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Updated: 2 hours 16 min ago

Rampersad short story wins at Swiss Global contest

Tue, 07/10/2018 - 01:18

Munnie’s Multicultural Musical Masquerade, a children’s short story by heritage educator Dr Kris Rampersad has been adjudged a winner “for its wit and musical undertones” in the international Bubo Short Story Contest, Your World, Our Music.

The story was written for and is one of the favourite stories of her nephew, ace achiever in the national Secondary School Entrance Assessments (SEA), Saiesh Rampersad since an infant, Dr Rampersad said.

She explained that Saiesh has been an avid story lover and reader from his earliest years and demanded she write stories for him. Saiesh tabled a perfect score of 100 per cent in the SEA which results were announced last week.

Apart from literary and cultural advocacy, Dr Rampersad has been writing stories for Saiesh since he was a toddler, and is engaged in writings and other interactive stimulating actions aimed at enhancing the knowledge sector, revising approaches to formal education including the SEA system, enticing children and youth into reading and creative activity as well as elderly appreciation, understanding culture and heritage.

She received notice of her win in the Bubo Short Story Contest: Your World, Our Music, last month, from Bubo Technologies, a Swiss-based organisation of reading enthusiasts who “believe in the power of music to tell stories, with first-of-its-kind technology to bring e-books and music together to make reading a more immersive and personal experience.”

The congratulatory note to Dr Rampersad stated: “At Bubo Technologies, we are glad to inform you that ‘Munnie’s Multicultural Musical Masquerade’ is one of the winners of our short story contest. We loved the wit and musical undertones of your text and we cannot wait to start working on its publication.

“We received hundreds of entries from all over the world that we needed to analyse from both a literary and musical perspective while working on our technology...and we are happy to have read some amazing stories like yours.”

Said Dr Rampersad: “The Munnie story is part of several substantive fiction and nonfiction works—yet unpublished because of resource limitations— that have been shelved with my many undertakings, including tirelessly trying to expand global access to literary and cultural spaces over the years.

“I am now hoping to release these and am reaching out for partnerships for the volume of material that include solid and insightful research, writings and multimedia videos aimed at engaging interests in culturallysound and relevant material with which both children and adults can identify ranging in global to local interests.

“I saw the Bubo contest and felt, as with LiTTscapes, it would fit my goals to adapt traditional story forms to make them more accessible through new technologies and into modern interactive formats with other creative expressions.

“But we are guarded that the IP and its added values are maximised for the local sector.

“Like, Saiesh on hearing about his SEA perfect scores, I was ‘elated’ to hear of winning the Bubo contest. This also coincides with my vision to make literature more attractive and accessible along with our ongoing interactive activities as LiTTours and LiTTributes that are customised to any occasion or celebration of families, groups and corporations by request.

“I believe this is important to redirect the negative energies of our crime-ridden society to one that reaches for more lofty achievements, like Saiesh’s.”

Saiesh identified Munnie, about a Carnival Butterfly written by “Auntie Krissy Wissy” as one of his favourite stories when he introduced Dr Rampersad at the launch of LiTTscapes—Landscapes of Fiction that took place at White Hall as part of the national jubilee anniversary of Independence. Then only five years old, Saiesh read three pages of rib-tickling anecdotes entitled My Aunty Krissy.

He cheekily told of how his aunty took him for his first library card, and of how he could not find good local story books, teasing the audience about his reading prowess.

“Auntie took me to the library in Port-of-Spain for the first time,” said Saiesh as a younger child in 2012. “I was only three years old and could not read then. Auntie promised to write stories for me that will make sense. Now she writes stories for me about Munnie, a Carnival butterfly. She writes about the birds of Phagwa, and the flags of Hosay. I am now a big boy, five years old, and I could read, ent?

“I told my auntie she should make a book with the stories to share with my friends.

“She is writing some special stories for me about all the places she visits to share with my friends…One day I will write stories too. One day I will write a book, like my auntie, and she will be here telling you all about how she helped me learn to read and write,” Saiesh said at the launch of LiTTscapes.

Fast forward to 2018, Dr Rampersad said on the weekend: “Saiesh is, of course, very happy.

In addition to having a Math brain, he has always been very good in creative writing. He is really an allrounder and wants to be a doctor.

“Saiesh was naturally born with talent. Through the years, I have always tried to develop these gifts. My brother, Ramchand, and his wife Radha always read to him from a very early age.

“At the moment, because he has always been a shy child, he is familiarising himself with being thrust into the spotlight.

“Saiesh also plays the piano and tabla, did karate until he suffered an injury to his shoulder and is spiritually grounded as he is also very active in the temple.

He really is well rounded.”

n For more visit Kris Rampersad and find LiTTscapes on social media or email [email protected]. com and ask about LiTTours and LiTTRbiutes customised to the needs of your interests, organisations or industry.

—Reporting by PETER RAY BLOOD [email protected]

Categories: Entertainment News

Princes Town celebrates new Rotary president, honours community leaders

Sun, 07/08/2018 - 23:03

The Rotary Club of Princes Town held its 25th Presidential Handover Ceremony on June 29 at the San Fernando District Scout Headquarters, on Lady Hailes Avenue. Outgoing President, Bashir Mohammed reviewed “a fantastic year,” focusing on the work of Rotary including assisting flood victims in the Williamsville, Barrackpore areas, providing medical outreach programmes, a peace rally to mark the observance of world peace day, planting over 150 trees at the Yolande Pompey Ground in commemoration of world environment day and awarding 12 scholarships to financially challenged tertiary students.

The ceremony was well attended by the Club’s Rotarians, partners in service, children of Rotary and fellow Rotarians from the Maraval, Port of Spain, San Juan, Penal, Pointe-a-Pierre and San Fernando South clubs who all shared in the continued celebrations of the Club’s silver anniversary.

Mohammed recognised individuals who made meaningful contributions during his year of presidency to the Club’s many successful DEANEendeavours and outreach programmes in the local community.

Recognition was given to Councillor Vashti Sookhoo for coordinating the Club’s first walking medical, Chairman of Princes Town Regional Corporation Gowrie Roopnarine for his support of the Club’s activities in Princes Town and planting of 150 trees, Shameed Rahim for his assistance with the Union community of Rio Claro, and Amelia Ayoung of St Stephen’s college for her support with the chartering of the Interact Club of St Stephen’s College.

The Club also inducted Rishi Ragoonath, senior photographer at Guardian Media Ltd., as an Honorary Rotarian of the Club, recognising his achievements through photography and his willingness to give back by volunteering his skills to different charitable organisations.

The Paul Harris Fellow award recognises individuals who demonstrate in their life and vocation a commitment to helping individuals in need and contribute, or who have contributions made in their name of USD$1,000 to The Rotary Foundation. This year awards were presented to Rishi Ramlogan, Andy Deonarine and Narisha Mohammed at the ceremony and Atlantic in absentia.

