FashionTT has gotten the ball rolling on various long term initiatives designed to stimulate and facilitate the business development of the local fashion industry. One such flagship initiative is the local production facility, a state-of-the-art centre being established in partnership with the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT), that will put Trinidad and Tobago’s fashion industry at the forefront in garment manufacturing.
This initiative began in 2016 and has already experienced the following achievements:
Commission a Consultant to Develop a Business Model for the Local Production Facility – Raymond Wong, adjunct Professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York and developer of the three-year business model for the facility, was chosen to lead this initiative.
UTTPurchases Initial Equipment – Equipment for the local production facility, such as industrial sewing machines, stitchers, embroidery machines and digital printers were purchased in October 2016.
First Stakeholder Session – The first stakeholder session took place in August 2016 at the proposed facility in Santa Cruz. There, stakeholders met with the consultant, Raymond Wong and provided meaningful insights on the needs of the local fashion industry.
First Draft of the Business Model of the Local Production Facility – The first Business Model draft was delivered in September 2016. The draft was then circulated to stakeholders for review and comments.
Second Stakeholder Session on the Business Model of the Local Production Facility – In November 2016, FashionTT hosted a meeting with stakeholders to discuss the second draft of the business model for a local production facility. Feedback from this session will be used to finalise the business model for the local fashion industry.
In 2017, FashionTT will continue its efforts to ensure that the local production facility opens in the third quarter of the 2017 fiscal year. The facility will provide employment opportunities to persons with knowledge and expertise in various fields within the industry and provide local designers with a domestic manufacturing source for mass production in keeping with global quality standards.
Other action items that will be completed prior to opening the facility are:
Approval the Business Model
Complete Legal and Administrative Agreements Between Partner Agencies
Upgrade Physical Facility
Recruit and Train Staff
Stay tuned to FashionTT’s website and social media for more details as this project unfolds.
MusicTT once again invites music industry stakeholders to submit project proposals for a chance to be awarded a sponsorship contract. This is a great opportunity for local music practitioners to receive small investments for their projects. In 2016, various artists have benefitted from this sponsorship including Calypso Rose, Chromatics, 5 Miles to Midnight, Sanch, Chune and Caribbean Performing Arts.
Now YOU can also benefit by following these 5 easy steps:
Step 1: Download and read the Evaluation Criteria and Sponsorship Package here
Step 2: Ensure that your proposed project is in alignment with the MusicTT mandate; to stimulate and facilitate the business development and export activities of the Creative Industries in Trinidad and Tobago to generate national wealth. Your project must be able to help build the local music industry and/or facilitate international exposure.
Step 3: Provide all the relevant information needed for proposal, inclusive of:
Project plan and timeline
Marketing and promotional activities
Supporting documents e.g. quotations/invoices, confirmations of bookings, contracts, agreements, etc.
Young isn’t always synonymous with inexperienced. This is especially true for 23 year-old Trinidadian producer, Jolene Mendes who already has two films under her belt.
Jolene has worked as an associate producer for U.S. films, Porgies & Bass (2016) and The Catalyst (2016) that both enjoyed heavy rotation in U.S. festival circuit. Porgie & Bass has won four awards thus far including Best Short at the Coney Island Film Festival while The Catalyst is making its mark in the horror film world won Best Picture, Best Short Screenplay, Outstanding Acting, Best Special Effects at Haunted Oaks Film Festival, New York City International Film Festival and Zed Fest Film Festival.
Jolene is not only involved in cinematic film but also music videos, commercials and shorts. She has produced 2 commercials for the world-renowned film school, New York Film Academy and 2 music videos for Grammy Award Winner violinist, Miri Ben-Ari set for release later this year. In the short film “Craig” available on YouTube here, she hired and worked alongside well-known visual effects artist/ cinematographer/editor, Pete Polyakov who worked on blockbuster films such as Jupiter’s Ascending, Interstellar, Mad Max.
You can look forward to even bigger things from Jolene as she plans to being working on a feature film in 2018 between New York and T&T called Super Zeros (working title). It’s about a group of retired superheroes who come to a fictionalised Trinidad and Tobago for a vacation but are then forced to return to their old jobs in order to save the country from spiralling crime.
Check out Jolene’s IMDB page here and keep following FilmTT to see updates on work from Jolene.
In part one of this article, several key issues facing the local music industry were identified: sustainability, export, state-of-the-art sound studios, capacity development especially in music business, local content quota considerations and business incubators/ investment opportunities. Click here in case you missed this article.
In part two, MusicTT addresses some other fundamental areas within the strategic plan that were discussed at the Stakeholder Engagement Session held on 1st October, 2016. These areas include MusicTT’s Role, Copyright and Collecting Societies, Entertainment Law and Intellectual Property, Genres and Sponsorship/Open Call for Proposals.
