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WatchAMovieOnUS:online screening series

Looking for a way to beat the cabin fever of self-isolation? ttff is delighted to present the #WatchAMovieOnUs: online screening series, in partnership with NGC (the National Gas Company).

As part of our fifteenth anniversary celebrations, from 28 march to 10 april, #WatchAMovieOnUs will stream fourteen trinidad+tobago film festival favourites – one per day – for free via the ttff website. Films will be available for 24 hours each.

Our screening schedule will be posted to the ttff Facebook page over the next few days, so check out and follow our event page at: https://www.facebook.com/events/220642585807814/

#ttff20 #15in2020 #ttfilmfestival
#ngc #attheforefrontofenergy #45years #nationalgascompany

announcing the ttff/20 call for submissions

ttff/20 celebrating 15 years in 2020!

Port of Spain, Monday 03 February 2020: The trinidad+tobago film festival is pleased to announce the call for submissions for our 15th anniversary festival, ttff/20! Submissions can be made through our festival portal on Film Freeway.

The ttff seeks to highlight excellence in filmmaking through the exhibition of fiction and documentary feature and short films made in Trinidad and Tobago, the Caribbean and its diaspora. The Festival therefore accepts submissions from Caribbean filmmakers in the region and in the diaspora; and international filmmakers with films from or about the Caribbean or its diaspora. Submissions must have been produced after 01 January 2018. For full submission guidelines and categories, please visit our portal on Film Freeway.

ttff/20 will include new shorts, and features, narrative films, documentaries and experimental films, which explore the Caribbean experience. As always, the festival will include curated film screenings at Movietowne (Port of Spain, San Fernando and Tobago) and a programme of outdoor screenings of favourite classics, People’s Choice and jury award-winning films.

In 2020 we’re also launching a new submission and prize category for student filmmakers (whether secondary or tertiary) to encourage and support the early careers of emerging talent.

Our training and professional development programmes will continue to be a core offering of ttff in 2020, with the launch of Masterclasses (intensive 3-day workshops led by international industry professionals), the re-introduction of filmmaker panels, and continuing our introductory industry workshops, and youth-focused mentorship and training.

If you have any questions or concerns, please visit our frequently asked questions or drop us a line at hello@ttfilmfestival.com.

Please click the button below to submit your film to ttff/20 via FilmFreeway.

kicking off ttff/20!

gone but not forgotten
Ray Funk helps to kick off ttff’s 15th anniversary year!

The trinidad+tobago film festival is delighted to reprise beloved carnival aficionado, Ray Funk’s video presentation and talk, Gone But Not Forgotten, as part of our 15th anniversary celebrations! On 12 February at the National Museum and Art Gallery, Funk will be presenting a celebration of pan pioneers who have passed away. The presentation will include a newly discovered ten minute film called Panboo (shot in 1954),​ as well as clips of pan visionaries Ellie Mannette, Kim Loy Wong, Cliff Alexis, Pat Bishop, Ken “Professor” Philmore, Clyde Bradley and Jit Samaroo. This presentation was first offered as part of the film festival’s numerous programs last August at Carifesta.

This programme represents Funk’s desire to offer, in one event, an opportunity to let his audience hear and see these pioneers of pan talk, and look at rare clips of pan in concert, festival, and on the streets at Carnival. “I want to let the history of pan unfold from the voices of the icons who contributed to its history.” The clips come from various films, television programmes and private sources. They are primarily from Ray Funk’s own collection with assistance from Christopher Laird of Banyan Archives and Timmy Mora of Visual Arts and Production. 

Since Carifesta, Funk has continued to search for more rare early footage and is excited to  screen what he believes is the first film about steelpan. He found a newspaper clipping in a Canadian newspaper in 1955 referring to this short film and arranged for it to be digitized from an archive.  He only got a copy several weeks ago and is very excited . “Before Panboo, there were a couple very short footage of steelbands in newsreels, but this is the first film about pan. It features the Woodbrook band Dixie Stars who had traveled to Toronto as the first Esso Steel Band and later settled in Bermuda. It traces the evolution of pan from skin drums to steel and it seems to have only ever had a few public showings in Canada back in the 1950s. I believe it is the first time anyone has seen this film in over sixty years!”