The mantle of leadership was passed to new President Crystal Ann Harper, a young and vibrant Attorney-at-Law of the law firm Hobsons, who holds both a Doctor of Jurisprudence and Legal Education Certificate. In her inspiring acceptance speech Incoming President Crystal Ann Harper focused on her plans to continue with the Club’s signature projects which are in tandem with Rotary International’s theme for 2018/2019 “Be The Inspiration.”

This rotary year, the Club aims to focus on membership development and public image with emphasis on increased social media coverage.

The celebration featured live entertainment by singer Chloe Bishop and violinist Nigel Marcano and was chaired by one of the Club’s chartered members, Jamir Ousman.

Rotary International has 1.2 million members worldwide and the Rotary Foundation has donated over 300 billion (US) dollars worldwide in its 100 years of existence to efforts in improving the lives of deserving persons in their local community.

Categories: Entertainment News

Tabaquite Presbyterian students told to ‘never quit’

Sun, 07/08/2018 - 22:59

Elation was clearly etched on the faces of 24 students of the Tabaquite Presbyterian School who graduated on June 28. Giving the feature address at the primary school’s ceremony was inspirational speaker, inspirational speaker and author Don La Foucade who captured the full attention of the students, parents and teachers.

In keeping with the theme ‘Define Yourself’, La Foucade told the students that they “never get a second chance to make a first impression.” He gave them a dose of reality as he talked to them about what to expect when they get to secondary school but he reminded them to never give up. He said, “Just as in the word ‘Tabaquite’ there is the word ‘quit’, there is also an ‘e’ which means ‘everything awaits you’ so never quit.”

While La Foucade noted that not enough fathers attended the graduation ceremony, he congratulated the parents who were present reminding them that they should continue to tell their children how much they love and believe in them. He advised the proud parents that “no child present (at the function) should be on social media.”

La Foucade concluded by letting the students know that although they may not be attending their “first choice” school in September, be reminded that it is “God’s choice” for them.

Categories: Entertainment News

Ministry makes music students dream Big Dreams

Sun, 07/08/2018 - 22:57

The Ministry of Community Development Culture and the Arts’ Music Schools in the Community programme kicks off tomorrow, Tuesday, and runs for five weeks. This initiative, which provides formal musical training to students across Trinidad, is open to individuals of all ages with intermediate knowledge level of music and takes place at five locations in Trinidad.

In the north, the programme will be at Desperadoes Youth Orchestra, Port-of-Spain in steelpan; SWAHA Hindu College Sangre Grande in the tabla and harmonium; and Pan Jammers, Upper Santa Cruz in steelpan, woodwind and brass instruments. And, in the south, Siparia Deltones, will focus on steelpan, while at Golden Hands, San Fernando, the programme includes steelpan, woodwind and brass instruments.

The music schools in the community programme, first titled Music Schools in the Panyard, was launched in June 2012 in five panyards. However in 2013, the programme was re-branded Music Schools in the Community and extended to other community spaces. Since its launch, over 1,700 students have participated in the programme which has as its focus on music literacy and instrument performance. Students are also given the opportunity to participate in the Royal School of Music Theory examinations. In 2017, of the 24 students sponsored to write the Grade 1 Examination, 23 passed, with 19 obtaining Distinctions.

In 2017, to culminate the programme and to demonstrate the extraordinary talent of these students the Dream Big concert was held at the National Academy for the Performing Arts (Napa). Dream Big brought together all the students, from as young four to those who have retired and always wanted to learn an instrument; they all fulfilled their dreams on the prestigious Napa stage. Each school showcased individual pieces and with the final performance of the night as a joint orchestra under the direction of Akua Leith, musical director of the National Steel Symphony Orchestra (NSSO). Dream Big 2017 was an outstanding success.

In 2018, the programme, focuses on students 12 to 18 years and has been re-designed to include a scholarship programme which gives students an opportunity to further develop their skills in a community based music school, an internship programme with the NSSO and the National Philharmonic Orchestra (NPO) and a capacity-building programme aimed at developing the management capability of cultural and artistic community organizations and individuals.

Music Schools in the Community is focused on teaching, developing and enhancing instrument performance skills, theoretical knowledge and character development training while providing opportunities for participants to increase their personal, socially-useful and even commercially viable talent. The goal is to discover and develop the nascent talent that exists in communities and provide opportunities to make their talents sustainable.

For further information on the camps please visit cdca.gov.tt, Facebook or call 225-4024 ext.4004

Categories: Entertainment News

‘Big Red Trini’ says own up

Sun, 07/08/2018 - 00:58

So many things happen to disrupt emotional health and create sadness, anxiety, and stress. One of the most powerful coping mechanisms is gratitude, focusing even at the worst of times on those things that you can still be thankful for. “When we are appreciative, we are filled with a sense of well-being and swept up with a feeling of joy.” MJ Ryan.

“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation of all abundance.” Eckhard Tolle.

Well-being encompasses all of our parts, not just the physical body. It is important to create balance by actively nurturing the whole person, body, mind, and spirit. Practice forgiveness, learn to love yourself but remain humble. Remember that your mind is the most powerful tool you have available to create the greatest version of your life and your highest level of health.

Roger Brumant, featured today, recognized the tremendous power of the mind for change and change took him to incredible weight loss and wellness. He is indeed proof that nothing is impossible.

“The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a person’s determination.” Tommy Lesarda.

“The only thing greater than the power of the mind is the courage of the heart.” John Nash. Judy Alcantara BA English Honours/Spanish CIAR Cert [Cooper’s institute of Aerobic Research] Email: [email protected] Facebook: www.facebbok.com/ TheFitnessRevolutionTT

My name is Roger Brumant and I am one of the unit managers at Guardian Life of the Caribbean Limited located at 1 Woodbrook Place, St James. As long as I can remember, I have always been overweight. Coming from a humble beginning, we never had much, and I had to eat what was available, mostly bread and carbs. My mother and grandmother were never far from the kitchen, and I often heard them use the old phrase “better a man belly buss than good food go to waste,” so, whatever was placed on the table, I ate.

Although I was heavy, my mind played tricks on me when I looked in the mirror. It always told me that I wasn’t a big guy, so, I should enjoy eating. I ultimately moved up from size large to extra-large, then quickly up to five extra-large. I then had to import even larger sizes from outside of our country. When I looked in the mirror, I was still a ‘hottie.’ I nicknamed myself ‘Big Red Trini’ and in my eyes I had it going on. In my mind when I looked in the mirror I was not in too bad a shape, I was good to go.

However, one day, while looking in the mirror I caught sight of what I call “the ring of death.” It is a layer of fat under the neck of obese people. I thought to myself, “Lord Father!

I have the ring of death.” I still did not take stock of myself. Even when I broke a plastic chair that I sat on, in my eyes, I was still the “Big Red Trini”… a hottie…still in the game. “You have it,” I told myself, although I weighed 438 pounds. The mind is a powerful tool, it can make you believe things that may not actually exist, I continued in denial, a little exercise here and there, but made no serious attempt to change my lifestyle.

