TT$500,000 to support her work and professional development, along with a medal and citation, at a formal award ceremony on April 17th, 2010. Professor Coard is the first female graduate of The University of the West Indies’ Medical DM (Pathology) programme to become Professor in Pathology. With over 60 publications to her name, she is a widely respected researcher, author, and teacher in the field of medical pathology whose research has been published in internationally recognised journals.

For more information, please visit the official Anthony Sabga Caribbean Awards for Excellence Lecture  website at or contact The UWI International Office at or (868) 662 2002 Ext. 4151, or 662 6930 (Fax).

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About Yao Ramesar           

Ghanaian born, Caribbean filmmaker Yao Ramesar is currently completing the direction his latest feature film Stranger in Paradise, a Mandarin /West Indian Creole film.  The film is a universal story about migration, globalism and world culture with the lead character (played by actress Jiang Jie), a Chinese woman who finds herself on a Caribbean island, speaking only Mandarin. Produced in and for the Caribbean, the film has a Chinese co-producer and is also pitched at the Chinese market, the fastest growing in the world. 

Ramesar is also concurrently working on a final cut of SISTAGOD II, now titled Her Second Coming, the sequel of his trilogy foretelling the coming of a black female messiah, previewed as... “doing for Caribbean cinema what Wilson Harris or Gabriel Garcia Marquez did for New World Literature”. Her Second Coming introduces Crystal Felix in her screen debut in a film photographed completely in falling sunlight, expanding Ramesar’s Caribbeing aesthetic, notable for its almost exclusive reliance on sunlight to illuminate the people and landscapes of his films. Felix, is a person living with albinism whose condition makes her very sensitive to sunlight. Life imitates art as a theme of environmentalism pervades the film as does the Caribbean landscape, itself a central character.

Ramesar’s quarter century in film, which he celebrated earlier this year, has been marked by records, awards and accolades which have reflected not just his artistic output, but also his practical approach to the medium. (On Her Second Coming, he and director of photography/editor Edmund Attong equalled the record set by Alexander Abela’s Makibetho for the smallest crew to make a professional feature, and Ramesar surpassed Polish director Andrzej Kondratiuk’s record for most credits on a single film.) His work was the subject of the documentary feature The Films of Yao Ramesar that premiered in the US in 2008. 

In 2009, Ramesar co-founded the Caribbean Travelling Film School, which aims to incubate filmmaking talent throughout the region. This is, in part, a continuum of a blueprint he developed in the 1980s for the consolidation of a regional cinema, which would involve filmmakers travelling in Caribbean communities and fostering a citizens’ cinema, which he termed “The Moving Image”.

Ramesar’s critically acclaimed first feature Sistagod, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) became the first Trinidad and Tobago feature to gain official selection at a major film festival – in this case the major North American and hemispheric festival and the largest of its kind in the world.  The film has since screened at regional and international film festivals including: Flashpoint Film Festival (Jamaica) 2006;  Pan African Film Festival (Los Angeles) 2007; Bridgetown Film Festival (Barbados) 2007; Black Harvest Film Festival (Chicago) 2007; The British Museum (London) 2007; Caribbean Tales (Toronto) 2007; GRULAC (Johannesburg) 2007; International Film Festival of Kerala (India) 2008; Kampala Film Festival (Uganda) 2008;  DC-Caribbean Film Festival (US) 2008 and The Caribbean Film Festival (New York) 2008.

Ramesar’s Celebration and Mami Wata were also screened as part of the Best of Caribbean Tales in 2010 as well as the Festival International du Film Panafricain in Cannes, France. They were also shown at the New York festival Marassa 10 2010: A Festival of Caribbean Film, Story and Imagination.  


About UWI

Over the last six decades, The University of the West Indies (UWI) has evolved from a fledgling college in Jamaica with 33 students to a full-fledged University with over 40,000 students. Today, UWI is the largest and most longstanding higher education provider in the English-speaking Caribbean, with main campuses in Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, and Centres in Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, The Bahamas, Belize, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St Christopher (St Kitts) & Nevis, St Lucia, and St Vincent & the Grenadines. UWI recently launched its Open Campus, a virtual campus with over 50 physical site locations across the region, serving over 20 countries in the English-speaking Caribbean. UWI is an international university with faculty and students from over 40 countries and collaborative links with over 60 universities around the world. Through its seven Faculties, UWI offers undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Engineering, Humanities & Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Pure & Applied Sciences, Science and Agriculture, and Social Sciences.