Does MusicTT offer marketing support to persons new in the industry?
Regarding marketing support, MusicTT currently has an online showcase platform to which artists can submit their music which is posted to the website and our Facebook page weekly. For more information, do check www.musictt.co.tt/ourmusic and feel free to submit your music in accordance with the guidelines.
Can MusicTT facilitate a regulatory/legislative framework to protect artists’ working conditions, pay rates, etc.? Or does that require a union?
MusicTT is also in full support of the industry coming together as a collective voice to lobby for the needs of the industry. The formalization of a trade association that is recognized by the Government as the voice of the local music industry is critical. MusicTT is happy to support this process which must be democratically led.
Copyright and Collecting Societies
How does CreativeTT and/or (the) government plan to address the disputes that arise from COTT and TTCO?
MusicTT will be ensuring that the critical issues regarding copyright societies are a high priority for this strategic action initiative. All such organizations will be thoroughly examined and recommendations will be made to ensure that is an accountable, fair system for the protection of copyright moving forward.
Entertainment Law and Intellectual Property
Entertainment lawyers are too expensive for musicians who are new to the industry. Can MusicTT help with this?
The formation of an association to represent all stakeholders can also lead to the standardization of fees alongside many other benefits.
What are the efforts being made towards having persons in the industry understand that the importance of the legal aspects of the industry? Can MusicTT offer legal assistance to musicians who are now starting up such as help with contracts?
MusicTT conducted a Music Intellectual Property and Valuation Workshop earlier this year, the contents of which were taped and edited. They are being disbursed via MusicTT’s social media and website by topic so that anyone that was unable to attend can have full access to the information missed. Feel free to check out MusicTT’s Facebook page for more information on this. The recommendation on offering legal assistance is noted and will be added into the recommendations for the strategic initiative.
In addition to the popular music genres (soca, etc.), has thought been given to niche genres that local orgs/artists successfully tour with?
MusicTT is in support of every genre of music, inclusive of rock music. We believe that local music is not just that of our indigenous genres, but all music that is birthed from our people. We have a plethora of genres here, at least twenty (combining indigenous with non-indigenous genres) and this strategic plan will cater to all genres of music.
Calypso is literally dying, what plans does MusicTT have in place to assist in preserving the history of the art form and pass on to the new generation?
Regarding calypso, there will definitely be a workshop in this fiscal year dedicated to understanding the art that is Calypso and how Calypso Rose has the first Gold Album from our country. It will be targeting, among all other stakeholders, those in secondary schools who may be or become interested in participating in calypso competitions.
Sponsorship/Open Call for Proposals
Will MusicTT be providing grants or sponsorships and if so how does one petition for them?
In fiscal 2014/2015, MusicTT had its first Open Call for Proposals. It is an investment type of sponsorship and all proposed projects must align to the mandate of MusicTT (the business development and export activities of the music industry). As such, there are strict evaluation criteria which were released with the package for the Call. All proposals scoring above a threshold score received sponsorship.
Due to budget constraints, MusicTT was unable to have one in the last fiscal year, but we having an Open Call this year. Click here for details. MusicTT does not take sponsorship proposals outside of the Open Call so that the process for funding can be fair to all stakeholders. In return, all contracts for awardees include the passing on of their knowledge and experience to the rest of the industry in the form of workshops, webinars, webisodes and the like.
With an abundance of musical talent and innovation in Trinidad and Tobago, it’s no surprise that some of our very own have gained international acclaim. Surely, many artistes in our nation have the potential to do the same and more.
At MusicTT’s recently held stakeholder engagement session for the development of a national strategic action plan for the local music industry, hip-hop artiste Da Face stated that many artistes still have regular full-time jobs because they cannot survive on returns from their music career alone. MusicTT and Sound Diplomacy, the UK-based firm selected to spearhead the development of the music industry’s five-year strategic action plan, will seek to ensure that local musicians earn the deserved opportunities to progress and have prosperous careers in a thriving industry.
For this to happen, General Manager of MusicTT, Jeanelle Frontin, outlined some of the key issues facing the industry that will be spotlighted in the development of the strategic plan: sustainability, export, state-of-the-art sound studio, capacity development especially in music business, local content quota considerations and business incubators/investment opportunities. The goal is to make the local music industry commercially viable in the long-term.
In this two-part series, MusicTT addresses some of these elements which were raised at the Stakeholder Engagement Session held on 1st October, 2016 and explains their place within this strategic initiative.
Is MusicTT lobbying for a sound studio and/or is there a plan for an industry standard studiowhere musicians can track and record world class records for foreign export and market?