My turning point came when I went to Orlando, Florida, with my son. We were at Universal Studios going to ride the Hulk, a thrill roller coaster ride. My first issue was getting into the seat. It was a challenge at first, but I conquered it; then I had to buckle my seatbelt. I tried and tried, and no matter what I did, I could not buckle my belt. I looked at my son and what I saw in his face brought a stark reality home to me, he was disappointed. Sadness and disappointment on my son’s face was not something that I was prepared for and I had caused it. I was devastated! This was it. I had enough. How much more did my family miss out on because of my weight. At that moment, I quietly prayed to God, telling him what he already knew, I was not doing the right thing and needed a second chance to be a better example to my family. I needed to live a different lifestyle. Never give up Thus, on August of 2014 my journey began. I decided to let mind and body work together to achieve my goal of being physically and mentally healthy. As a logical man I asked myself, “How did I get here?”

I recognized the power of my mind.

The body responds to what the mind tells it to do. I began to gradually eat less, and enjoyed a final Christmas of indulgence.

On February 10,2015, my journey to weight loss and wellness began. I  did some research to try to understand what was ahead of me and the challenges that I would face. I looked at am countless number of videos and television programmes on weight loss, what caused it and how to overcome the issues that caused the weight gain. The road has not been easy. There were many times where I stopped then started again. I shed many tears along the way as sometimes, frustration got the better of me.

However, I still had my goal and I was determined to achieve it. My mantra became, ‘it is not how you start, but where and how you finish.’ The major thing was to NEVER GIVE UP ON MYSELF and to remember that a journey begins with the first step. Taking the first step can assist in determining if you will succeed or fail at your goal.

Obesity is a disease and accepting that I suffered with this condition, was my first step in my weight loss journey. I followed a few steps in my weight loss journey.

STEP 1. I diagnosed my problem, I was overweight and made a plan of recovery.

STEP 2. I admitted to myself that I had to give up certain types of foods that I enjoyed and sought the help of my family in making this possible.

STEP 3. I created a support group—family, staff, friends. I had reached the emotional saturation point, my body was my prison and it was time to get out.

Take ownership of your problem As my journey to weight loss started, I realized that I needed divine intervention to get this done. Extraordinary things require extraordinary power, therefore I asked God for strength, wisdom, and determination.

At the start, the old bad eating habits tempted me, as I passed the familiar and beloved roti and doubles stops and had to dig deep to keep walking or driving and to not look back. It was not easy as those were my favourite foods.

The struggle was real, however, I persevered on my journey.

Today I weigh 215 pounds.

I train every day, I ride, do spin, aerobics, and take part in 5ks. I am currently learning the art of swimming.

I have been taking lessons and have been ably coached by Karen Araujo at the Flying Fish Swimming Club and getting tips from my son who is now a parttime instructor at the Eastern School of Life Saving.

These two people, along with XO MultiSport Club, and Peter Griffith, my personal trainer, have worked with me. This help has allowed me to successfully complete the recently concluded Rainbow Cup in Tobago in June this year.

When you take ownership of your problem, when you stop making excuses, then, and only then can change begin.

My journey continues and I want to share with those who want to follow my path, what I call the DOME Formula: D-Do accept that you have a problem.

O-Set your Objective. You need to be specific if it is to be healthy, continuous and long term. It must be a lifestyle change, not just about weight loss. M- Method. What exactly are you going to do? Work with a personal trainer or dietician for example?

E- Evaluate. Constantly take stock. Did I eat as I should have? Did I exercise? This will help you to be accountable.

Because I know that eating is often emotional, I define choice as the continuous overriding of the intuition to choose based on emotion.

Today I want to thank God for giving me a second chance along with Peter Griffith of Climarc Fitness and Nutrition Centre, my personal trainer who stuck with me throughout and is still here. I want to thank my wife and children, Judith, Isaiah, and Jodelle, whose support is invaluable. My team at Guardian Life and in particular Jeffrey Ward and Nicole Blake, who held on for me when I had to focus on losing the weight.

Thanks also to my WhatsApp support group, who always had an encouraging word for me.

To those who were not part of my core group but still gave support, thank you.

Categories: Entertainment News

Temple in the Sea... A wonder of the world

Sat, 07/07/2018 - 00:50

This is the fourth installment on architectural delights, captured by photographer Edison Boodoosingh.

A living testament to the religious belief and perseverance of one man, the Temple in the Sea, located at Waterloo in Carapichaima, was first built in 1947 by indentured labourer Sewdass Sadhu. It was destroyed five years later as it was constructed at MacMillan Park, on private land owned by Tate and Lyle Ltd, a leading sugar cane company.

When the corporate entity became aware that the land was being used in 1952, they demanded that Sadhu remove the structure. When he refused, it was demolished by court order and Sadhu was fined $500 and imprisoned for 14 days for trespassing. This did not stop him from rebuilding the temple that same year, this time 500 feet into the sea in the Gulf of Paria on reclaimed land.

For the next 25 years, Sadhu dedicated himself to completing the temple. On his bicycle and in a leather bag, he carried stone by stone, assembling the base of the temple.

The temple stood for many years, enjoyed by many before Sadhu’s death in 1970. It sadly became neglected after his death and was reclaimed by the sea after years of erosion, which upset both Hindus and non-Hindus alike.

In 1994, local businessmen rallied together to have the temple built for a third time and, in conjunction with the government, the temple that still stands today began construction in 1994.

Upon completion in 1995 it was consecrated as the Sewdass Sadhu Shiv Mandir with a new pier allowing persons to have access during high tide and a statue of Sewdass Sadhu, proudly standing on the shore. (buzztt.com)

Categories: Entertainment News

Arts in Action offers two vacation camps

Sat, 07/07/2018 - 00:48

Theatre group Arts in Action’s (AiA) 2018 vacation programme features two camps for participants from ages five to 18 and 18 years and over. The first, AiA’s 27th annual Discovery Camp, features a Children’s Theatre Production entitled, Jumbie Birds at the end of the July cycle, while the other is the group’s Technical Theatre Arts programme entitled, Discovery by Design 2018.

Artistic director Patrice Briggs said this is the first year that the end of cycle dramatic production has been opened to the public, rather than just family and friends. “The tradition of Arts-in-Action’s Children’s Discovery Camp has always been one where the engagement in the arts disciplines is what the children are exposed to while working towards some sort of presentation or artistic product/display of their process over the time period that we journey/discover with them.

“Reflecting on and witnessing how, over the years, this end product is growing each year in terms of theatrical design, quality and impact, we felt the work is ready to move to the next level.

This means to share the children’s creativity with the wider community, as the engagement with the wider community is the real forum that the work needs to reach.”

She said since the Discovery Camp is an arts-based camp, the children will be engaged in activities such as dance, drama, music and art. “They will also be part of a theatre production process as they work with the tutors in building the children’s theatre. Discovery Camp is also the place where children get to learn about themselves while interacting, playing and learning with other young people while engaging in the various art forms. So the skills are diverse as they are developmental, artistic and educational all at the same time.”

