Film Company funds ttff/13 winners
The feature length drama “God Loves the Fighter”, directed by Trinidad and Tobago-born filmmaker Damian Marcano, and “After Mas”, directed by Karen Martinez, both won awards at the recently concluded 2013 Trinidad & Tobago Film Festival (TTFF). The films were two of four festival official selections supported by the Trinidad and Tobago Film Company (TTFC).
“God Loves the Fighter” took the jury prize for Best Local Feature, the People’s Choice Feature Award, and a special mention in the category of Best Feature, a juried award open to 15 films in the festival.
The awards were announced at a ceremony at the Hyatt Regency on September 30.
Marcano, whose film was entirely shot in Trinidad and Tobago and featured an all local cast and local crew, said in a talk at the TTFC on September 27, “We set out to make a cult classic film.” The drama, about underworld characters involved in drugs and prostitution in Port-of-Spain, was sold out for each of its showings during the TTFF and has been a critical hit.
He made the feature with very little money, he indicated. “The budget was a small music video budget in Los Angeles, [spread out] over three years. It’s like how people build houses here: little bit and little bit and then it’s finished.” He began production in 2011 and was still doing post-production just days before the TTFF opening.
The TTFC provided marketing and distribution funds to “God Loves the Fighter” after the film was produced. Marcano told the small group of filmmakers at the TTFC on September 27 that he understood why it had been difficult to get production funding, as this was his first feature even though he had been making music videos for several years.
“Don’t think everything is going to come to you for free,” he said. “There’s a million other people doing this and they’re all not getting money.”
Another TTFC-supported film, “After Mas”, directed by Karen Martinez, took the jury prize for Best Local Short at the TTFF. “After Mas”, a 15-minute drama set during J’Ouvert, was the recipient of a Production Assistance and Script Development (PASD) Grant from the TTFC.
The interracial love story starred a local cast—headlined by Khafra Rudder and Carly Coutts—and also used local crew. Martinez is Trinidad-born but based in the UK.
Martinez praised the festival for the opportunity it gave filmmakers to network. “It attracts so many filmmakers and film professionals from a variety of countries, making the two weeks a fabulous time to network and get invaluable information from busy people who might otherwise be impossible to access,” she said in response to an e-mail request for comment on her award. The TTFC is one of the festival’s leading sponsors and is a founding sponsor as well.
She added the film “is being entered into a variety of international film festivals and I'm hoping to sell it to TV in the UK.” It will be screened in T&T again, she said.
“I’m also filming an essay-style documentary in London and Trinidad in early 2014—it's called ‘Dreams in Transit’ and looks at migrants and their relationship to the place they call Home. The Trinidadian actress Martina Laird (last seen in National Theatre's production of ‘Moon on a Rainbow Shawl’) will be at the heart of it and I am working with other Trinidadian artist-migrants like the poet Vahni Capildeo and I'm hoping that Dominique Legendre will compose the musical score. Once again I’ve been very lucky to get a grant from the TTFC that will part fund the documentary.”