Part of the tender document that was released in the Request for Proposals for this strategic initiative specifically instructed that an evaluation must be conducted regarding the development of an industry-standard sound studio, the last of which was Caribbean Sound Basin.
Does MusicTT offer business development courses for musicians?
To be marketable to an international audience, the musical products coming from Trinbagonians must be export-ready and able to achieve longevity in a globally competitive industry. MusicTT is tasked with stimulating and facilitating the business development and export activity of the music industry in Trinidad and Tobago and to do this, there must be readily available educational opportunities for persons in the music industry to perfect their crafts.
As such, MusicTT has conducted workshops that have been free to the public to attend and benefit. The topics have included Publishing, Production, Songwriting, Mixing, Mastering, and Intellectual Property. All of these were taped and distributed as a series of webisodes which become available every week on MusicTT’s social media. They can also be accessed at the Resources section of the company’s website.
While budget allocations may not allow for too many capacity development workshops in this fiscal year, the repeated need for such knowledge on artist management and branding has been noted and will still have the company’s focus. For example, there are plans to host a workshop dedicated to understanding the art of calypso and how Calypso Rose has the first Gold album from our country. Evaluating the calypso veteran’s international success can surely teach other artistes as well as the governing bodies what works and what doesn’t work in attempting to penetrate foreign markets.
What is the role of music education in ensuring that there is improvement in all aspects of the music industry, especially the quality of music?
Regarding the role of music education, we believe that this should start in the primary/ secondary schools. Plans are underway to engage the Ministry of Education regarding teaching music business with music in schools. At the tertiary level, UTT is currently reviewing its offerings in order to cater for this great need as well.
What is in place for our older artistes who are heading into retirement? Is there any guidance as to how to manage their finances?
Regarding older artists, there is currently no such process in place from MusicTT but this recommendation will definitely be added into the strategic initiative research.
Local Content Quota Policies
What is your organization’s approach or lobbying strategies to government, if any, to get some percentage of local artistes’ music played on radio stations?
This has been a controversial issue for a long time, that is, radio broadcasters play more foreign music than local on the airwaves. We are aware that there are some broadcasters that do support local heavily, but we also know there is a great need for improvement as we all must play our part to build our local music industry.
Local content quotas, policies and incentives are definitely being explored and the conversation is being re-opened. The strategic plan will be examining this in depth and creating solutions that can be actioned to monitor and improve the percentage of local content to be played over the airways.
When will (MusicTT) set up an incubator business model for upcoming artistes and composers, producers et al?
The Artist Portfolio Development Programme is an incubator business model that will be a major part of the strategic plan. It is a medium to long-term pilot programme which aims to create a strong, balanced portfolio of artists to be readied for international export.
An independent, international, expert panel will be set up to collaborate strongly with MusicTT in order to transparently select those musical artists to be a part of the APDP every year. The aim is to groom, artistes into export-ready products that will generate clear revenue streams in the form of job creation, trade of local music products internationally and increases in GDP contribution from the leveraging and exploitation of music intellectual property. Though this investment programme will have a return to Trinidad and Tobago of a small percentage, none of the royalties of the artists in the programme will be touched.
Part two of this article will be posted on 29th December, 2016.
When one hears “environmental film festival,” some stereotypical images of tree hugging and Animal Planet features on plant and animal life cycles may come to mind. However, this is far from true. The Green Screen Environmental Film Festival was not just pretty images of the oceans and hilly landscapes, it was an exploration of natural and man-made phenomena, commentary on social injustices that arose as a result, review of the powerful movements that shaped the landscape of environmental activism and very importantly, a call to action. These were addressed via riveting feature length films, shorts and panel discussions.
The Green Screen Environmental Film Festival is a two-week annual film festival that features acclaimed local, regional and international films that explore crucial environmental issues. Adhering to the festival’s 2016 theme, “The Big Picture”, Green Screen focused on various aspects of the environment and their wide impact on human life. With international feature panelists, premiere screenings and a local film development programme, the festival achieved its goal of placing T&T into the global landscape of the environment and what it means to be environmentally conscious. FilmTT is proud to have concluded its Film Festival Season 2016 with such an important and impactful festival.
Here are four of the biggest things that took place during this year’s Green Screen Environmental Film Festival that truly showed us THE BIG PICTURE:
1. Local Shorts Explored Rarely Told Stories
One of Green Screen’s objectives is to help foster local content. The Films for a Better Place initiative was directly supported by FilmTT and provided selected local short film projects with technical support and small grants.
