Three grants awarded after Feature Film call
The Trinidad and Tobago Film Company (TTFC) has awarded three grants in its Feature Film Programme, after a call for submissions last year. The three projects will be given funding for script development.
Lead producer Abigail Hadeed’s “Play the Devil”, which was written and will be directed by Bahamian filmmaker Maria Govan, is one of the projects chosen. Its TTFC synopsis describes a film about art, passion and obsession. In an emailed response to questions about the film and the TTFC grant, Govan said, “We are thrilled to have the support of the Film Company!”
Govan is the writer and director of the internationally successful dramatic feature “Rain”, starring CCH Pounder.
Govan and Hadeed said via email, “The support of the Film Company is invaluable, in that it instills confidence as we progress our fund raising efforts and offers support as we develop our script and creative vision. [T&T] filmmakers are extraordinarily fortunate to have such support in place, not only in this form, but also in the form of such an incredible rebate offered,” they said, referring to the rebate offered by Trinidad and Tobago of up to 50 per cent of production expenses to projects filmed in this country.
“We have no doubt that [T&T]—with such a dynamic film festival, along with the vision and support of the Film Company—will be leading the way for this new wave of Caribbean film that is emerging.”
Hadeed and Govan added, “’Play the Devil’ is a story that explores the very different relationship and power dynamics surrounding Gregory, a gifted young man from Paramin as he comes into adulthood. We hope that the film will challenge the audience to really investigate the question of morality, painting life in all of its complex grays, so to diminish one’s ability to judge so readily.”
Another grant was awarded to Emilie Upczak for her film “Moving Parts of Love”, a romantic drama. Upczak said via email, “I am grateful and enthusiastic to be one of the feature film projects selected by the TTFC for script development.
“This is a meaningful opportunity, one that I intend to take seriously as I understand this initiative is meant to support growing a vibrant film industry in Trinidad and Tobago. I am presently in the fundraising and script development phase and plan to go into production in 2015. I am also currently working towards my MFA in Film at Vermont College of Fine Arts where I am receiving additional support and mentorship from the administration and faculty towards the development of my film.”
Upczak, a director, writer and producer, has previously made documentary and dramatic short films, including “Knockabout” and “Y-ning?”.
“My hope is to utilise local and international resources to produce the best quality film I possibly can that will have a meaningful impact and reach both regional and international audiences,” Upczack said.
The final grant was awarded to Brent Webster, a producer of the kidnap drama “The Cutlass”. In a telephone interview, Webster, the film’s producer, said he was happy for the film to be selected for script development. “Because we all know the story in our head we see things differently; we would tend to pass things over that a script doctor who doesn’t know the story would pick up on.”
Webster said the “Cutlass” crew is still fundraising and is trying to achieve a balance between “the creative and the monetary” demands of the script.
They are hoping to have the film fully shot and in postproduction by end of the year, he said.
Each of the projects will be sent on to international story editors for vetting. Grantees will have to show proof of other sources of funding before any further TTFC funding is granted. The successful projects will be considered for co-production arrangements with the TTFC.