$250,000 grant for local films


Local first-time feature filmmakers now have an opportunity to win a $250,000 grant by the end of July.

Grants will be issued for three films, TT Film Festival (TTFF) programme director Annabelle Alcazar announced at the launch of the Take One Feature Film Grant, an initiative led by the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts in association with New World Film Centre (NWFC).

Alcazar spoke about the criteria for the grants at the VIP Room, Queen’s Park Savannah, Port of Spain last Friday.

The films, she said, must be between 72 and 100 minutes long, and while there are no set themes, they should be positive and developmental, celebrating the spirit and essence of TT. Proposals must include the title of the film, its length, a synopsis and script, CVs of the producer, director, main crew members and actors, as well as examples of previous work.

The submission must also include the production schedule, budget, in addition to evidence of additional money raised, and, or, a plan to source additional funds, and a distribution plan.

The ministry, in association with NWFC, will executive-produce and co-ordinate the three films, issue a grant of $250,000 for each, while the NWFC will manage the disbursement and monitor the progress of the films.

There will be three judges, one selected by the ministry, one by the filmmakers organisation, FilmCo, and the third an international film professional selected by TTFF.

Minister of Community Development, Culture and the Arts Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly noted many filmmakers toiled for years to get their passion onto the screen. She said: “We are now part of their team, helping to make their vision a reality. This grant is an investment in that dream.”

She also called on corporate TT to come forward, as it had in the past, citing bpTT’s support of the films Green Days by the River and To be a Renegade and Shell’s support of the documentary on the pan in schools project.

Gadsby-Dolly said: “This feature film grant is a great opportunity to make an invaluable contribution towards the indomitable spirit that is TT, and the stories and intangible heritage that we will preserve through film. This project supports the ministry’s strategic goals of discovering nascent talent in our communities, nurturing budding artistes and promoting our artistic expression.”

The films will be screened at the 2019 film festival which will be held as part of Carifesta XIV in TT from August 15-25, next year.

Gadsby-Dolly deviated from her speech to encourage people to vote for soca singer Nailah Blackman who is nominated for the BET international artiste award.

NWFC founder and director Bruce Paddington said with talented filmmakers starved for funds to initiate new productions in recent years, he felt things should change with the grants for the new films.

Film, Paddington said, “is one of seven areas highlighted as key to the Government’s diversification programme and we are all aware film is a business and as part of the transformation that is being promised.” He hoped the project would make money for the filmmakers, so they can make new films.

“We are convinced that we have some great an exciting film productions that will ensure TT is the most talented and most progressive film-producing nation in the industry in the Caribbean,” he said.

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