Happenings (September/October 2009)

A round-up of current events on the Caribbean calendar

  • Film still from Pather Panchali. Photograph courtesy Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival 09
  • Gregory Gill of Barbados watches his partner Elwyn Oxley spike as Philippe Pignol of Guadeloupe attempts to block in the final. Photograph courtesy Leisure Entertainment
  • Local fisherfolk heading out for the canoe tournament. Photograph courtesy Port Antonio International Marlin Tournament

Pass the popcorn

Caroline Taylor

The Trinidad & Tobago Film Festival (TTFF), now in its fourth year, returns to the islands from September 16 to 29 with an even wider range of films from the Caribbean diaspora and beyond.

Now the second largest in the region after the Havana Film Festival, this year the festival will showcase over 60 dramatic and documentary features, short films and animation from Anguilla, the Bahamas, Cuba, Guadeloupe, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, Suriname and Trinidad & Tobago, Central American neighbours Panama and Mexico, and the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States, and France.

The festival will also present several “highlight films”, among them Silent Light, by Mexican director Carlos Reygadas; Steve McQueen’s Hunger, which has won multiple international awards, including the Golden Camera award at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival; and Che (parts one and two) by American director Steven Soderbergh (Traffic, the Ocean’s series, and Erin Brockovich) and starring smouldering Puerto Rican actor Benicio Del Toro. Reygadas and McQueen are also expected to attend their TTFF screenings.

Not to be overlooked will be a strong Trinidad & Tobago complement, including Robert Yao Ramesar’s sequel to Sista God; Horace Ove’s The Ghost of Hing King Estate; Mariel Brown’s Solitary Alchemist; and Linda Atkinson’s Carmen and Geoffrey, about the life and work of renowned Trinidadian dancer and artist Geoffrey Holder and his equally accomplished wife Carmen.

This year will introduce a new feature of special screenings with different themes. Films that turn the spotlight on Indian filmmaking include the 1955 classic Pather Panchali by Satyajit Ray, and a contemporary animated film called Sita Sings the Blues. There will also be Jamaican films from the Flashpoint Festival; two days of programming by the New Yorker critic Hilton Als; and three days of Caribbean-British films.

As well as screenings, there will be all-day workshops; filmmakers’ panels; a closing awards ceremony; and on sale, a limited-edition commemorative poster, and T-shirts designed by Claudia Pegus.

The TTFF plays at MovieTowne (Port of Spain, Trinidad and Lowlands, Tobago); the University of the West Indies campus (St Augustine); the Studio Film Club in Port of Spain; and other venues to be announced.

For more information: www.trinidadandtobagofilmfestival.com



Having a ball on the beach

Mirissa De Four

Most accounts say beach volleyball began on the coast of California, where bored surfers whiled away the hours until they spotted that perfect wave. Now it’s played even in countries where there are no beaches! It was part of the 1992 summer Olympics, and became an official Olympic sport in 1996.

In this part of the world, what started in 2002 as Barbados’s National Beach Volleyball tour has evolved into the annual Sizzlin Sand Caribbean Sunsplash Series. This year’s schedule includes the Grenada Sunsplash on September 5 – 6 at Grande Anse beach, the Antigua version at Jolly Harbour beach on October 3 – 4, and the grand finale on November 7 – 8 at Brandons beach in Barbados.

The tour features competitors from countries ranging from Canada and the USA in the north to Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago in the south. It’s promoted and managed by Leisure Entertainment (LE), and is endorsed by the governing body for volleyball in the region, the North, Central America and Caribbean Volleyball Confederation.

All prelims take place on the Saturdays, with Sundays devoted to semi-finals, third-place playoffs, and finals. Onlookers and players also get to hear local bands and DJs after each day’s play. Paul White, LE’s managing director, says the finals of each event are televised in 19 regional countries, as well as in the USA via DirecTV.

For more information contact Paul White at (246) 256-7588 or visit www.sizzlinsand.com



Morgan’s marlin madness

Mirissa De Four

Port Antonio, in northeast Jamaica, used to be the haunt of the swashbuckling Errol Flynn (see On This Day, p50). In fact, he owned the Titchfield Hotel, from whose jetty the Port Antonio International Marlin Tournament began in 1959.

Things got rather less exciting after that, as Flynn died and so did the marlin tournament, owing to hard times in Jamaica.

But in 1978 the Sir Henry Morgan Angling Association was formed, named after the equally swashbuckling 17th-century pirate and governor of Jamaica. The association revived first the derelict Port Antonio Marina, and then the tournament, in 1982. Since then, the competition has only been cancelled once, because of Hurricane Gilbert in 1988.

Ron DuQuesnay, tournament director since 2000, has made the event environmentally responsible by introducing a 99-inch minimum qualifying length for the Atlantic blue marlin, as well as a mandatory tag-and-release system for all small fish. The only anglers not penalised for landing fish below this size are “virgin marlin anglers” who have just caught their first marlin ever.

This year’s tournament runs from September 26 to October 3. It starts with the Marlin Madness Beach Party at Frenchman’s Cove on Sunday, with fishing on four days to follow. Wednesday, rest day, will see the local canoe parade and the canoe tournament in which local fisherfolk – who often include female teams – fight the marlin using 300-lb-plus handlines.

Last year 28 boats with over 150 anglers competed. This year DuQuesnay expects teams from Haiti, the Cayman Islands, the USA and Barbados, and hopes teams from St Lucia, Tobago and Grenada will also join in.

For more information, contact Ron DuQuesnay at rondq@mail.infochan.com or (876) 927-0145



Island Hopper

St Maarten Golf Association
Moonlight Scramble
When: September 4
Where: Mullet Golf Course
What: Nine-hole golf played with fluorescent balls under the light of the moon and flashlights
For more info: www.stmaartengolf.com

St Vincent Blues and Rhythms Festival
When: October 9 – 10
Where: To be announced
What: Two days of music featuring top Vincentian artistes and international performers
For more info: www.svgtourism.com

Aruba Music Festival
When: October 9 – 10
Where: Aruba Entertainment Centre
What: The eighth annual instalment takes place on Columbus Day and will see performances from Gloria Estefan and REO Speedwagon.
For more info: www.aruba.com

Steelpan and Jazz Festival

When: October 1 – 3
Where: Queen’s Hall/QRC, Trinidad
What: Charitable event hosted by the Queen’s Royal College Foundation featuring Trinidadian artistes and steelbands
For more info: www.trinidadtobagosteelpanjazz.com

When: October 17
Where: Hindu communities all over Trinidad and Tobago
What: Also called the Festival of Lights, Divali is a Hindu festival that celebrates the triumph of light over darkness
For more info: National Council of Indian Culture Tel: (868) 671-6242

Blue Food Festival
When: October 18 – 25
Where: L’Anse Fourmi Bloody Bay Recreation Grounds, Tobago
What: A festival of entertainment and cooking skills featuring local food, with particular emphasis on blue food (ground provisions)
For more info: www.visittobago.gov.tt

Jounen Kwéyòl
When: October 25
Where: Villages all over St Lucia
What: Celebration of St Lucia’s creole culture, with each village showcasing creole traditions
For more info: The Folk Research Centre (758) 452-2279

Dominica World Creole Music Festival
When: October 30 – November 1
Where: Roseau
What: Held to mark International Creole Day, the WMCF features performances from creole artistes all over the world
For more info: www.wcmfdominica.com

Funding provided by the 11th EDF Regional Private Sector Development Programme Direct Support Grants Programme.
The views expressed on this website are those of the the authors and do not reflect those of the Direct Support Grants Programme.