Briggs said the Technical Theatre Arts programme is open to theatre arts students, drama, church and Best Village groups, consisting of adults between the ages of 18 to 65 years, who want to learn the fundamentals of lighting, sound, set design and arts business essentials. “The Discovery by Design participants also work towards becoming the technical team for the Children’s Theatre Production. The tutors are comprised of some of the leading professionals in the Theatre Arts industry. Spaces are limited.”

Briggs said while the name of the final production is Jumbie Birds, how the production takes shape will be explored during the camp. “We start with an idea, theme, frame or title and then we discover through a process working with the children how we can put meaning to what we want to create. The term Jumbie Birds is associated with some sort of folklore-like creature that attempts to scare others. But, we are in the process of working how it relates to the issue of Violence against Women and Gender Based Violence, which is the theme/issue that this camp seeks to address.”

Briggs added that AiA is an Advocate against Violence against Women and Gender Based Violence with UN Women and it is for this reason that the group, “continues to look for opportunities through our work to address this issue which seems to be highly prevalent within our society today.”

She added: “We continue to witness the high level of violent crimes against women in Trinidad and how this vicious cycle is negatively impacting upon our young girls and boys. So it’s only fitting that we decided to deal with such as an issue in our Discovery Camp 2018. AiA recognises the indispensable role that the arts has to play in the development, empowerment, social, organisational and attitudinal change.

“Therefore in order to fulfill this philosophy we seek to address this social issue through this children’s theatre production. Through our local adaptation of stories, use of traditional forms such as Kalinda, traditional folklore and Caribbean folks songs we will explore how our young boys and girls can be empowered in dealing with violence against women.”

The Technical Theatre Arts programme runs from July 9 to August 4 from 5.30 to 8.30 pm and may include some Saturdays as well. The July cycle runs from July 9 to 27 and show dates for Jumbie Birds are July 28 and 29. The August cycle runs from August 6 to 18. For more information contact 289-4242 or 384-9565/9561 or [email protected].

Categories: Entertainment News

Mariama to host garden party, showcase for African fashion

Sat, 07/07/2018 - 00:45

Mariama Children’s Museum & Teen Turf (MCMTT): The Counselling and Activity Centre for Children and Adolescents, will be hosting a fund-raiser on July 21, at the Trinidad Theatre Workshop from 2 pm – 7 pm.

This fund-raiser will be a Garden Party and Showcase for African Fashions.

MCMTT has always seen itself as working at providing solutions for the well-being of children, young people and families in T&T; therefore, the fund-raiser is seeking to provide a number of solutions.

On the weekend, Mariama founder/chairman Anna Maria Mora said: “Many of our nation’s adolescents find themselves making choices which do not help them to live a successful life. Many need psychological and psycho-educational assessments, which will provide their schools and parents with recommendations to assist them to move toward with making choices for their good.

“Historically and presently, the government’s Student Support Service continues to be overwhelmed and young people must wait for as much as six months to one year for an assessment.

Doing these assessments privately is very costly and those who need them, cannot afford the private services.

“Mariama’s mission is to become an agency through which parents can access (in a timely manner) financial assistance for this urgent need and we will assist them to access the services privately.”

Continued Mora: “One of Mariama’s after school care participants, who is now an adult, is due to leave for London to begin a course of study in neuropsychology. This is proving to be very costly. Part proceeds of this fund-raiser will be donated to her fund.”

The July 21 event will also be celebrating Emancipation 2018, and Mariama’s theme, as it joins the national celebration Empowerment to Overcome Today’s Challenges: Fortitude and Readiness. This event will also commemorate 28 years of MCMTT.

For any further information and/or clarification, call 363-7948, 752-7554 or 642-4231.

Categories: Entertainment News

Elixir of Love is a classic

Sat, 07/07/2018 - 00:36

Comedy is not a concept which naturally comes to mind when thinking of opera, but Gaetano Donizetti’s Elixir of Love currently being staged by the Picoplat Classical Music Development Foundation of T&T for Operafest 2018 intertwines the two in a seamless fashion to produce an awe-inspiring performance.

Donizetti’s romantic comedy plays out in 1940’s Trinidad, as Nemorino (Edward Cumberbatch) spends his last 50 cents to buy a magic potion from the snake oil salesman Dulcamara (Krisson Joseph), to win the fickle heart of Adina (Natalia Dopwell) before she marries the dashing army sergeant Belcore (Paul Cort). The play truly comes across as a slice of Trinbagonian life, with “macocious” villagers and a healthy dose of bacchanal, aided by a superb set designed by Daniella Walcott. Audience members alternately laughed at some characters and sighed in sympathy with others.

Edward Cumberbatch’s acting as the lovelorn Nemorino is superb, as is Dopwell in the role of Adina. Belcore, played by Paul Cort, comes across as uncouth and unattractively persistent, but portrays the appeal of a man in uniform with panache. The classically trained singers left the audience stunned as they sang their way through the story. The storyline was simple and easy to follow, even without the thorough description included in the programme.

Krisson Joseph’s Dulcamara inspired an audience member to say he reminded her of Trevor Sayers, as he alternately convinced the gullible villagers to buy his potions while whispering to the audience that they were simpletons for believing his claims that they could cure everything from rabies to measles, make old people young and give riches and stamina to the drinker.

Dramatic director Helmer Hilwig is to be commended as all involved, including the villagers, fully portrayed their roles as though they were living in the moment. The musical direction of June Nathaniel was also evident in the wonderful attention to detail of the production. The performance was not amplified, but patrons at the back and in the balcony of the Little Carib Theatre were able to hear every word sung by the chorus and principal actors. The chorus members, including Anneliese Kelly, Christiana Lemessy, Clarice Beeput, Deborah Aboud, Inex Matouk, Jake Salloum, Kory Mendez, Jason Lawrence, Christian Roberts, Stephan Poon Ying, Marc Morancie and Jodel Latchman, provided a “robust performance,” according to an audience member.

There was another performance of The Elixir of Love last evening, Friday, with a repeat tomorrow, at the Little Carib Theatre, corner White and Roberts Streets, Woodbrook. Last night’s performance also included the Opera Lime, where patrons were encouraged to lime at the opera with their friends who would not normally go to that kind of production.

There is no performance this evening as the singers do not use microphones so need to rest their voices.

Tickets cost $200 and are available at the Little Carib box office. For show times and more information, go to www.ttoperafest.com and find T&T Opera Festival 2018 on Facebook.

Categories: Entertainment News

Boothman breaks away in Newtown

Sat, 07/07/2018 - 00:34

Veteran guitarist and singer Michael Boothman will launch his new album— Break Away—tomorrow evening at Kaiso Blues Cafe, 85 Woodford Street, Newtown, at a concert titled The Man and His Music—Michael Boothman Live.

The popular artiste said listeners will be intrigued by his new music, which breaks away from the easy listening jazz style he is best known for.

