Secondary Schools Film Fest celebrates ten years
The Secondary Schools Short Film Festival (SSSFF) celebrates its tenth anniversary this year at its 2014 Awards Ceremony. The Ceremony is planned for September 16 at Queen’s Hall, St Ann’s.
Under the management of the Trinidad and Tobago Film Company (TTFC), the SSSFF has trained more than 2,500 secondary school students in filmmaking techniques—including scriptwriting, acting, direction, lighting, sound, camera work and editing.
SSSFF alumni have gone on to study film at the UWI and abroad, and continue to make a contribution to the growing T&T film industry. They include Steven Taylor, director of the award-winning dramatic short “Buck: The Man Spirit”, who is now pursuing a Master’s at the prestigious University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts; and Christian James, who recently completed a Master’s in Creative Producing at Columbia College, Chicago.
The SSSFF is open to all secondary schools and registered youth groups in T&T. Each group is assigned industry experts who conduct weeks of training with the youths, over the Easter and August holidays, in order to facilitate each group’s making of a five-minute film. Films take their themes from a list provided by the TTFC.
This year’s themes were:
CULTURE – “What it means to be Trinbagonian”
PEACE/ SOCIAL CHANGE – “ Say no to Discrimination” / “Living in Harmony
THE ENVIRONMENT – “Water—a Valuable Resource” / “Water Conservation”
OPEN THEME — The theme had to be relevant to the age group of the students, and pre-approved by the TTFC.
The youths use their respective schools’ or students’ cameras and equipment during filming and post-production.
Annually, each winning group is awarded camera equipment—and in the past, schools have been presented with over $250,000 in such awards over the years.
Groups compete for the following prizes, which are adjudicated by an independent jury:
1. Award for Best Cultural Film
2. Award for Best Social Awareness Film
3. Award for Best Environmental Film
4. Best Open Theme Film
5. Best Overall Film
6. Best Actor
7. Best Actress
8. Best Original Score
A People's Choice Award, based on online voting by the public, is also presented.
The TTFC sees the SSSFF as one of its core projects annually and is justifiably proud of the rich legacy of the Festival. Filmmaking is an outlet for youth creativity and innovation, and the Festival also serves as introduction to the business of filmmaking, an essential industry in a diversified economy. Through its themes, the SSSFF places emphasis on responsible filmmaking that encourages thoughtfulness and awareness of the cultural, social and physical environment.
Films from the SSSFF are screened as part of the annual Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival.
The SSSFF is held annually with the assistance of the Ministry of Education, the Division of Education, Youth Affairs and Sport of the Tobago House of Assembly, the Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival and MovieTowne Multicinemas Limited. Additional sponsors this year include Phoenix Gas Processors, the Maracas Valley Action Committee, First Citizens Bank and BGTT.