January 24, 2012: The Trinidad and Tobago Film Company (TTFC) today launched the eighth instalment of the Secondary Schools Short Film Festival (SSSFF) with an official ceremony at Movietowne POS. The event featured an address by the Minister of Trade and Industry, the Honourable Stephen Cadiz and also saw the unveiling of the new themes for 2012 and the distribution of prizes of film equipment to last year’s winning schools.
The new themes introduced by Minister of Trade & Industry Stephen Cadiz included:
- THE ENVIRONMENT: “Making a Cleaner, Better Future”
- CULTURAL TRADITIONS/PRESERVATION: “50 years of Culture: Preserving the T&T Legacy”
- NATIONAL IDENTITY: “My Islands, What it means to be Trinbagonian”
- PEACE/ SOCIAL CHANGE: “Fixing T&T"
Schools entering the Festival are required to pick one of the themes and use it to develop a five minute film feature.
The themes are a critical component of the Festival as they are used to encourage the production of TT-centric pieces that reflect national pride. Apart from the fact the richness of local culture is itself great inspiration for film features, the TTFC also uses these themes to instil greater awareness and appreciation for local culture into the young filmmakers. The themes, however, do not emanate solely from the TTFC, but are developed in consultation with the student filmmakers who are invited each year to submit ideas on the topics they would like to explore. In this way, the TTFC can be sure that the final choice of themes will resonate with the students and truly inspire their creativity.
“We view the SSSFF as a valuable training ground for young people,” stated Christopher Laird, TTFC Chairman. “We see it as an opportunity to educate and encourage them to view film as more than just an avenue for entertainment or a fun hobby but as a viable career option. The SSSFF provides them that window into one of the most exciting careers in the world.”
“In addition, technology and social media have made it so much easier to be innovative,” Mr. Laird continued. “Many young people have phones with video capabilities and websites such as YouTube are readily available for anyone to upload their creations. Because of this, filmmaking has become so much more accessible and a career in film no longer has to be a dream.”
The Festival which was pioneered by Movie Towne in 2004 has gained in popularity and participation by schools over the years and has become a highly anticipated event on the extra-curricular calendar. Last year there were 33 entries, up from 24 the year before. “We hope to have a record number of entries this year,” stated Carla Foderingham, CEO of TTFC. “Each year we receive entries for the Festival that demonstrate just how talented and creative our young people are – and some, we are happy to say, have even gone on to study film at the tertiary level. It inspires my confidence that the TT film industry has a bright and promising future.”
“We must acknowledge that this Festival is truly a team effort and the TTFC cannot do it alone,” Carla Foderingham continued. “The success of the Festival would not be possible without the assistance of parents who encourage the students; the teachers who work facilitate these competitions despite an already packed academic calendar; the film practitioners who generously offer their time expertise to mentor and train each team and the corporate sponsors whose gifts make it possible to provide schools with the resources necessary to expose countless generations of students to the world of filmmaking.”
During the event, invited guests had the opportunity to view the winning film from 2011 by Holy Name Convent and a testament to lessons learned and expressions of thanks were given by Ms. Tia Serao (Holy Name Convent, POS – Best Overall Film), Mr. Chryston Floyd (Presentation College, San Fernando – Best Actor) and Mr. Kyle Walcott (former student participant and now practicing filmmakers, Tobago).
For more information about the Secondary Schools Short Film Festival, please visit the TTFC’s website at www.trinidadandtobagofilm.com or call the TTFC at 625-FILM.