Boothman said he’s always wanted to produce his own music, and having opened his studio in the last few years, he now has the opportunity to create more music. The CD is part of a rebranding exercise for the musician.

“I want to do a series of performances, beginning on the eighth, to get myself back out there, as the younger people may not be familiar with who I am.

Many people associate me with cool laid-back jazz music, not remembering that I was one of the catalysts in the evolution of soca music in the 70s.

So ever since that period I have been dreaming of having my own studio.”

Boothman said the album is inspired by the music he would have heard when he began going to watch Carnival with his parents.

“I went back to the days when the brass bands were live and raw in the streets without trucks. I used the music that broke up fights that happened in the fetes long ago. It was like the last song played when two bands clashed to see who would jam more, that was the main piece of music that you could play.

“I was influenced a lot by Ron Berridge. I was fortunate to play bass with South African singer Lauren Clarkson and I was influenced by the African rhythms, and so I have a song called Going South on the album which is African fusion. My keyboardist is Venezuelan so I did a Latin Fusion number called Fuse It Up and the main song of the album is a song called Jiganga, named after the strum of the guitar.”

Boothman said he’s waited to release the album until he had built up a certain amount of songs.

“I usually tell young artists who want to get out there and jump in, you have to have wares on your shelf meaning that you have to have a backlog of music, because if you make a hit and you have nothing to come after that you’ll be a one hit wonder. 

“You always have to have continuity, so fortunately for me I’m a songwriter, so I have tonnes of songs, rhythms and music to share with the world. My next project recording wise is the Kysofusion project which I’ve already started.

I decided to do a Mike Boothman project, which is Break Away, so I have different avenues in putting out the styles of music because you want to build a catalog of songs.”

Boothman said he put the album together with the assistance of longtime friend and producer Howard Lindeman, who has been a colleague since they worked on Boothman’s Heaven album in the 1970s. He also introduced Lindeman to some young musicians, including his son, who he has been mentoring since opening the studio.

Said the six-foot-plus musician: “When he came, those kids saw the difference between what they’re doing and what they call music because a lot of times it’s just digital noise that they put together. In a strong sense they’ve moved away from melody, lyrics and our essence, which is our style of music and our dialect.

“I’m bringing Howard back to do a workshop and we’re in negotiations with UTT before they go off for their vacation.

They have a lot of young people that really want to do it professionally. My whole life is giving back so whoever would listen, they could come by the studio and they are benefiting from being around.”

Boothman said he thinks audiences will appreciate and be proud of the new music, “because it is calypso music, not soca.

I really believe that our music is disrespected and disregarded and everyone is looking to take away the main elements of the music.

“I feel it’s time we pay real respect to our calypso music because calypso music is the mother beat of the Caribbean music, because it is the first recorded music in the world and we take it for granted.

“My input or my vision is to be able to take the music, treat it with respect and put it out there, let people hear it and make it and bring the people to the table.”

More info

The Man and His Music —Michael Boothman Live takes place on July 8 at Kaiso Blues Cafe, Port-of- Spain. It features the band Kysofusion with Boothman Simone Mendoza, Orville Roach, Clint DeCoteau, Johnathan Hensley and Ernesto Garcia.

Contact 682 9705 for more information

Categories: Entertainment News

Dishaana promises to bring home Miss Sari title

Fri, 07/06/2018 - 02:04

Dishaana Sewdass of Princes Town, first runner-up at the 2017 Miss India T&T talent and beauty pageant, is representing our country at the Miss Sari International Pageant being held in Guadeloupe.

Pre-pageant activities commenced on Tuesday and tomorrow evening, Sewdass will compete against delegates from 19 other countries.

T&T has been part of the wonderful learning experience of Miss Sari International for the last eight years.

Every year the pageant gets bigger and better and T&T is always up to the challenge.

A T&T delegate won the coveted crown in 2012 and several have been runners-up.

Before her departure, Sewdass told principals of tthe Miss India T&T Organisation (MITT) this experience was an opportunity of a lifetime for young women like herself to represent their country as an ambassador.

She added that, based on all her hard work and training, she believed that this year she would bring home the crown.

All training and preparation for Sewdass was done by the Miss India T&T Organisation.

Also in Guadeloupe proudly flying the T&T flag with Sewdass and MITT officials is the T&T Dance Company.

A much acclaimed troupe, T&T Dance Company has been a cultural ambassador for T&T on many occasions.

Its dancers travelled to the Republic of China for an International Folk Festival, and have performed in Dubai and India at the Miss India Worldwide Competition.

T&T Dance Company is managed by Mahindra Rampersad and its lead dancer at present is Erica Caton.

Rampersad and Caton are of the firm belief that T&T music and dance is very unique, is world class and that local artistes have a lot to offer the world with our unique dance styles of calypso, Chutney and Chutney Soca.

Cultural icons, calypsonian The Mighty Sparrow and comedian Tommy Joseph have both seen the group perform and both have lauded the group for their impressive performances.

For young women interested in getting the same opportunity as Sewdass has, the Miss India T&T Organisation is commencing its screening sessions for the 2018 pageant very soon.

For more information about the MITT pageant call or whatsapp 757-7552, or follow the organisation on Facebook Miss India Trinidad and Tobago.

Categories: Entertainment News

My mummy, my hero

Thu, 07/05/2018 - 05:46

Over the past 25 years ALTA has had great impact on people around the country who have gone on to gain full-time employment, CSEC passes and self-confidence through the programme.

ALTA also had significant impact on families. By working with parents who are non-readers, the programme has also taught their children to read, write and spell. The column today tells the story of how the programme impacts families. Kernisha Skeete daughter of past ALTA student Jackie Skeete shares her story.

She couldn’t read but for the sake of my education she went back to school. Some say I taught my momma to read but the reality is she taught me. She allowed me to spend my evenings at the library until they had to ask me to leave. My mother went out of her way to ensure I went to school whether we had money or not. My mother taught me the importance of education as she attended ALTA classes at various locations in Arima. I grew up attending ALTA field trips and gaining new aunties and uncles as she progressed through each level, sometimes doing one level multiple times.

As I observed my mother persevere to one day write post primary examinations after completing ALTA’s Level 3, I gained an appreciation for education. She continuously reminded me of the importance of acquiring an education and explained to me how it would impact my life. As a child, I listened, not fully grasping the significance of her words. As she practiced her syllables, vocabulary and spellings, I practiced too. In retrospect, I can say ALTA taught us both. Her cards were my cards, her books were my leisure reading. I love to read and seeing my mother progress from a struggling student to someone who was able to stand before a crowd and read fluently marvelled me. Seeing her progress from spelling words completely different to their actual spelling to minor misspellings touched my life in a way I cannot translate into words.

The tutors of ALTA played a significant role in my mother’s learning as they inspired her with each session: they encouraged, applauded and corrected her as necessary.

When an external issue impacted her learning, they sat and listened patiently to ensure she was able to learn without hindrance.

I would not be where I am had my mother not seen the importance of education. I may not have performed as well as I did in SEA had it not been for our attendance at ALTA classes.