These 5 films, which were in heavy rotation throughout the festival, were productions by local filmmakers:
• Maya Cross-Lovelace- The Trouble with Plastic
• Ozy Merrique Jr.- Horse
• Rhonda Chan Soo & Edward Inglefield- Quiet Revolution
• Miguel Galofré- Green & Yellow
• Carver Bacchus- Teach a Man (not in competition)
Each documentary highlighted different individuals in T&T and their relationship with the environment. The stories of persons whose lives are not usually seen locally were told. These films showed how much we rely on the environment for survival and gratification; they reminded us of how quickly we can destroy nature but also how quickly and effectively small changes can reverse the destruction. We saw a man’s consuming life as an environmental artist, passionate farmers staging a quiet revolution, a man’s struggle to maintain his livelihood, the realities of two of society’s forgotten men and the troubling effects of a commonly used product in the Films for a Better Place.
At the end of the festival, the films were judged by a jury and saw Maya Cross-Lovelace’s The Trouble with Plastic winning the Guardian of the Environment Award and Quiet Revolution by Rhonda Chan Soo and Edward Inglefield emerging as the winner of the Jury Award for best use of documentary technique. Read more about the Films for a Better Place 2016 Package here.
2. The Pearl Button Rocked the Opening Night
On its opening night, Green Screen hosted the Caribbean premiere of the Chilean documentary, The Pearl Button. The film looked at the Pacific Ocean along Chile’s longest boarder as a container of history, survival and culture. Via this ocean, Chile’s indigenous Patagonian people sailed, dove, ate and made a living for many years. But this ocean also brought colonizers’ to Chile and the destruction of their way of life. Nevertheless, the few surviving Patagonian people feel forever connected to the water.
The sea also plays an important part in one of the darkest periods in Chilean history, the Pinochet dictatorship. It holds the country’s tragic memories and dark secrets as discovered in the seabed many years later was a mysterious pearl button, a remnant of this tumultuous time. All in all, the film shows that water never dies, it keeps flowing and with it, the history of humanity lingers. The Pearl Button is almost like an ode to water and its significance in all of our lives. The Pearl Button opened to unsurprisingly rave reviews at the festival. Check out the reactions at the film’s screening here.
3. Roberta (Bobbi) Hunter, Co-founder of Greenpeace, Attended the Festival
Roberta (Bobbi) Hunter, co-founder of renowned international environmental organization Greenpeace came to Green Screen to attend the screening of How to Change the World and be part of the post panel discussion. How to Change the World depicted the birth of Greenpeace and the growth of the worldwide green movement. A younger Bobbi and her husband, Bob Hunter can both be seen in the movie among other young revolutionaries fighting against environmental injustices.
Bobbi’s message to the captivated audience at Green Screen was that if you have a passion fighting against some environmental issue, go forth because there are people who want to join you! Her work is clearly testimony to this! Her small group’s meetings and protests eventually led to creation of the green movement as seen in the movie. She also lamented to the audience that many young people are currently doing so much good but it is not being documented in the media. However, she continued to encouraged all to make small changes where they can. Read more about the insightful How to Change the World panel discussion here.
4. Guests Enjoyed Movies Under the Stars
Staying true to its name, the Green Screen Environmental Film Festival held some of its screening outdoors in beautiful natural settings. On a cold and damp Sunday evening, many braved the rain and came out to Green Screen’s film screenings at the beautiful Botanical Gardens. Then, a week later the festival collaborated with Moving Table to host a dinner and movie fundraiser at the open San Antonio Farms. A scrumptious locally sourced dinner was provided while guests enjoyed the open air screening of Bright Spot and My Father’s Land.
The festival ended on a cool, laid-back note with its closing night and awards ceremony taking place at the San Fernando Hill. Guests viewed the final films against a picturesque view of the South Trinidad landscape.
These outdoor screenings truly make Green Screen unique. There’s nothing like watching life-changing films immersed in scenic and relaxing natural settings with your friends and family. Green Screen allowed its patrons to enjoy powerful films in the most relaxing and unassuming way.
FilmTT is a leading sponsor of the Green Screen The Environmental Film Festival, the final event of its Film Festival Season 2016. The Film Festival Season began with the trinidad+tobago film festival then followed with the Animae Caribe Animation and Digital Media Festival and ended with Green Screen The Environmental Film Festival.
With an uncannily crisp weather, and a cool gale wafting over the San Fernando Hill, the crux of local environmental shorts were on exhibit at the final night of Green Screen The Environmental Film Festival 2016. That sense of calm in the atmosphere that evening was a perfect accent to the event.
