Since inception, FilmTT has encouraged and fostered the creation of local content. The Smartphone Film Festival is one such initiative that has allowed amateur and experienced filmmakers to explore their creativity using a tool that is literally in the plam of their hands.
Two of last year’s winning productions – ‘Good Ole Days’ by Ayesha Jordan and ‘This Connect’ by Renaldo Frederick – were accepted and screened at this year’s trinidad+tobago film festival with the winning producing also submitted into international smartphone festivals in Tokyo and Toronto.
Both films exemplify exactly what the Smartphone Film Festival tries to do: display the creativity of our people in a succinct yet impactful way while adding to the library of indigenous content. Here’s a short review on each film:
Short Film, “This Connect” Highlights the Human Disconnection
The second place winner of FilmTT’s 2015 Smartphone Film Festival and short film entry into the trinidad+tobago film festival, “This Connect”, tells the story of a young woman’s distant relationship with her now deceased father.
The 6-minute story depicts Nailah recalling past conversations between her and her estranged father as she walks through the scenic forest to dispose of his ashes. Alone with nature, she reflects on their awkward telephone interactions; the birthdays and other huge events in her life that he missed and her yearning for more interaction between them. The very item that can easily connect and bring humans closer to each other ironically underscores a broken father-daughter relationship.
While their relationship did not improve over time, the loneliness of this walk is also the closest Nailah has ever felt to her dad. The backdrop of the serene forest and its peaceful sounds provide the perfect setting for Nailah’s spiritual journey which culminates with her literal release of the ashes at the bottom of a waterfall; a symbolic release of all the painful memories of broken promises that plagued her.
Oh, How We Miss the “Good Ole Days”
Directed by Ayesha Jordan, ‘Good Ole Days’ is a short film shot entirely using a smartphone that depicts the evolution of life and human interaction. As a grandmother reminisces about her childhood to her granddaughter, the viewer is transported into a world of treasured memories that explores the contrast between the childhood experiences of her generation and the experiences of today.
Themes heavily seasoned with local anecdotes combined with a strong feel-good sense about Trinbagonian culture, make this film very relatable to viewers.
- Folklore Is a Big Thing In Trinidad And Tobago.
There are so many different characters originating from the various cultures within these isles and in ‘Good Ole Days’, the grandmother mentions a few: douens, la diablesse, soucouyant and papa bois. A consistent oral tradition in those times meant that belief in these characters was a lot stronger than they are now. But whether these characters actually exist or are merely stories parents concocted in order to scare their children into behaving is yet to be determined.
- It Takes a Village
Long ago, neighbours were overflowing with care and concern for the well-being of each other’s children. Being a good boy or girl at all times was necessary as anyone from the village could have disciplined as they saw fit. According to the grandmother in the film, licks from a neighbour meant more ‘licks’ when you got home.
- Patience is a Virtue
Back in the day, chores were greater in quantity and more difficult. Waking up early in the morning was the norm and chores must be completed before going to play. Modern conveniences that we have today weren’t even a thought so playtime included outdoor activities. Even cooking a meal on a coal pot required patience as fast food was not a common thing.
Aisha surely does an excellent job of capturing the ethos of a past era, making this film enjoyable and agreeable. Viewers can bask in a feeling of nostalgia, realizing just how good those days really were.