trinidad+tobago film festival sourcing new markets for Caribbean film

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As part of its efforts to continue the work of its Caribbean Film Mart and Caribbean Film Database, members of the trinidad+tobago film festival (ttff) recently visited other festivals in Cuba, Dominican Republic, Argentina and France, to source potential markets and contacts for Caribbean films and filmmakers.
The ttff’s founder and director, Dr Bruce Paddington, was in Cuba from 03 – 08 December for the Havana Film Festival, the largest in the region, attracting internationally renowned actors, directors and producers including Steven Spielberg, Robert Redford, Danny Glover and Robert de Niro. The Havana festival primarily focuses on Spanish-language films and filmmakers, but in recent years, through its partnership with ttff, has featured films from the English speaking Caribbean, curated by ttff. This year the partnership between the two festivals resulted in eight English language Caribbean films (four from T&T), being screened.

Dr Paddington also used this visit to Havana to deliver a presentation on the Caribbean Film Database, to Cuban-based and visiting film professionals. The Database, which was launched by the ttff in September 2015, was funded by the European Union through the ACP Cultures+ Programme which also included the Caribbean Film Mart, and was set up with support from partners in the region, including in Cuba. As Dr. Paddington told the audience, the importance of the database is its potential as a source of information for international sales agents and distributors and for enabling the inclusion of Caribbean films in regional and international festivals and screenings.

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Dominican Republic

A presentation on the Caribbean Film Database was also made by Paddington at the Dominican Republic Global Film Festival, in Santo Domingo, in November 2015, where three T&T films – TraffickedPan: A Musical Odyssey and Show Me Your Motion: Caribbean Film Festivals – were shown. Among contacts made in the DR were Spanish executive producer Marian Matachana, who expressed great interest in Caribbean cinema. She offered to leverage contacts with three festivals in Spain, especially the prestigious Dijon International Film Festival, proposing a “Caribbean presents” programme with a sidebar of films from festivals in Martinique, Guadeloupe, Curacao and Trinidad and Tobago.


The ttff, represented by its editorial director, Jonathan Ali, was invited to Argentina for Ventana Sur, the largest film market in Latin America, where films are bought and sold and distribution deals are struck. Ventana Sur, which was held from 30 November to 04 December 2015, was founded in 2009 by INCAA, Argentina’s national film institute, and the Marché du Film at Cannes Film Festival.


Its invitation to ttff, followed its own presence at ttff/15 in September, and the brokering of a new initiative – Ventana Caribe – created to give Caribbean films in post-production a space at Ventana Sur, with opportunities to find completion funding, sales and distribution opportunities, and make connections with other film festivals and film professionals.

The ttff visit was primarily to oversee the execution of the Ventana Caribe, support the five Caribbean filmmakers who were selected for the inaugural event and as always, to explore opportunities for contacts and other partnerships that could benefit the Caribbean film industry.

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According to Ali: “I was able to meet with Jérôme Paillard, executive director of the Marche du Film at Cannes, who initiated the meeting and showed keen interest in finding out more about films from the Caribbean. I had a number of other useful meetings, including with HBO Latin America, Cicurel Art Films – which distributes art house films in Brazil, Damned Films – which distributes independent films in France and expressed keen interest in Caribbean content, and Agustín Mango, The Hollywood Reporter correspondent for Latin America, who sought me out to discuss ttff and Caribbean film in general.”


Also networking with international contacts on behalf of the ttff, was Nneka Luke, the Festival’s external relations director, who attended the Festival des 3 Continents in Nantes, France, from 24 November – 01 December 2015. The Festival is devoted to the cinemas of Asia, Africa and Latin America and seeks to expose European audiences to the cultures, languages, traditions and cinema styles of these three continents. Running alongside this Festival, is the Produire au Sud (Producers of the South), a workshop created in 2000, to support young producers from Asia, Africa and Latin America and encourage lasting cooperation between European film professionals and emerging professionals from the South.

According to Luke: “The Festival des 3 Continents and the Produire au Sud are prime spaces for Caribbean films and filmmakers to be present at, as their support has led to films that might otherwise have been ignored, being picked up by other European festivals. I was able to begin an ongoing discussion about how we might work together in the future.”

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Luke also sat on the jury that adjudicated the ten films in competition, and whose members included a film critic from Hong Kong, a Paris-based singer/songwriter, and an actress from Afghanistan.

The trinidad+tobago film festival (ttff) celebrates films from and about the Caribbean and its diaspora, as well as from world cinema, through an annual festival and year-round screenings. In addition, the ttff seeks to facilitate the growth of Caribbean cinema by offering a wide-ranging industry programme and networking opportunities. The ttff is presented by Flow, given leading sponsorship by bpTT and the Trinidad and Tobago Film Company (FilmTT), and supporting sponsorship by RBC Royal Bank, The National Gas Company, National Lotteries Control Board, Ministry of the Arts and Multiculturalism, the Embassy of the United States of America, and the Tourism Development Company.

For further information visit

Source: Repeating Islands

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