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September 26, 2008

TTFF at SFC III

Screenshot from Paradise Omeros.

Isaac Julien isn’t your ordinary filmmaker; his films are not your ordinary films. If you come to an Isaac Julien film looking for conventional story, plot, action and characterisation, you will undoubtedly be frustrated. If, however, you engage an Isaac Julien film as an artistic experience – in much the same way you would experience a painting or other work of visual art – and in particular, if you experience it in the multi-screen installation form that many of his films take, you may find the experience much more rewarding.

Screenshot from Fantôme Afrique.

Last Thursday evening at the StudioFilmClub, a large crowd turned out as the second of two evenings of screenings of Isaac Julien’s films took place, as part of the Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival. (The first was dedicated to a screening of Derek, Julien’s feature-length biopic of the late Derek Jarman.) This second evening was dedicated to a selection of Julien’s shorter works – Paradise Omeros, True North, Fantôme Afrique, Western Union: Small Boats, and Baltimore. They were shown in single screen format, not their original multi-screen versions; they were also screened one right after the other, giving the viewer less than ideal amount of time to properly digest what she or he had just seen (but how much time is ideal, anyway?).

Screenshot from True North.

Yet the five films almost all had overlapping themes and concerns – journeys and travellers, the plight of the migrant – and a number of them had at least one recurring character, giving them a palpable thread. They were also undeniably beautiful to watch: some of the images are still replaying themselves in my head over a day later. What all these images add up to, however, is something that cannot be said from a solitary viewing. Isaac Julien makes films, but he also makes art, and like the best art, they need to be experienced and re-experienced to be fully appreciated.

Isaac Julien.

Che Lovelace and Peter Doig, founders of StudioFilmClub.

Emilie Upczak, Associate Director of the TTFF, and Marina Salandy-Brown, Executive Director of the TTFF.

Sterling Henderson, journalist, and filmmaker Edmund Attong.

Artist Tessa Alexander.

Artist Dean Arlen makes a comment during the post-screening Q&A.;

Artist Mario Lewis.

Christopher Mendes, owner of the Reader’s Bookshop.

Isaac Julien and Judy Raymond, editor of the magazine Caribbean Beat.






 
ttff entries:
 

 
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Film in Focus: Noka: Keeper of Worlds

Shaun Escayg is a Trinidadian writer and director based in Los Angeles. In 2012 his debut short film, Fish (ttff/12), won several international awards. Noka: The Keeper of Worlds (2014) is his latest short film. In preparing fo...
by Jonathan
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Film in Focus: Difret

Last night, the ttff/14 had its first screening of the Ethiopian film Difret, as part of its Panorama offerings, films that connect our country to our heritage countries via history and humanity. The film is based on the true s...
by Jonathan
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Films in Focus: Cubes and A Story About Wendy 2

My ttff14 experience began with laughter! The local short film Cubes, directed by Ryan Lee, was ten minutes of hilarity. It focuses on a character named Sean who is having his first day of work at a new office. His co-workers s...
by Jonathan
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Filmmakers in Focus: Natalia Cabral and Oriol Estrada

You and Me is a documentary that explores the very interesting socio-cultural landscape of the Dominican Republic through the relationship between a woman and her help. The woman, known in the film only as the Mrs, is a widow, ...
by Jonathan
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T&T Film company to host workshops at ttff/14

The Trinidad and Tobago Film Company, a supporting sponsor of the ttff, is hosting several filmmaking workshops at the Festival, on Friday 19 and Saturday 20 September. Check out the details below. Friday 19 September Hyatt Reg...
by Jonathan
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