Horace Ové was recently conferred the distinguished honour of a T&T Film Pioneer by the trinidad+tobago festival. This is one of the numerous accolades awarded to the prolific Belmont-born film director, producer, screenwriter, painter and photographer over the past 40 years. Among the major awards for his work as filmmaker and artist is the Paul Hamlyn Award, a National Decoration The Scarlet Ibis Medal from the Government of Trinidad and Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2007.
Ové holds the Guinness World Record for being the first Black British filmmaker to direct a feature-length film, Pressure (1975). His extensive filmography includes over 20 fiction feature films, documentaries and productions for British TV. His exposés and explorations on racism and the Black Power Movement in Britain have earned him the reputation of a “prolific and sometimes controversial filmmaker.” Cuban film scholar Luis Alberto Notario credits him as “one of the most prolific Caribbean directors, who has given visibility through his films to the most distinctive elements of African-Caribbean identity and the various dynamics faced by the elements that make up the West Indian diaspora”.
Two of Ové’s pioneering films will be showcased in this year’s trinidad+tobago film festival. Pressure, Ové’s groundbreaking 1975 feature film tells the story of a Caribbean diasporic family in which three generations face, in different ways, the experience of racism and social exclusion and show diverse variables of integration in London society. The focal point of the story is Tony, a young man born in London, the son of an immigrant couple from Trinidad and Tobago who are part of the so-called Windrush Generation. According to Notario, “Every character in Pressure is a construct summarizing different values, cultural practices and ideological stances that characterize the complex structure of diverse and changing individuals who interact, within the diasporic context, with other peripheral groups and with London’s society.” The film was inducted into the British Film Institute (BFI) 100 Years of Cinema and has become a model for emerging filmmakers working in neorealism. In an interview with Joseanne Leonard in 2007, Ové explained that “I’ve always made films to help society see itself and in that process hope that people can work things out by relating what they’ve seen to their own personal lives or the society around them”.
Pressure will be screened on Mon 24 Sept, 1.30pm at the UWI, Centre for Language Learning (free admission); and on Sat 29 Sept, 3.00pm at The Little Carib Theatre. Ové will be present at both screenings for Q&A sessions after the films.
Reggae, (1970) is recognized as the first independent documentary on Black Music in Britain. The film, narrated by Jamaican writer Andrew Salkey, documents a major Reggae concert celebrated at Wembley Stadium, and illustrates the social and political discourses behind the Reggae music. The film was screened in UK and worldwide, achieving great recognition.
Ové will again be present for a Q&A session for a special screening of Reggae on Saturday 22 Sept, 3.00pm at UTT/APA. Reggae will be shown with Breaking Barriers, Ricky Manmohan’s tribute to Mungal Patasar.
There will also be a ‘musical interlude’ performed by the UTT Music Department at this screening.
The Old Yard: Carnival Portraits from Trinidad
Written specifically for the ten-piece ensemble of the faculty musicians at the Academy for the Performing Arts, this piece is a response to the traditional carnival characters of Trinidad. The personalities of the Carnival Bat, Blue Devil, Midnight Robber, Moko Jumbie and Dame Lorraine are represented through music by Adam Walters, poetry by Muhammad Muwakil and photography by Maria Nunes. The Old Yard is a unique and engrossing concert piece that received great critical praise after its preiere at the Bocas Literary Festival in May 2012.
Admission to this screening is Free.
Special thanks to Luis Alberto Notario for additional information.