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trinidad + tobago film festival

trinidad + tobago film festival

Unknown ObjectI am honored to be invited to serve on a trade panel and to give a presentation on the world cinema circuit at the upcoming trinidad + tobego film festival, September 19 to October 2.  With 120 films from 30 countries  Shadow and Act has covered this pretty well.  t+tff’s full line-up is here.

The industry panels range from New Caribbean Cinema: Guerilla Filmmaking, ACGPAG + Guadeloupe Presentation, Canadian High Commission Reception (Canada is being honored for some of the most touching,thought-provoking and well regarded Canadian films of 2011 and 2012, including Incendies and Monsieur Lazhar),  Marketing and Distribution in the Global Marketplace, AND a bus tour of its two islands Trinidad and Tobago (or of one, I’m not sure).

We all know of Calypso, made famous in the states by Harry Belafonte.  The steel drum, chutney and limbo also came from Trinidad, but what else do we know about this island country in the southern Caribbean, just of the coast of Venezuela, south of Granada in the Lesser Antilles, sharing maritime boundaries with other nations including Barbados to the northeast and Guyana to the southeast and Venezuela to the south and west and lying just outside the hurricane belt?  It is one of the wealthiest countries in the Caribbean due to its petroleum, most of which goes to the U.S. 


Wikipedia says: The island of Trinidad was a Spanish colony from the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1498 to the capitulation of the Spanish Governor, Don José Maria Chacón, on the arrival of a British fleet of 18 warships on 18 February 1797. During the same period, the island of Tobago changed hands between Spanish, British, French, Dutch and Courlander colonizers. Trinidad and Tobago was ceded to Britain in 1802 under the Treaty of Amiens. The country obtained independence in 1962, becoming a republic in 1976. Unlike most of the English-speaking Caribbean, Trinidad and Tobago's economy is primarily industrial, with an emphasis on petroleum and petrochemicals.

The inhabitants in 1797 consisted of people of mixed race, Spaniards, Africans, French republican soldiers, retired pirates and French nobility. The total population of Trinidad in 1797 was 17,718, of which 2,151 were of European ancestry, 4,476 were "free blacks and people of color", 10,009 were slaves and 1,082 Amerindians.

In 1797, the British General Sir Ralph Abercromby and his squadron sailed through the Bocas and anchored off the coast of Chaguaramas. The Spanish Governor Chacon decided to capitulate without fighting. Trinidad became a British crown colony, with a French-speaking population and Spanish laws. The conquest and formal ceding of Trinidad in 1802 led to an influx of settlers from England or the British colonies of the Eastern Caribbean.

Trinidad and Tobago gained its independence from the United Kingdom in 1962. Eric Williams, a noted Caribbean historian, widely regarded as "The Father of The Nation," was the first Prime Minister; he served from 1956, before independence, until his death in 1981.

Trinidad and Tobago is a republic with a two-party system and a bicameral parliamentary system based on the Westminster System. The head of state of Trinidad and Tobago is the President, currently George Maxwell Richards. The head of government is the Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, the first female prime minister of the country. The President is elected by an Electoral College consisting of the full membership of both houses of Parliament. The Prime Minister is elected from the results of a general election which takes place every five years.

It is said to be one of the most relaxed and friendly all the Caribbean nations with a wonderful unique population.  Lucky me!!

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