The 10TH Annual CaribbeanTales International Film Festival, September 9 – 19, 2015

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The 10TH Annual CaribbeanTales International Film Festival


September 9 – 19, 2015
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For the 10th consecutive year the CaribbeanTales International Film Festival (CTFF), returns to downtown Toronto.  Running from September 9 – 19 at the Royal Cinema, the 10th anniversary edition will showcase a fantastic selection of Caribbean films from around the globe.  These include 16 feature-length and 30 short films in Official Competition for the CTFF Jury and Audience Awards, to be announced on closing night – September 19. CTFF, which runs alongside the Toronto International Film Festival, also features an intensive five-day Incubator Program for Caribbean and Diaspora filmmakers, followed by a Pitch Breakfast at the TIFF Bell Lightbox and many exciting networking events.
CTFF’s 2015 programming committee, consisting of movers and shakers from the Caribbean film community, has worked hard to put together a line-up that will surely WOW audiences. The festival’s uniquely themed evenings of features and short films include Trini-to-the-Bone, a celebration of old and new Trinidad culture; Queer Caribbean, spotlighting new LGBTQ films; Shifting Perspectives, a partnership with the Rendezvous with Madness Film Festival, that focuses on mental health issues in Caribbean societies; After The Exodus, exploring themes of reparations, slavery and trafficking, and #AllBlackLivesMatter Caribbean, that addresses in fiction and documentary the escalation of tensions between Haitians and Dominicans in the DR.  
“CaribbeanTales continues to have its finger on the pulse of a dynamic movement of evolving film expression across the region and its Diaspora,” says founder and filmmaker Frances-Anne Solomon.  “In just ten years, a very short period of time, our film stories have matured to become stunningly assured, explosive, transgressive, probing, beautiful and urgent. And this is what we see represented on screen in this year’s selections.”
CTFF’s community partnerships this year include a special screening on August 19, of Spike Lee’s seminal work Do The Right Thing, co-presented with the Regent Park Film Festival.
The festival is also proud to partner with the Community Story Collective (CSC) to produce The Nine Night Party and Container Exhibit This project is conceived as a tribute to Mervin Jarman, a well-loved Jamaican community art/activist who passed away suddenly in 2014. To commemorate, and continue Jarman’s work, the CSC in collaboration with CaribbeanTales, will hold a series of socially engaged art and media workshops in community spaces around the city.
“Mervin Jarman was the first Caribbean Diaspora artist that inspired me,” said Camille Turner, lead artist of the Nine Night Party and Container Exhibit. “I am thrilled to work with CaribbeanTales to create new opportunities for Diaspora artists to be inspired by Mervin, creating art and creating community.” 
CTFF 2015 kicks off its 10th Anniversary with a Gala Caribbean Reception and Celebration on Wednesday September 9, in association with the Consulate General of the Republic of Trinidad & Tobago in Toronto, at the Royal Cinema, 608 College Street in Toronto.
The evening presents the Trinidad and Tobago feature docudrama PAN! Our Music Odyssey, by Jérôme Guiot & Thierry Teston, and written by Kim Johnson. A Trinidad & Tobago/Franceco-production, PAN! tells the story of the birth of the steel drum. Between 1939 and 1945, during World War II, while developed nations savaged one another on the world stage, in Trinidad & Tobago (the Caribbean) underprivileged urban gangs created a new and unique musical instrument, and perfected it by the 1950s. Pan was born!


From September 8 13, the festival hosts the 6th Annual CaribbeanTales Incubator Program (CTI), an internationally recognized platform that offers selected filmmakers the opportunity to hone their creative and business skills, through workshops and oneonone mentorships with world-class specialists. CTI will culminate in The Big Pitch, when participants present their developed film projects to international funders and buyers over a delicious Caribbean breakfast at the TIFF Bell Lightbox.
The festival also organizes a number of intimate events providing opportunities for filmmakers and audiences to mingle informally with international industry players.


