News Releases

UWI working with TT Film Festival

For Release Upon Receipt - September 9, 2010

St. Augustine

Some of the best works being shown at the Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival (TTFF) are also being brought to the St Augustine campus of The University of the West Indies (UWI), for the enjoyment of UWI students, staff and the general public. The UWI Film Programme, in conjunction with the Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival, will present its own Film Festival on September 24th (Republic Day) and on October 1st and 2nd.

The 2010 UWI Film Festival screenings will take place at various locations across the St Augustine Campus. The Republic Day screenings will be held at the Centre for Language Learning (CLL) Auditorium. The daytime screenings on October 1st will take place at the Institute of Critical Thinking. The screenings on October 1st at 7.30 p.m. and on October 2nd at 7 p.m. will now take place in the open at the Students Activity Centre. Patrons are asked to bring their own seating/blankets.

“These UWI events reflect a much deeper, longstanding and ongoing relationship between the Film Programme and the Festival,” said Dr Christopher Meir, Lecturer in the UWI Film Programme. “Our students have benefitted enormously from the many workshops, panels and lectures that the Festival has offered over the years. Just last year we were fortunate enough to have visits from renowned filmmakers such as Adam Low and Adoor Gopalakrishnan, and we look forward to many more visits this year.”

This close relationship between the UWI Film Programme and the TT Film Festival has at its root the shared goals of the two institutions. The UWI has as its mission the training of the next generation of Caribbean filmmakers and fostering the growth of a regional film culture and film industry, objectives which are at the heart of what the TTFF was set up to do.

This year, The UWI Film Festival will put special emphasis on Caribbean films (many of the region’s language groups are featured), and local films from Trinidad and Tobago, including films on the local Amerindian population, as well as the Spiritual Baptist religion as it has been practised in Trinidad. In keeping with the TTFF’s emphasis this year on African cinema, the programme also features a number of African-themed and African-made films. Special guest appearances will include two film-makers from East Africa, visiting as part of the TTFF’s new partnership with the Zanzibar International Film Festival in Tanzania.

“The partnership between The UWI and the TTFF works both ways,” Meir explained. “Since the inception of our programme, our students have been submitting their work to the Festival and a number of these films have made waves with Festival audiences. ‘Queens of Curepe’, ‘Siege’ and ‘Who Let the Dogs Out?’ were among the major draws at the 2008 Festival, and last year films such as ‘Queen of the Brands’, ‘Sans Souci’ and ‘The Power of the Vagina’ again wowed audiences. Our faculty, likewise, work closely with the Festival. Dr. Bruce Paddington is the founder and director of the Festival and co-founder and coordinator of our programme. Yao Ramesar—a pioneering local filmmaker and a Lecturer in Film—has screened the first two parts of his ‘SistaGod’ trilogy at the Festival. For my part, I have helped to facilitate workshops on film marketing and distribution. I also organise these UWI screenings.”

Screenings begin at noon on Republic Day, with “One English Winter” (UK, 7 minutes) and “Moloch Tropical” (Haiti/France, 104 minutes). Other Republic Day screenings are as follows: 2.30pm, “Pumzi” (Kenya, 23 minutes); 3.15pm, “Wind Journeys” (Colombia, 116 minutes); 5.30pm “Man of the Soil” (Dominica/France,  seven minutes), “The Legend of Buchi Fil” (Curacao, 22 minutes) and “Children of God” (Bahamas, 89 minutes). Screenings will run on October 1st from 10am to 9pm; and on October 2nd from 9am to 9.0pm. The full schedule is detailed below.

All events are free of charge and open to the general public, except for a special adaptation workshop with Caryl Phillips, acclaimed and prize-winning author and screenwriter. In this workshop, participants will get an inside view of the processes behind adapting a classic Caribbean short story for the screen. Phillips will take the participants through the necessary steps of adaptation before they attempt some writing of their own. Phillips will then critique the participants’ work. The workshop, which will take place on Saturday 2nd October, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., is attractively priced at $300 (lunch included), and all students with ID are entitled to a $50 discount. Phillips will also introduce the screening on October 1st at the SAC at 7.30 p.m.

View the schedule for the UWI Film Festival and synopses of the films featured.

For more information, please visit, or contact Dr Christopher Meir at or (868) 662 2002 Ext. 4233.

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About Caryl Phillips

Caryl Phillips is a Kittitian-born British writer. His work includes the radio play The Wasted Years (1984, BBC Giles Cooper Award) and the novels Crossing the River (1993, James Tait Black Memorial Prize) and A Distant Shore (2003, Commonwealth Writers Prize). Phillips wrote the film of his own novel The Final Passage (Peter Hall, 1996), as well as the screenplay for Playing Away (Horace Ové, 1986) and the film of VS Naipaul's The Mystic Masseur (Ismail Merchant, 2001). He is currently Professor of English at Yale University.