ALTA, like a number of persons and institutions, has contributed to our lives in ways we simply cannot pinpoint because we have gained in almost every area of our lives from what many may consider as just a class.

My mummy, my hero, my role model.

• Kernisha is currently a fourth year medical student. Her mom passed away some years ago. She was a market vendor during the day and an Alta student on evenings. Unfortunately, she didn’t live to see her daughter enroll in medical school.

• Volunteer, donate or sponsor-a-student. Call 621-5708 or email [email protected] for more info. Keep up to date with ALTA on Fbook, Twitter and Instagram: ALTA.

Categories: Entertainment News

Happy birthday, USA

Wed, 07/04/2018 - 00:51

The United States of America observes its 242nd year of Independence today and, to mark the auspicious occasion, chargé d’affaires John W McIntyre added an exotic touch to the celebrations when he hosted a Hawaiian themed reception at O2 Park, Chaguaramas on June 20.

On a night befitting the occasion, its live entertainment programme featured the Shara Sarab Dance Company doing Hula dancing with a dance-along for guests, Malick Folk Performers performing a well-received Limbo dance and the T&T Prison Band moving the crowd with a repertoire of Rock and Roll, R&R rhythms and popular calypsoes to keep the party swinging.

So, why is July 4 USA Independence some may ask? Well, celebrations take place on the fourth of July every year because it was on that date, in 1776, that Congress officially adopted the Declaration of Independence.

Beforehand, a motion for independence was put forward by Richard Henry Lee and was voted upon on July 1, 1776, when 12 of the 13 colonies voted in favour.

The official Declaration of Independence was then drafted by future president Thomas Jefferson.

Categories: Entertainment News

Nothing but the classics

Tue, 07/03/2018 - 01:08

Renaissance Productions Company (RPC) hosted its Nothing But The Classics in Praise & Worship concert, last Friday evening at Queen’s Hall, St Ann’s, and its turned out to be a successful venture.

Since its inception in the mid 80’s, RPC has been staging gospel theatrical productions annually. Driven by a consuming desire to effect change in the presentation of talents especially within the Christian genre, the company pioneered this level of performance within the Evangelical Church movement.

The evening’s presentation which featured dancing, gospel and instrumentals was enhanced by Trinidad-born, American virtuoso pianist, Llewellyn Peter who played a major role in arranging some of the classical pieces.

 

Categories: Entertainment News

Hearts beat together for Marionettes

Tue, 07/03/2018 - 01:05

The Marionettes Chorales’ July 2018 concert series Hearts Beat Together 3 sees the renowned group take a message of love and unity to three churches between July 6 and 8. The concerts will take place at All Saint’s Anglican Church, Marli Street, Newtown on July 6, St Joseph’s Convent, Port-of-Spain on July 7 and St Mary’s Anglican Church Parish Hall, Tacarigua on July 8.

Saying the theme of the third Hearts Beat Together series is unity in a time of global disarray, Musical Director Gretta Taylor said: “With ego and materialism being the order of the day, we must unite in love for a common cause and work together to improve the world. The music weaves this theme throughout in a range of styles including classical, musicals, samba, calypso, gospel, spirituals, and pop and in several different languages including Brazilian Portuguese, Spanish, French, Swahili, Latin, and Trinidadian Creole.”

Taylor said many of the songs speak to the ways people can try to make the world a better place. “The sheer beauty that surrounds us is being destroyed by greed. Through numbers like Life has loveliness to sell and I dream a world, we picture an ideal world and urge people to strive to attain it. Hatred and resentment must be replaced by love and caring.

“Songs like God help the outcasts, Scandalise My Name and Bohemian Rhapsody remind us that we must shield the innocents and the marginalised from resorting to drugs or suicide as a means of escaping the pain of abuse, exploitation and prejudice. We must believe in ourselves, recognise God-given talents and the positives within us, as celebrated in This is Me, Someone in the Crowd, You Gotta Be and This Little Light of Mine.”

Saturday’s concert at St Joseph’s Convent (SJC) also symbolises a return to the roots of the Chorale, which was formed 55 years ago by two SJC teachers, Jocelyn Pierre and June Williams-Thorne, who were looking to start a new choir which was to be the first choir formed in a newly independent T&T. For male choristers, Pierre turned to her counterpart at Fatima College, Father Tim Corcoran, and recruited graduates from his Dominic Savio choir and keen young voices from elsewhere.

In 1995, the Youth Chorale was formed—first as an all-female ensemble, comprising several SJC students who had studied under Gretta Taylor, and then later as a mixed voice choir. Together, the Marionettes Youth Chorale and Children’s Choir, formed in 2012, number nearly 100 singers from over 60 primary, secondary, and tertiary education institutions.

The concerts will feature some of the nation’s top soloists of all ages, including Hermina Charles, SJC alum Jacqueline Johnson, SJC student Dominique Akal, SJC St Joseph student Annalise Emmanuel, and several other first place and Championship winners from the last T&T Music Festival, including Camille Nicholas, Brendon John and Jake Salloum.

Proceeds will go towards the upgrade and restoration works of All Saints Anglican Church and the St Joseph’s Convent, Port-of-Spain, Chapel, and the construction of the Maloney Anglican Church.

BP T&T has sponsored the Marionettes since 1972. Joint Head, BP Group’s CEO’s Office, and former regional president, bpTT, Norm Christie, said, “the Marionettes is an example of enduring commitment and longterm impact. They have become an institution in Trinidad and Tobago by using music as a force for positive change. They reinforce the idea that music can bring together cultures and generations.”

Taylor said the choir is using its God-given talent to deliver the message that things can be turned around. “We can effect change with confidence, relying on spiritual support through faith in the Almighty. We praise God through both music and movement in numbers like Samba de las escrituras, Baba Yetu (Swahili for the Lord’s Prayer), and the Brazilian Salguiero.

“We love our country and we know that all can’t be gloom and doom. Festivity is second nature to us, and so we proclaim our messages through our own national music as well, with a sense of fun.”

Tickets for all shows cost $150.

Categories: Entertainment News

Theatre expert appointed to NCC board

Mon, 07/02/2018 - 01:54

Last Friday, Minister of Community Development, Culture and the Arts, Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly presented a letter of appointment to Davlin Thomas, as Deputy Chairman of the National Carnival Commission (NCC) in a ceremony held at the Ministry’s head office.

Thomas, an Artistic Director, playwright and songwriter, has been involved in cultural productions for many years. He was the Artistic Director for Carifesta IX, as well as the presentation of El Cerro Del Aripo for Dimanche Gras 2010 and he also has first-hand experience in producing carnivals in Leeds in the United Kingdom and Amsterdam.

Minister Gadsby-Dolly congratulated Thomas on his appointment as NCC deputy chairman and noted that his experience will be an asset to the Carnival land scape.

The new Deputy Chairman sees his appointment to the board as an opportunity to be a positive influence in marketing of T&T’s Carnival. He said what he brings to the table is an understanding of how an epic production from the technical and theatrical perspective can benefit the country, region and world.