Festival screenings will continue at The Royal Cinema, Monday – Friday, September 13 18 at 6:30 p.m. and 9:15 p.m. daily.  On closing night, Saturday September 19, there will be three screenings at 3:50 p.m., 6:30 p.m. & 9:30 p.m.
Tickets can be purchased online at may be purchased on-site one hour before each screening at The Royal Cinema.
In celebration of its 10thanniversary, CTFF is offering a special fete ticket price for Early Bird ticket buyers. From July 8 – Aug 8, 2015 audiences can buy a festival pass for $90, opening night tickets for $40 and closing night tickets for $20. 
Regular Ticket Prices for the festival are:        
         – Sept9: Opening Night Gala – $50
         – Sept9: All-Access Festival pass + Gala – $140
         – Sept14 – 18: All Access Festival Pass – $100
         – Sept14 – 19: Single Ticket – $15 & Student – $12
         – Sept19: Closing Night – $25
For more information about the festival, the public may call the CaribbeanTales International Film Festival Office line on: 647-303-7343


To date we have confirmed the following Programs at the Royal Cinema:


6 p.m.
Opening Night Gala
Caribbean Reception, in association with the Consulate General of the Republic of Trinidad & Tobago in Toronto
Pan!Our Musical Odyssey
Jérôme Guiot & Thierry Teston, Trinidad& Tobago/France, 2014, 90 min, English, Rating PG


Between 1939 and 1945, during World War II, developed nations savaged one another: the planet was on fire; meanwhile in Trinidad & Tobago (the Caribbean) underprivileged urban gangs forged a new musical instrument, and perfected it by the 1950s.  Pan is born!


Since then, steelbands have mushroomed in every corner of the planet. Still, Trinidad remains the Mecca, where each year philharmonic orchestras of over 100 musicians, many coming from all countries of the world, compete for the greatest Pan event: Panorama.
This film is the story of men and women who staked all on their art, from France, Japan, from the Americas and from Trinidad and Tobago itself; whose passion and daring has drawn them to this epic event. It is an extraordinary global human adventure.  Their stories are interlaced with re-enactments of the rags-to-riches tale of the steelband movement, which was born into poverty and violence but climbed to the highest levels of social and artistic acceptance without losing its life-or-death urgency.


The dramatizations constitute a continuous narrative thread, which focuses on a pivotal moment in the history of Pan, between 1947 and 1951. In this story a 19-year-old man nicknamed Goldteeth and his brother Roy, steal two 55-gallon oil drums to make their instruments, rather than the traditionally smaller paint cans. Their flight from the police and battles with the ferocious rival band, Red Army, lead them to finally sublimate warfare into a peaceful musical battle.
AWARDS: Special Mention at FEMI, Outstanding Documentary Feature at ReelWorld Film Festival
6:00 p.m.
Out of Time
Rodney Smith, Barbados/Canada, 2015, 90 min, English, Rating PG
Chris Allman is the subject of a medical trial with the mysterious company SOSUMI that volunteers to have a chip placed into his head.
When his girlfriend Sara is killed in front of him, Chris accidentally travels backward in time and realizes he may have the key to saving Sara’s life.
Working against him is Dr. Osborn and his cronies who always seem to be one step ahead of Chris and will stop at nothing to stop Chris in his quest to save Sara.
8.30 p.m.
Christo Rey
Leticia Tonos, Dominican Republic, 2013, 90 min, English, Rating PG
Set against the backdrop of tensions between local Dominicans and immigrant Haitians in the barrios of Santo Domingo, Christo Rey is a modern-day Caribbean Romeo and Juliet that explores its characters’ struggles amid a complex and explosive social and political context.
Janvier, a Haitian, through lack of better options, joins the local drug gang. His job is to guard Jocelyn, the young sister of El Baca, the gang’s kingpin. But Janvier and Jocelyn fall in love with each other and not having any foreseeable future in a neighborhood like Cristo Rey, they devise a plan to leave the barrio forever.