Films for a Better Place, was this year’s feature project at Green Screen. Coming on the trail of last year’s in-house contribution, ‘A Better Place’, this project was designed to be a spin off of the former, a feature, and an extension of its philosophical underpinnings. The idea was simple. SustainTT would empower a few interested, budding filmmakers with the mission to make conscious, thought-provoking films on sustainable or environmental themes and treat them to a short workshop aimed at either introducing novices to tools and techniques of the craft or refreshing the skills of those with prior training. The participants would then be paired with mentors to sustain their training, who would shepherd them into the field with a chosen subject to create. Finally, these filmmakers would then return with pieces that encourage a dialogue that is change-effecting, pro-sustainability, geared toward shedding light on previously cloaked issues and even more importantly, local and licensable. After all, Green Screen is a Film Festival. The initiative would have been laudable at the least, but aims to inspire long-term action.
Mentorship was a key to this project. The filmmakers’ mentors would be ardent patrons and return partners of the festival. This inaugural run saw Christopher Aaron and Miquel Galofré, both active practitioners in the field of documentary filmmaking, being the chaperones for the younger talent. The cohort included a fresh mix of graduates, industry intermediates and novice enthusiasts. Each came with a distinct perspective on their chosen subject.
Lone duo, Rhonda Chan Soo & Edward Inglefield presented a tale of determined small-group social & environmental insurrection with Quiet Revolution. Ozzy Merrique, gave a voice to a heretic craftsman in his short, Horse. Maya Cross-Lovelace, unraveled the conditions of self-inflicted environmental decay, at a national level in the trouble with plastic. The package also included an offering from Miquel Galofré himself, with Green & Yellow, his profile of two destitutes whom roam the streets of Port of Spain, as well as one by a latent contributor (who made sure to regularly emphasize his non-competitive status) Carver Bacchus, Director Sustain T&T & Founder of Green Screen, The Environmental Film Festival.
Quiet Revolution, Directed by Rhonda Chan Soo & Edward Inglefield
Jury Award: Strongest Documentary
Centred on a unique environmental movement, described as permaculture, this film explores the practice of self-reliance by members an agricultural commune, deep past the rolling plains of Freeport, Central Trinidad. At a farm named Wa
Samaki, founded by Erle Noronha, Permaculturists have found their Valhalla in a converted citrus estate.
Permaculture, which is a not so new revival of sustainable design in agricultural ecosystems, encourages us to be mindful of the practices we employ in growing and producing food. Chan Soo & Inglefield’s Documentary is a near-ethnographic introduction to the way of life of the members of this estate. We are made privy to their values, supposedly radical beliefs and aspirations for a much more conscientious society. Through the study, we’re also made to share their scrutiny towards a broad range of behaviours, like the chemical dependency of post-agrarian capitalistic society, mankind’s inability to be mindful in modernity and the question of their members’ perceived socio-economic privilege.
Horse, Directed by Ozzy Merrique Jr.
Horse is, by all means, a stylistically dazzling short, that does its best to emulate its subject. Layered with a visceral soundtrack, that resembles progressive offshoots of jazz, rapso and other calypso derived urban music, it follows the movements of Damien Agostini as he goes about his very odd interest in harvesting scraps of wood and converting them into custom art pieces usually resembling animals. He then stacks these pieces along the paved path of the Queen’s Park Savannah with the hope of having them purchased by curious onlookers. It’s an unorthodox approach, but an example of how environmental sensibilities can be employed in any social strata.
Horse takes us from Damien’s Queen’s Park West Gallery, throughout Port of Spain as he explains his process. We learn about his humanity (the film actually opens on him lamenting on the death of his son), share in his laughable peculiarities and are compelled by him to see the world differently. He’s clearly an eccentric with a proud disposition. This hip, untamed and yet somewhat fresh doc really illustrates the old adage, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.
The Trouble with Plastic, Directed by Maya Cross-Lovelace
Jury Award: Guardian of the Environment
Seventeen years ago, a bill went to Parliament to petition regulation and enforce the recycling of materials used to contain beverages. It’s 2016, and that Bill still hasn’t been passed.
The Trouble with Plastic is a hard-hitting piece about the unsustainable practices of unregulated consumption and disposal of plastics in the T&T. Maya Cross-Lovelace’s film is a jarring buff to the nation for it’s ridiculously apathetic attitude towards the plastic crisis. Acknowledging the merits of efforts to otherwise buffer the situation by non-governmental, corporate, individual and state appointed interests (such as the EMA), the film, from most sides, explores the issue, which has more or less been allowed to proliferate with a culture of societal neglect and changes in administration.
Cross-Lovelace focuses on the effort of a partnership between one conglomerate, Massy Stores, and a non-governmental, Plasti-Keep as they claim their responsibility in the fight against plastic waste.
The film also makes another salient point in an effort to make it more immediate to the audience. That is, that even if we were all responsible in dumping our plastic properly, there’s still the issue of landfills to be considered, as our landfills are also a major environmental hazard. Local experts put forward curbside recycling as a better model at this current stage of decay.