Categories: Entertainment News

Classical guitar to be showcased tomorrow

Mon, 07/02/2018 - 01:52

Premiered last evening, Prelude – The Cuban Guitar will be repeated on Sunday, July 8, at Trinidad Theatre Workshop, 6 Newbold Street, St Clair.

This one-of-a-kind concert promises interested audiences a glimpse into the finesse and delicacy of guitar music. The concert features Cuban classical guitarist Ricardo Mateo Torres as well as local instrumentalists Keisha Martinez, Rellon Brown and Shurvone Brathwaite.

Concert organiser Alan Cooper said he has a deep fondness for the classical guitar, of which he himself is a practitioner, and he thinks T&T should see more of it. “To me, the guitar music of Venezuela, Brazil and Spain is among the most beautiful in the world,” said Cooper, “and some of that music will be featured in Prelude.

“The concert is simply enjoyable music that is very, very well played. It features selections mainly from Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela and, of course, Cuba, which is central to this show. The music from these countries is rhythmic and syncopated, very much like our own Trinidadian music.

Therefore the public will be able to relate to it well. I think it will also be refreshing to hear new music played on an instrument seldom heard played in T&T in this way.”

Cooper said he met Mateo Torres at the 2018 Biennial Music Festival, where Cooper learned that he is temporarily stationed in T&T as a Christian missionary, working to improve religious music. “I also learned that Mateo Torres graduated with highest honours from the Superior Institute of Art, Havana, and was subsequently the Head of Guitar at the Conservatory in Las Tunas, Cuba, where he founded both philharmonic and guitar orchestras which won national acclaim,” said Cooper.

“Apart from his work as a classical guitarist, he has written and produced more than 15 CDs of inspirational praise and worship music, including songs which were hits in the Latin American diaspora in Ecuador, Miami and Canada. When I heard his music, I thought it was a pity to have someone of his musical experience, training and ability in T&T and not to expose him to the public.”

The three local artistes were chosen for their skill with their particular instruments. Cooper said: “Keisha is an excellent violinist whose skill is matched by her sensitivity as a performer. Mateo Torres selected her as his partner for the pieces because of her innate understanding of the particular pieces. Rellon is one of the most versatile trumpeters on the local stage.

“We wanted an instrument that could wake the audience up a bit, but we also needed a trumpeter who was sensitive and that was Rellon Brown. Rellon has also been to Cuba and feels a keen affinity for the country and its people so we thought he was a good fit for this collaboration.

Clarinetist Shurvone Braithwaite is a promising young musician whom I wanted to include in order to showcase his ability and he will be part of the second night of performance.”

Cooper said he and Mateo Torres wanted to put on a small show that required an audience to listen attentively and with intimacy. He said: “This concert helps to encourage an appetite for the classical guitar.

T&T does have a discerning musical audience that will appreciate the finesse and delicacy of guitar music as well as the skill required to perform it.

“We have had a Classical Guitar Society, the president of which was the late Dr Morgan Job. While the music may be considered ‘classical’, since it arises from Latin America, it easily mixes with and straddles the world of Cuban trova and son, both of which are folk styles in Cuba. There is also some impressionistic music. The Venezuelan music is vals criollo, or creole waltz, which in Trinidad we traditionally call the castellan. The Argentinian music is modern and lyrical but we will also present a popular tango.”

Cooper said a main reason for presenting this concert was wanting to honour the guitar for its part in T&T’s history. “It was perhaps the most important instrument to Trinidad’s pre-1930 history.

It was the instrument of our calypsos; it was essential to our parang; almost all of our folk songs would have featured the guitar.

It is truly an instrument of the people and it deserves to be heard more and to be heard played well. By contrast to Latin America, where the guitar tradition has been preserved, Trinidad seems to have forgotten the noble guitar.

To me, this concert elevates the guitar to its rightful place and remind us Trinidadians of another facet of ourselves.”

Tickets for next Sunday’s show cost $150 and can be purchased at Paperbased Bookshop, The Normandie Hotel, and, at the Trinidad Theatre Workshop, with discounts for TTARP members and UTT students.

Seating is limited but reservations can be made by calling 297-3820.

Categories: Entertainment News

Farewell to Florence and Mavis

Mon, 07/02/2018 - 01:37

Last weekend, two dedicated women to the national cultural tapestry were laid to rest. Families and friends said farewell to Florence Watson (nee Lue Qui) and Mavis Lee Wah on Friday and Saturday, respectively.

A businesswoman, Watson was closely affiliated to Hadco Phase II Pan Groove, Desperadoes and Laventille Serenaders steel orchestra, while Lee Wah was an actress, director, schoolteacher, and the wife of National Drama Association of T&T (NDATT) founder James Lee Wah.

Last week, a musical tribute was held in Watson’s memory at the Wrightson Road compound of Cleveland and Allima Garcia in Portof- Spain, attended by approximately 200 of her family, friends and steelband folk.

Watson was always eager to assist Phase II arranger Len “Boogsie” Sharpe, the band’s management and musicians in the procurement of uniforms, flags and banners for the Panorama competition. She also assisted in the recruiting of flag women and banner-bearers. Speaking on behalf of the popular Woodbrook steelband, Lenny “Stretch” Tyson spoke glowingly of Watson.

Also speaking of Watson and her charitable nature were Pan Trinbago president Keith Diaz, Laventille Serenaders leader Anthony “Ben; Up” Kinsale, Odelia Garcia, Shasteen Najjar-Clarke and Allima Garcia.

Diaz revealed hos instrumental Watson was in assisting Pan Trinbago in shipping pan instruments abroad, to places like the US and Nigeria.

A very emotional Najjar-Clarke brought tears to the eyes of many as she itemised Watson’s influence on many in attendance.

Kinsale likened Watson to a mother to Serenaders, recalling how she always ensured that its pannists were impeccably attired for Panorama competitions,most times without the aid of sponsorship, or external funding.

Also seen at Watson’s tribute were producer/musician Carl “Beaver” Henderson, renowned La Danse Caraibe Artistic Director/Principal Heather Henderson-Gordon, Phase II Pan Groove manager Kerron Valentine and former Pan Trinbago executive member Keith St Cyr.

Cleveland Garcia, a former Portof- Spain Corporation councillor and Woodbrook/St James Community Association member, disclosed that Pan on D Avenue VII will be dedicated to the memory of Florence Watson.

In memory of Mavis

NDATT’s executive and membership extended condolences to the Lee Wah and Arscott families, Mavis being Jamaican-born and of the Arscott family.

NDATT Vice President Triston Wallace for the news of Lee Wah’s passing on his way to visit her at home with NDATT member Simeon Moodoo. He said: “I have been speaking with Mrs Lee Wah over the telephone for a few days now, with our last conversation being just two days ago [at the time of her passing on June 24]. Her voice was energised, seemed to be in high spirits and we were really looking forward to meeting each other. News of her death comes as a great shock.”