6:30 p.m.
Paradise Lost
Christopher Laird, T&T, 2015, 35 mins, English, PG
Legendary Mas’ bandleader Peter Minshall in an intimate discussion with award-winning filmmaker Christopher Laird, describes the creation of his first ever Carnival band.


Peter Minshall is an artist, designer, artistic director and masman renowned for his works of mas for Trinidad carnival and large-scale spectacle events and performances that have resulted in an array of innovations that continue to have a substantial impact in the Trinidad carnival and in spectacle performance internationally.
World Premiere
The Lara Brothers
Janine Fung, Canada/Trinidad & Tobago, 2013, 56 min, English, PG
The Lara Brothers is a loving tribute to the musical art of Parang in Trinidad and Tobago and also a lament of its possible extinction. Formed in 1945, the Lara Brothers is Trinidad and Tobago’s oldest existing parang group. The film pays a tribute to the band, through telling their story in their own words and music. In particular, the film follows the gregarious, extroverted Willy and his elder brother, the more reserved Tito. Tito’s death during the making of this film underscores how endangered traditional parang has become and what an important work this film is.
9:15 p.m.
Vanishing Sails
Alexis Andrews, St. Vincent & Grenadines/Antigua, 2015, 88 min, English, PG
Vanishing Sails tells the story of a Caribbean tradition that is being lost, the art of ancient boat building.  Alwyn Enoe is one of the last master boat builders, practicing a trade passed down through generations from Scottish settlers that arrived in Carriacou in the 18th century. Approaching his 70s and with no more orders coming in, he decides to build one last sailing sloop with the hope that his sons will continue the trade.


The film follows Alwyn’s progress and despair over three years, as the family pours their hopes and resources into the wooden vessel. Here, traditional West Indian and metropolitan elements fuse to create the final resolution of the film.
6:30 p.m.
Rachèle Magloire & Chantal Regnault, Haiti, 2012, 71 min, English & French Creole, R
Deported follows North American offenders who have been deported from the United States to their homeland: Haiti, a country they do not know and have few connections to.


Even as Haitians are being deported in their thousands from the Dominican Republic in 2015; since 1996 and 2002 respectively, the United States of America and Canada have conducted a systematic policy of repatriation of all foreign residents who have committed crimes ranging from violent ones to petty theft. Every two weeks, about 50 Haitian nationals are deported from the United States; 40 percent are convicted legal residents who completed their jail sentence in America.


For three years, filmmakers Rachèle Magloire and Chantal Regnault followed members of this unique group of outcasts in Haiti: criminal deportees from North America. A new life begins for these deportees in an environment that is both completely unfamiliar and quite hostile on an island that they left as very young children. 
AWARDS: Best Documentary & Human Rights Award at the Vues D’Afrique International Film Festival, 2013.
9:15 p.m.
Pelo Malo
Mariana Rondón, Venezuela, 2013, 93 min, Spanish, R
Turmoil is created when a nine-year old boy’s obsession with straightening his “bad hair” for his school picture causes his single widowed mother to worry about the boy’s identity.
Junior is a nine-year-old boy who has stubbornly curly hair, or “bad hair” that he wants to have straightened for his school picture, like a fashionable pop singer. This puts him at odds with his mother Marta, a young, unemployed widow. Overwhelmed by what it takes to survive in the chaotic city of Caracas, Marta finds it increasingly difficult to tolerate Junior’s fixation with his looks, fearing that it also means that her son is homosexual. This film tackles issues of race and sexual identity through external appearances in the Venezuelan society.
AWARDS: Bronze Alexander, Thessaloniki 2013; Fipresci Award, International Film Critics, Thessaloniki 2013; Best Director, Best Screenplay, Mar del Plata Film Festival, 2013; Best Screenplay, Best Actress, Torino Film Festival 2013; Best Caribbean Film, Puerto Rico Film Festival 2013; Best Director, Vina del Mar Film Festival 2013; Best Performance, Festival du Nouveau Cinema Montreal 2013.
6:30 p.m.
The Blind Stigma (partnership with Rendezvous with Madness Film Festival)
Stacy-Ann Buchanan, Canada, 2015, 59 min, English, PG
The Blind Stigma showcases mental health issues within the black community through chronicling the stories of five people, including the director herself.