The film ends with simple advice; Consumption will never make us happy. Taking care of our surroundings and inwardly, ourselves is what will make us happier
Teach A Man, Directed by Carver Bacchus
Somewhere in Gulf of Paria, a man ‘dances’ with sharks. This film is the account of a spear fisher named Jason James. He begins speaking, and with the most passion, describes the euphoria he experiences conducting his life’s work. In idyllic glory, he affirms his place in space and time.
Teach a Man is the kind of film that makes one feel good about humanity, that there could be such conscious people around, without guise or superficial airs about them. Jason shares his concerns about the world he knows above and below the choppy waves of the Coffee, as he calls it, on the La Brea coast. He talks about how life has changed since his youth, how a recent oil spill has affected his trade as a fisherman and how livelihood has become more challenging in general.
He also discusses with us the ironic nature of development to see-saw the quality of life, especially in rural communities like his own, where young men, who would’ve learned to live off of the earth like himself, turn to the black market to make their way of life. Teach a Man is a beautifully shot conversation with a passionate man.
Green and Yellow, Directed by Miquel Galofré
Street dwellers are very often characters that don’t get featured. As if, by some social consensus we all disregard that they exist as human beings, with dreams, aspirations, talents, wishes, hopes, needs, or even a history, who came from families and communities very much like any other of us.
Miquel Galofré’s Green and Yellow is a feature of two street dwellers, Sheldon Abardeen, better known by most in the Mucurapo area as Sketch and a man named Sean, better known as Yankee, a former expatriate, also living on the streets of Port of Spain. These men each share their histories, one being more comprehensible than the other. They give us an insight into their eerily similar
declines as a result of drug abuse, their respective admiration for their fathers (who weren’t necessary the best examples) and their common wish to overcome addiction and make right with their families.
We are rightfully not made to form opinions on these men, but rather to go just a step further than accepting that they exist. We are made to see them as human beings.
In all, reactions from the audience at the successive Q&A made it clear that the package of films left a significant indent, in not only the minds of those watching, but in their hearts and validated that film is highly effective as an agent to change ways of thinking and perceiving.
FilmTT is proud to be a sponsor of this Festival and the Films for a Better Place initiative in particular.
You may be wondering why FilmTT is blogging about this country’s Beverage Container Bill. Or rather, what does this Bill have to do with the local film industry. Well, FilmTT is a proud first-time sponsor of Green Screen The Environmental Film Festival, an annual two-week festival that not only features acclaimed local, regional and international films that highlight and explore crucial environmental issues but also hosts several thought-provoking and impactful panel discussions on this theme.
The Beverage Container Bill panel discussion was a key component to the Festival’s theme this year, The Big Picture, which sought to address one of the major issues affecting local waste management, i.e. beverage container disposal.
Held at NALIS Port of Spain, the discussion was preceded by two short films that drove home the critical need for more eco-conscious behaviours by our citizenry: Small Change directed by Dylan Quesnel focused on the need for Trinidad and Tobago to adopt more environmentally-friendly and sustainable ways to produce energy and The Trouble with Plastic by Maya Cross Lovelace was more intimately linked to the panel discussion at hand, highlighting the dangers of plastic and how this material negatively impacts the environment when it is not disposed of correctly. The stars, or rather the villains in these movies, were littered throughout each film, evoking emotional responses from the audience but also emphasising the urgent need for this Bill to be passed.
So what exactly is the Beverage Container Bill about? The original bill was put together 17 years ago but has not been decided upon because of its long, confusing nature. Members of the private sector on the panel believe that both the public and private sector must work together to ensure that the bill is adopted by all and enforced to minimize further harmful effects on our environment. Dominic Hadeed, Owner & Managing Director of Blue Waters Products Limited, stressed the importance of implementing law to mandate adherence to the agreed-upon bill, especially by manufacturers.
The Bill seeks to provide:
• the regulation of the sale of beverages in sealable containers
• the payment of a deposit on prescribed classes of beverage containers
• the refund of the deposit on the return of reusable and recyclable containers
• administrative and fiscal measures to encourage the reuse and recycling of beverage containers and reduce the disposal of beverage containers into the environment
Two key areas of concern arising from the discussion were payment and refund of the deposits. In its current form, the Bill states that every reusable or recyclable beverage container sold or offered for sale in Trinidad and Tobago shall have a refund value. But who pays the deposits, where does the money go and who gains ownership of the returned materials are questions that are being asked and the bill is still in the process of answering. Rosanna Farmer, Project Director at Plastikeep, recommended that the panellists in this discussion meet to create a list of suggestions that can help to finalize a bill that can benefit from everyone.