Ray Funk has done a number of previous presentations for the trinidad+tobago film festival of historic film clips on Trinidad Carnival, calypso, pan and mas. A retired Alaskan trial judge, Funk has been coming to Trinidad regularly for over two decades, primarily during carnival. He has written dozens and dozens of articles for all three Trinidad daily newspapers, co-written books on Invaders and Northern Illinois Steelband, and been a Fulbright US scholar. 

Gone But Not Forgotten is presented in partnership with the National Gas Company (NGC), The National Museum and Art Gallery of Trinidad and Tobago and The Central Bank Museum

12 February 2020, 6pm-8pm
National Museum and Art Gallery, Frederick Street, Port of Spain

This event is free and open to the public. All are welcome!

ttff/20 dates announced!

Filmmakers and film festival fans! Announcing the dates of ttff/20: 09-15 September 2020, so save the date! 2020 marks the 15th anniversary of the trinidad+tobago film festival, so we have a lot to celebrate! 

We will be opening our formal call for submissions via Film Freeway in early February, so stay tuned to our website and social media for updates on submissions, special events and more! #ttff20 #15in2020

and the winners are…

The votes are in and audiences have spoken – the winners of ttff/19’s People’s Choice awards are as follows:

Spirit of the Caribbean: Charlie’s Records, directed by Tina Charles
Best Feature: Grace and Saleem, directed by Jian Hennings
Best Short: Sampson’s Heart, directed by Juliette McCawley

Warmest congratulations to the casts and crews of the winning films! Awardees receive ttff/19 carifesta edition trophies and a cash prizes sponsored by Shell and the trinidad+tobago film festival.

world premiere of Queen of Soca

from left to right: director of Queen of Soca, Kevin Adams; Minister of Community Development, Culture and the Arts, Dr Nyan Gadsby Dolly; singer and star of QoS, Terri-Ann Lyons

Members of the film and television fraternity, ttff/19 sponsors, supporters, movie lovers and the cast and crew of the featured film gathered at NAPA on Wednesday 21 August to celebrate the world premiere of ‘Queen of Soca’ during the trinidad+tobago film festival.

Directed by Kevin Adams and produced by Christopher Din Chong, with support from the New World Film Centre and a Take One grant from the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts, ‘Queen of Soca’ – tells the story of Olivia (Terri-Ann Lyons), a young woman with a natural gift for singing who believes her passion for Soca music can change her life – opened to an enthusiastic and appreciative audience.

paddington passes the ttff baton

On Wednesday 21 August, during his usual welcome address at ttff’s signal event, the world premiere of ‘Queen of Soca’, festival founder and director, Dr. Bruce Paddington, announced that we would be leaving the film festival to pursue other projects. In so doing, he passed the baton of the festival FILMCO: the Filmmakers’ Collaborative of Trinidad and Tobago.

“Now is the time to pass the baton over to four talented and committed members of the Filmmakers collaborative who will take over the management of ttff (and in fact have been undertaking this role for much of ttff 2019),” Paddington remarked. “I will be available as a consultant or Professor Emeritus and hope to continue to co executive produce another three local feature films as part of the activities of the not for profit New World Film Centre…”

Following Paddington’s speech, the new interim director of ttff, and founding member of FILMCO, Mariel Brown, observed that, “We have huge shoes to fill! Over the fourteen years of its existence, the film festival has built a beloved and established brand that mans a great deal to very many people (including me). Thank you Bruce, for your vision and determination. Thank you to the incredible team you helped put together: Annabelle, Melvina, Emilie, Marina, Jonathan, Magella, Nneka, Melanie and so many more. I promise, we’ll do our level best to maintain and build on what you have created. And we look forward to the 15th anniversary of the festival, which we’ll celebrate in 2020!”

FILMCO will take over the management of ttff from September 2019.

FilmTT Filmmaker Networking Breakfast

Caribbean filmmakers are chatting up a storm, in between laughs and mouthfuls of a sweet-hand T+T breakfast buffet at Rituals, enjoying the first industry event for ttff/19 carifesta edition.