A veil of shame and stigma is often associated with mental health problems within black communities, in fact the issue is often swept under the rug, with many false ideas and assumptions. This documentary attempts to pierce that veil to bring light to the reality. In examining the black community in Canada, the film lends an analysis as to how mental health is dealt with in the Caribbean as her parents are of the Caribbean Diaspora and many African Canadians have Caribbean heritage. The negative perception of any idea of having mental challenges is the core component of the African Canadian response to mental illness, which leads to African Canadians who suffer from mental health issues being less likely to seek treatment because it would bring shame to their families and to themselves. Stacy-Ann Buchanan’s directorial debut gives a voice to Black Canadians living with mental illness, empowering them and also leaving the audience with more knowledge.
AWARD: Art with Impact Award
9:15 p.m.
Sand Dollars
Israel Cárdenas, Laura Amelia Guzmán, Dominican Republic/Mexico, 2014, 83 min, Spanish/English, R
Sand Dollars is a delicate examination of the relationship between a local woman, her wealthy, ex-patriate lover and her boyfriend. This film is a nuanced portrait of an older, well to do European woman, Anne (Geraldine Chaplin) who is in love with Noeli (Yanet Mojica) in the idyllic seaside town, Samana, in the Dominican Republic. Their relationship is complex, a mixture of real affection also tainted by the money that Anne gives Noeli regularly, which makes Noeli’s boyfriend encourage the relationship. In this complex inter-web Anne (sensitively played by Chaplin) falls hopelessly in love with Noeli (who lives with her boyfriend), even as Noeli is torn between leaving with Anne and staying with her man. Love brings a flow of entanglements in a drama which unfolds like palm trees in an irresistible storm.
AWARDS: Cairo International Film Festival, FIPRESCI Prize; Chicago International Film Festival Silver Hugo Best Actress Geraldine Chaplin Cine Cearo – National Cinema Festival – Feature Film Trophy Best Sound; Havana Film Festival, Best Actress Geraldine Chaplin; Nashville Film Festival Best Actress Geraldine Chaplin.
6:30 p.m.
María José Álvarez and Martha Clarissa Hernández, Nicaragua, 2014, 65 min, Garifuna, Spanish and English, PG
Lubaraun is an ethnographic film with road movie elements filmed on the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua and Honduras; where endearing characters reveal the cosmo-vision of the Garifuna nation.
The film gives voice to a people who have lived in resistance to colonialism, and now struggle to maintain their identity, as well as their humanist and environmentally friendly way of living.   The poignant journey of an elder from the Orinoco Garifuna community back to the land of his ancestors on the mainland highlights the heritage of the Garifuna people in their similar way of living, respect for each other and the love of family.
9:15 p.m.
Lee Scratch Perry’s Vision of Paradise
Volker Schaner, Germany, 2013, 97:40, English/ Jamaican Creole, PG
Lee Scratch Perry’s Vision of Paradise celebrates the one and only Lee Scratch Perry in an imaginative way; examining where the artist is now after the burning down of his legendary studio in Jamaica and examining the potential of the heights that he can still reach, many years later.
The director followed Perry for 13 years and discovered a story that is almost impossible to believe: a revelation, told about and with one of the major protagonists of contemporary music. It is a mind-blowing encounter with “The Prophet” of the international Rastafari movement, one of the icons of the Black Power movement and “the” inventor of reggae and dub, as well as a humorous adventure of epic dimensions. The movie can be seen as a guide for how to change the world with music – with a positive attitude, mindset or, as Perry calls it: “vibration”.
6:30 p.m.
Cows Wearing Glasses
Alex Santiago Perez, Puerto Rico, 2014, 93 min, Spanish, PG
Cows Wearing Glasses is a film about the emotional awakening of a man who is facing the end of his lifelong passion.
This is the reflective tale of Marso, a lonely, eccentric painter and art professor,facing an unavoidable illness that will lead to blindness.  Marso is forced to re-examine his emotional world as he realizes that although he has had a series of professional successes, his personal relationships are empty.