Surveys in the US and Canada show a 75-80% drop in beverage containers discarded along roadsides following the passage of a Bottle Bill (The Beverage Container Bill, 2012). The Beverage Container Bill, once implemented, has the potential to tackle some of the major environmental issues facing our country; issues that arise from the improper disposal of beverage containers and can possibly be solved by incentivizing the public to ‘do the right thing’.
This title best describes the conversation at the second night of the Green Screen Environmental Film Festival. A well-filled Centenary Hall at St. Mary’s College was host to many stalwarts of environmental conscientiousness, who came to hear the enlightening words of the feature cast. This was the first in a series of panel discussions taking place during Green Screen The Environmental Film festival.
At the head, Bobbi Hunter, former treasurer and founding member of Greenpeace, led an honest call to the ever-salient cause of conservation. Along with her, a decorated group of local veterans, each residing somewhere along the spectrum of revolutionary. From self-professed, recovering polluter and Project Officer of the ASA Wright Nature Centre, Peter O’Connor, to humble Rastafarian woman in the bush (as she calls it) and director of the Fondes Amandes Community Reforestation Project, Akilah Jaramogi, this ensemble could only be completed by gracious Hummingbird Medal Gold awardee and Matron of the Wild Fowl Trust Molly Gaskin, whose track record of environmental activism is only overshadowed by her charisma on a stage.
A myriad of issues were discussed, from the need to adopt conservation as a lifestyle, to the notable prevalence of strong female leadership throughout the Green Revolution. The panel did not hesitate to address the issues. Also shared were nostalgic anecdotes of valiant escapades in earth-saving, including stories about lobbying against the transportation of toxic nuclear waste through Caribbean waters, which would’ve been Greenpeace’s first instance of interaction with Trinidadian environmentalists, and Molly’s repetitive hints at an incident in which she and an associate were put in danger after being led deep into the forest under false pretense. Underlying all experiences shared, each panelist made one thing clear that evening; saving the world isn’t about your ego, it’s about a mutual desire to effect change.
The otherwise unassuming Ms. Hunter was quick to point out, from her own exploits at Greenpeace, that when things became less about the missions to conserve and more about the laurels of their moral pursuit, they had to rein in each other, to prevent destructive prideful behaviour, and maintain a focus on the results of their cause. She lamented that the effort is only worth it, and only yields a good result when those who give to the cause give not of their own self-serving interests, but rather to see that their cause is no longer a struggle. The mythos of altruism is at the very heart of activism, and must be preserved to see its end.
The evening was certainly well received by the audience, with a number of them wanting to contribute to the discussion, boding well for SustainTT’s efforts. Green Screen The Environmental Film Festival was designed to exploit the influential and pervasive medium of cinema, to effect long-term behaviour change. It also provides a means for local filmmakers who wish to be a part of the discourse to market their properties. Complimentary discussions such as these offer welcomed insight and always serve to expound the values within the films that come before them, further enabling the change. FilmTT is proud to be a leading sponsor of this worthy initiative.
Photo:- From l-r: Panel Discussion Moderator with Peter O’Connor (Project Officer, Asa Wright Nature Centre), Bobbi Hunter (Co-founder of Greenpeace), Molly Gaskin (President & Founding Member of Pointe-a-Pierre Wild Fowl Trust), Akilah Jaramogi (Managing Director, Fondes Amandes Community Reforestation Project)
Fifteen years of animation in Trinidad and Tobago was celebrated in fine style as Animae Caribe pulled out all the stops to host yet another incredible festival. So many aspects of the festival that stood out so in case you missed it, here are 6 of the most memorable experiences….
1.World Class Presenters
Leading international animators came to our shores to share their knowledge, discuss opportunities for aspiring and established animators and expose the wider public to the exciting worlds of animation, virtual reality, video game construction and special effects. Among them were:
Brad Schiff, LAIKA
LAIKA continues to push the boundaries when it comes to stop-motion animation with films like The Boxtrolls, Coraline, ParaNorman and more recently, Kubo and the Two Strings. Animation Supervisor on this new film, Brad Schiff, has not only done work for brands such as NFL on Fox, Nintendo and Samsung but he has also won several awards for his work in animation.
Rona Lui, Pixar Animation Studios
Known for her work in Finding Dory, Rona’s designs and drawings contributed to making one of the most beautiful, scenic and atmospheric productions of our time. Hearing her share the story of her love of art, its importance to animation and its significance in the future of digital animation and games was one of the biggest highlights of this year’s festival.
Caiphus Moore, Electronic Arts (EA)
Currently a Senior Artist for Electronic Arts (EA), Caiphus is a Trinidadian-American artist who has spent most of his professional career creating artwork for the video game industry. His passion lies in creating synergies between art, gaming and multimedia and at this year’s festival, Caiphus took participants through the drill of creating a successful world, be it for games or animation.