Caribbean filmmakers very rarely get the opportunity to meet and interact in an informal setting; at film festivals around the region, filmmakers often congregate amongst their country groups, and industry associations and groupings tend to be localised. CARIFESTA was an opportune moment to have a gathering of filmmakers from the region, as many travelled to Trinidad as part of their country’s contingent. And within the context of the CARIFESTA celebrations of regional creativity, the FilmTT Filmmaker Networking Breakfast was a welcome opportunity for filmmakers from around the Caribbean and Trinidad and Tobago to gather, meet and interact in a comfortable and relaxed setting within a structure that was designed to encourage filmmakers to meet peers whom they don’t already know, talk filmmaking, projects, and, hopefully, regional collaboration.

The Breakfast was held on 19 August, at Rituals Coffee Shop, Saddle Road, Maraval

ttff/19 industry events are sponsored in part by the Trinidad and Tobago Film Company (FilmTT).

(Photography by Marc Bain)

Ray Funk at Couva Joylanders Panyard + APA

Ray Funk giving a presentation at ttff/16

As part of ttff/19 carifesta edition, Ray Funk will be presenting a celebration of Pan Pioneers  who have passed away. This free event will focus on Ellie Mannette, Kim Loy Wong, Cliff Alexis, Pat Bishop, Ken “Professor” Philmore, Clyde Bradley and Jit Samaroo, several of who passed in 2018.

Funk’s presentation offers rare clips of interviews with these pioneers, as well as performances by Invaders, Despers, Renegades and more. It will be presented twice, on Saturday 17 August, 6.30pm at the Couva Joylanders Panyard, and Sunday 18 August, 4.30pm at the Academy for the Performing Arts (APA) Room 01, Queen’s Park South. Tickets are available at APA or online here.

This latest programme represents Funk’s desire to offer, in one event, an opportunity to let his audience hear and see these pioneers of pan talk, and look at rare clips of pan in concert, festival, and on the streets at Carnival. “I want to offer in this event rare performances of steelpan, but also let the history of pan unfold from the voices of the icons who contributed to its history.” The clips come from various films, television programmes and private sources. They are primarily from Ray Funk’s own collection with assistance from Christopher Laird of Banyan Archives and Timmy Mora of Visual Arts and Production.

Ray Funk has done a number of previous presentations for the trinidad+tobago film festival of historic film clips on Trinidad Carnival, calypso, pan and mas. A retired Alaskan trial judge, Funk has been coming to Trinidad regularly for over two decades, primarily during carnival. He has written dozens and dozens of articles for all three Trinidad daily newspapers, co-written books on Invaders and Northern Illinois Steelband, and been a Fulbright US scholar.

ttff/19 Carifesta Edition Industry Events (Day 02)

Supported in part by FilmTT


Pack the Cinema: Successful Marketing Strategies for Micro-Budget Films

With fundraising often the most challenging aspect of the filmmaking process, plans and budgets for marketing your film can end up at the bottom of the list, and ‘marketing / promotion’ is invariably the first line item to get chopped. In this workshop, we look at different strategies for marketing your micro-budget films, from leveraging traditional press relationships to winning in the social media sphere.

20 August, 08.30am-10.30am
APA, Room 202

Light refreshments will be provided.


First Person Documentary Storytelling

A structured conversation with supporting film clips, First Person Documentary Storytelling will be presented by documentary filmmakers Michael Lees (Dominica, ‘Uncivilized’) and Mariel Brown (Trinidad and Tobago, ‘Unfinished Sentences’) who will delve into the following topics:

  • Taking the leap (coming to terms with sharing your story on film and with audiences)
  • The ugly truth (challenging yourself to talk about the hard things, not just the good/ nice ones)
  • Is there such a thing as going too far in personal documentary storytelling?
  • Objective distance and how to get it when you’re making a personal film
  • How to get beyond “But who would want to watch a film about you?”

20 August, 10.45am-12.45pm
APA, Room 202

Light refreshments will be provided.


Filmco WW: Contracts / Clearances and Copyright

Film contracts and agreements protect the rights of your film and are necessary to avoid miscommunication and risk at every stage, from pre-production through production and distribution. Agreements need to be set in place with your production team, cast and crew even from before principal photography begins. And then you also have to factor in licenses for the use of creative works such as music, works of art etc. These are thorny areas that are easy to overlook or put off, but which, if not handled correctly, can have devastating repercussions for your film.

In this workshop, presented by Filmco, facilitators will speak on Intellectual Property, clearances and contracts.

20 August, 02.00pm-04.00pm
APA, Room 202

Light refreshments will be provided.