I know it’s been a while since my last post. Lots to report on, but I’m jumping on right now because I’m putting out an APB (WANTED) out on Caribbean island feature length films. I’m so delighted and honored to be Programmer of the Yellow Robin competition at the Curaçao International Film Festival, taking place April 2 – 6. I was happy to learn I was recommended by the veteran Latin Film Programmer at the Toronto International Film Festival, Diana Sanchez (thank you!). I got the gig after speaking with Rutger Wolfson, director of IFFR and then while at the Morelia Film Festival, I met with Percy Pinedo who leads the program from Curacao. I was impressed to hear the year round efforts and programming The Cinemas Willemstad has been doing thanks to the support of the Fundashon Bon Intenshon. The aim of Rotterdam’s Caribbean baby sister is to develop the local audience and spark the filmmaking impulse, and create a meeting point for Caribbean and Latin American film producers.
As a huge fan of Rotterdam’s edgy, discovery programming, I’m so happy to be collaborating with their smart team’s bold initiative to register the filmmaking voices and people of the Caribbean islands. This is a region to watch. This year I was excited to watch 4 fiction feature length submissions from the Dominican Republic films for Sundance, each completely distinct from each other. The Havana Film Festival which 35th edition ended last week, boasted a stronger than ever regional program , including the premieres of Land Without Evil by Juan Carlos Valdivia (from Bolivia), whose last film, Zona Sur played at the Sundance Film Festival in 2010, and Giraffes, a Cuban/Colombian/Panamanian film by Cuban Kiki Alvarez.
There is also for instance, The Panama International Film Festival which has solid ties with the Toronto International Film Festival (Diana Sanchez is the Artistic Director) and is taking place from April 3 – 9. Like Curaco IFFR, it will put on its 3rd edition in 2014. I heard great things about Panama from Latin Film Market industry friends. Since 2006 the Trinidad & Tobago Film Festival has been earning a name for itself, and it looks like it also has a robust little engine of year round programming to engage the community. Surely these kind of co-organized visionary festivals are encouraging the slowly increasing trickle of feature length films I’m seeing in submissions. That said, there is not much film input from specifically the island region, which makes the viewing process exotic and exhilarating to see such underrepresented culture. The shortage and inconsistent quality is a challenge towards assembling a worthy, well rounded competition if restricted to only Caribbean islands therefore the competition will also select films from Central & South America, countries near geographically and influence. For me, there is something so metaphysical about being so naked and vulnerable out in the middle of the sea that shapes the perspectives of these stories.
I’m looking forward to spending my holidays visiting the islands through film. If you have any recommendations even if they are just the titles without contacts, let me know. Please share and pass along the link in case someone you know might have some.