Saïdou Bernabé & Yoane Pavadé, Parellel 14
These two gentlemen are the founders of the first Caribbean school with courses in innovative fields such as 3D animation cinema, visual effects and video games. Originally, from Martinique, Saïdou and Yoane have returned home after spending 15 years abroad working as 3D graphic designers for some of the largest international film production studios. At the festival, they shared their knowledge on several key areas including story development, environment design and visual effects.
Brad Schiff on working on MTV’s Celebrity Deathmatch
Rona Lui describes shading in animation
2. Kubo was Here!
So a real-life Kubo wasn’t actually here but the stop-motion character was, and Brad Schiff, Animation Supervisor for Kubo and the Two Strings allowed Festival participants to interact with the figurine to learn more about the ancient art of stop-motion animation. The film was also shown at the Festival’s Opening Night which took place at Digicel IMAX and received a rousing applause from viewers who also got the opportunity to pick Brad’s brain on the effort, resources and motivation that went into producing this masterpiece.
3. Animated Ideas Bootcamp
One of the main highlights of the festival is the ‘Animated Ideas’ Bootcamp 2. The Animated Ideas Bootcamp is a collaborative training and development project that encourages group participation for the development of animated series concepts for pitching and production. This year, 4 groups were formed and pitched their ideas to a panel of judges.
The winning group, The JK’s, gave a laughter inducing presentation on their animated character Scraps the Cat. For their hard work and attention to detail, the JK’s will be partnered with Caribbean animation studios and funded to create a short trailer a poster and a Production Bible that will be used for marketing and promotion for further funding both in the region, and international bodies. We can’t wait to see what they come up with next!
The JK’s with their winning presentation on Scraps the Cat
4. Connecting, Collaborating & Crowdfunding!
This year, Animae Caribe was excited to announce their collaboration with Spang Makandra and Apura Networks from Suriname in an effort to address some of the funding issues that face the film industry and the animation field.
Spang Makandra is a full service interactive media studio which provides internet marketing services and helps companies to communicate through the internet to develop an online identity and campaign. Spang Makandra is responsible for the social media and marketing for the four Animae Caribe projects; Epically Maya, Banana Boat, Bim and Bam and Magnus the Mongoose.
Apura Networks is a crowdfunding and networking platform responsible for the crowdfunding site for these five Projects. With crowdfunding, future local animators will have the opportunity to receive funding for their Animae Caribe projects and joining forces with other countries within the region is a good start to building and developing a world of animation and film.
5. Secondary School Students ‘Expo-sed’ to a Word of Animation
Animae Caribe held Expos on the 28th and 29th of October, with the 28th being specifically targeted to school students. The booths were laden with various tools for animation, such as computer programs and robotics. One particular Ape robot rolled along a table while the dinosaur robot begged to be pet and fed.
The expo also consisted of screenings and presentations on game construction and Animation 101 for CAPE Teachers. Brad Schiff’s presentation on stop-motion animation was a hit among the students as he showed various clips of his work over the years, reassuring the audience that talent gets better with time and practice.
Students enjoying themselves at NIHERST’s booth
6. Dark Night – An Awards Night with a Twist
Saturday 29th October marked the closing of a successful 15th year for Animae Caribe’s Animation and Digital Media Festival. Many of the supporters attended the awards ceremony at Tzar Nightclub decked out in costumes of various characters or even as themselves. Awards were given to both local and regional winners for the amazing animations submitted this year.
AC supporters dressed for the awards ceremony
MOST PROMISING ANIMATOR
SAN Surinam Animation Network and GAN Guyana Animation Network and TTAN Trinidad and Tobago Animation Network
MOST OUTSTANDING ANIMATION
Way of Giants – Alois Di Leo, Brazil
Honorable mention – If you Go Away – Ashkan Rahgozar, Iran
BEST ART IN ANIMATION
Illusions – Dominica Harrison, UK
BEST INTERNATIONAL STUDENT FILM
The Alan Dimension – Jac Clinch, UK
BEST LOCAL STUDENT FILM
The Web – Joel Cabrices, Trinidad & Tobago Venezuela
MOST OUTSTANDING REGIONAL ANIMATION
Way of Giants – Alois Di Leo, Brazil
BEST ANIMATED MUSIC VIDEO
Weather the Storm – Peter Banyton, UK
ANIMAE CARIBE – BOOTCAMP – BEST ANIMATED IDEA
4th Place – Project Mimas
3rd Place – Team Wing It
2nd Place – Saga Networks
1st Place – JK’s