Other NDATT Members expressed their condolences and tributes. Said NDATT Trustee Nigel Scott: “I knew Mavis quite well. She did a show with us in Jamaica and when [Trinidad] Theatre Workshop used to tour in the 70’s. She was a lovely person.”

Playwright Zeno Constance added: “A true pioneer... and a giant in the field of theatre… Actress. Director. Administrator.”

Veteran thespian Michael Cherrie said: “[A] pioneer of theatre in Trinidad & Tobago together with her husband James Lee Wah...she was a tireless warrior...make new and wonderful vibrations in that new realm, Ma’am...Godspeed.”

Foreign-based actress Rhoma Spencer said: “Ohhh a theatre icon gone on to glory. May she rest in perfect sleep. I could see her now [in] The Importance of being Ernest. Quite a beautiful actor. Sad.”

Wallace, who met with the Lee Wah family last Tuesday to extend condolences on behalf of the NDATT, said: “It is unfortunate that we couldn’t have met under better circumstances. However, as the family responsible for us [NDATT] being here today, we are duty bound to assist the Lee Wah’s in whatever way we can in their time of need.

“The NDATT is grateful for Mavis Lee Wah’s contribution to theatre in Trinidad and Tobago and the region. We hope her legacy will continue and inspire others to follow in her footsteps.”

Categories: Entertainment News

Announcing the Reel Human Rights winners

Thu, 06/28/2018 - 00:29

The trinidad+tobago film festival, in partnership with the Canadian High Commission, has announce the winners of the The Reel Human Rights on Film training programme. Filmmakers Siobhan Millette, Andrei Pierre and Francesca Hawkins will receive $5,000 CDN each. The three short completed films will be shown at ttff/18 in September.

In March 2017, the trinidad+tobago film festival partnered with the Canadian High Commission to present a script writing programme for 15 emerging filmmakers. The workshop was facilitated by Canadian film professional Annmarie Morais who continued to mentor the filmmakers throughout the year.

In March of this year, the same 15 filmmakers attended a two-day workshop on From Script to Pproduction. This was conducted by Film Board of Canada producer Selwyn Jacob, and also included presentations from specialists in human rights issues in order to assist the writers develop an approach to their topic. These filmmakers were then tasked to produce a script for a five minute short narrative or documentary film, on a human rights issue in T&T, or the wider Caribbean.

At the cheque presentation ceremony at the Canadian High Commission, High Commissioner Carla Hogan Rufelds, reiterated that Canada regards human rights as universal, indivisible, interdependent and interrelated. She emphasised that human rights cinema plays an important role in the struggle for justice and dignity, speaking out against censorship and repression. She remarked that “this extremely powerful medium can touch and inspire audiences, challenging individuals to expand their knowledge and perspectives. It can also stimulate healthy dialogue, and ultimately, change.”

An important part of the ttff’s annual programme has been a strong lineup of films that focus on issues of gender inequality, children’s rights, issues impacting the LGBTQI community and other human rights and social and economic inequalities.

According to Annabelle Alcazar, programme director of the ttff: “This programme marries our interest in developing the skills of local filmmakers and writers, with advancing the conversations on human rights in Trinidad and Tobago. We were very excited about this project and we are pleased to see how the filmmakers rose to the challenge of using their artistic knowledge and skill to bring these important issues alive.”

The three successful filmmakers were jubilant about being able to realise their projects. According to Siobhan Millette: “I’m grateful that the Canadian High Commission has afforded me the opportunity to bring attention to one aspect of how these prejudices affect one of the many marginalised communities here in Trinidad and Tobago.

“Often late to the table, it is high time that all citizens are afforded equality and protection from discrimination, violence, unfair treatment and biases under the laws of our land.”

Andrei Pierre remarked on the advantages to his professional development: “This programme has given me robust legs to stand on as a filmmaker. I’ve been able to not just hone my craft, but now have an opportunity to prove it.

“I’m a grateful for the privilege to hold a lens to underrepresented communities and under-addressed issues in our culture, and help tell their stories responsibly and with due empathy.”

Francesca Hawkins complimented the partnership and initiative, saying: “Our names were removed from the submissions to ensure transparency in the judging process. This collaboration between ttff and the CHC has been extremely supportive of film development while also raising awareness on a variety of Human Rights issues in Trinidad and Tobago.”

The trinidad+tobago film festival celebrates films from and about the Caribbean and its diaspora, as well as from world cinema, through an annual festival and year-round screenings. In addition, the ttff seeks to facilitate the growth of Caribbean cinema by offering a wide-ranging industry programme and networking opportunities.

The ttff is given leading sponsorship by BP Trinidad and the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts, supporting sponsorship by The National Gas Company of T&T and Republic Bank Limited and contributing sponsorship by FimTT.

Categories: Entertainment News

Alta student stories

Thu, 06/28/2018 - 00:27

In celebration of Alta’s 25th anniversary, Alta students around the country were asked to write about the impact the organisation has had on their lives. Since 1992, Alta has provided classes around the country for thousands of Trinidadians who struggle with reading and writing.

Alta students enroll in the programme at many different levels of literacy and leave when they have accomplished their literacy goals.

While it is difficult to manage work and family life alongside Alta classes, students continue to persevere and in all cases see changes in their lives after attending Alta classes. In the coming weeks, Alta will share their pieces through this column. This week, three students from the Belmont venue share how Alta has impacted their lives.

Student name: Elicia

“I always wanted to have my own business but I do not have enough confidence to spell words properly. So Alta is a big step up in my life. I feel better coming to Alta to improve my reading, writing and speaking skills. Now I feel empowered to take part in any organisation and to speak in front of an audience.

I said this is my last chance. I was a bit ashamed but I have overcome it because I felt it was never too late to learn. It is a pity I did not get the help before but nothing happens before its time. I am not the only one struggling.

There are other students in the class trying to better themselves also. We can now take advantage of opportunities that might come our way in the future.”

Student name: Rondell

“I heard about Alta over and over on a radio in a car, while dropping off my son for his first day of preschool. It ran across my mind knowing that I can’t read or spell well. Studying how I played the fool in school and not taking interest in my work, I started to feel bad about myself.

I did nothing good with my life. I now have my king AKA my son and I am hoping that he does better in school. I did not have anyone to show interest in my school work, I intend to show that interest in my son’s school work.

I came to Alta to improve on my reading and spelling skills to help him.

I will love to do CXC English and UWI courses. You are never too old to improve yourself.”

Student name: Brian

“I didn’t finish school. During my attempt to read books or newspapers I had problems with words.

I wanted to improve my reading. When I heard about Alta classes that’s when I said to myself this is my chance. I signed up and since then I am able to sound and break up words.

This makes reading easier and fun. Now I can pick up those same books and read and understand. I feel better within myself and look PICTURE ALTA forward to completing Alta and signing up for CXC subjects.”

Volunteer, Donate or Sponsor-a-student. Call 621- 5708 or email [email protected] for more info. Keep up to date with ALTA on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: ALTA

Categories: Entertainment News

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