As we’ve noted previously, representatives of the ttff regularly attend other film festivals, both in the region and internationally, for a number of reasons. These include securing films to screen at our festival, meeting film professionals who could serve as facilitators for workshops and industry events at the ttff, and accessing funding, distribution and other opportunities for Caribbean filmmakers. Attending festivals in the region—including the Havana festival, the Bahamas festival and Femi in Guadeloupe—also serves to help bring the various territories in the Caribbean together, so we can share experiences and see how best we can work together to build the regional film industry and take Caribbean cinema to the world.
When it was announced that a new film festival would be starting in Curaçao, we were therefore excited to be a part of this initiative. Founded by the International Film Festival of Rotterdam (IFFR), one of the top film festivals in the world, the inaugural Curaçao International Film Festival of Rotterdam took place from March 29 to April 1. The ttff’s Creative Director, Emilie Upczak, was our representative.
In addition to showing a programme of Caribbean-themed films (including the regional premiere of the new Bob Marley documentary) as well as international selections, the Curaçao IFFR also included a number of events centered around the development of the Caribbean film industry. The main event was a round-table discussion, which posed such questions as:
• How can the development of regional film talent be nurtured and encouraged?
• In what ways can film institutions in the region work together?
• Define the region—should the Caribbean include Central America?
Before the round-table discussion, Emilie was able to have discussions with Curaçao IFFR’s director, Rutger Wolfson; Janneke Staarink, Managing Director of IFFR; and Iwana Chronis, director of the Hubert Bals Fund, an arm of the IFFR which gives financial assistance to feature films by filmmakers from the developing world. She also met with a number of regional filmmakers and other film industry professionals, including Wallie Polle of Dutch film distributors Cinéart.
Although Curaçao IFFR was only founded this year, it is already of major strategic importance to the region, and could very likely become a meaningful space for Caribbean filmmakers to access funds, training, networks and distribution opportunities. Equally, the ttff is recognised by Curaçao IFFR as a collaborative and proactive organisation working in the region. We look forward to reporting on developments with Curaçao IFFR as they happen.