This bittersweet film uses humour to explore Marso’s daily routines, challenges and self exploration, creating an intimacy between him and the viewer as he seeks to find ways to reach the family he abandoned and to face the biggest obstacle of his life.
AWARD: Yellow Robin Award for Best Emerging Filmmaker
9:15 p.m.
Art Connect
Miguel Galofré, Trinidad & Tobago/Spain, 2014, 74 min, English, PG
Art Connect vividly illustrates how creative intervention changed the lives of a group of young people in Laventille, a disenfranchised and volatile community in T&T, even as it allows them to document their own lives.
This film began by documenting Trinidad and Tobago students’ collaboration with visiting artist Wendell McShine, as they embarked on a series of dynamic community murals in an ongoing visual dialogue on the walls of Laventille. Then it concentrated on the powerful process of creative intervention on a group of students — aged from 13 – 17 who live in communities that are considered to be the most marred by violence in Trinidad and Tobago.   These students were given Gopro video cameras to take home during the workshops. The young people narrate their stories documenting the highs and lows of their lives and introducing us to their
mentors and communities.  The film captures their moments of struggle, vulnerability and overcoming obstacles, as their confidence grows.
AWARD: Best Local Feature & People’s Choice Award for Best Documentary in Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival 2014
3:50 p.m.
Sally’s Way
Joanne Johnson, Trinidad & Tobago, 2014, 150 min, English, G
Set in the lush, sunlit Caribbean island of Trinidad, this film is about a 12-year-old girl orphaned by HIV/ AIDs who is strong and brave and true. When her grandmother falls ill and she is at risk of being sent to an orphanage, she employs her creative smarts to negotiate her way through the adult world around her. The film has a universal message of how to grow despite the odds. So whether you are living a “Sally life” or not, this family film will resonate in a positive way. The movie is an adapted and expanded version of the children’s book by Joanne Gail Johnson.
AWARDS: Winner of Best Actress PanAfrican Film Festival, Cannes; winner of The Global Zoom Feature Film Prize at the Seattle Children’s Film Festival.
6:30 p.m.
The Price of Memory
Karen Marks Mafundikwa, Jamaica, 2014, 83 min, English, PG


When Queen Elizabeth II visited Jamaica for her Golden Jubilee Celebrations in 2002, she was petitioned by a small group of Rastafari for slavery reparations.This has been a long-standing issue for many descendants of slaves throughout the world and specifically in Jamaica, from as early as the 1960s. The film follows Ras Lion a mystic Rasta farmer who petitioned the Queen, as well as Michael Lorne, the attorney who brought a lawsuit against the Queen for reparations; in conjunction with the stories of earlier Rastas
who pursued reparations in the 1960s.


Filmed over a decade, the film explores the enduring legacies of slavery in a bold look at the fight for reparations in Jamaica through the past 50 years while focusing on the most recent one in 2002.  Rastafari continue to be at the helm of the struggle to secure payment for the debt owed to the descendants of slaves in Jamaica, and have pushed other notable academics, and lawmakers to join the cause.
9:15 p.m.
Mala Mala
Antonio Santini & Dan Sickles, Puerto Rico, 2014, 89 min, Spanish, R
Mala Mala is a feature length documentary exploring the lives of Puerto Ricans in the trans-community.  It is an evocative examination of the transgender world in Puerto Rico; from the glam and glitter of the drag queens to the strong desire to be accepted as part of the mainstream community in Puerto Rico, as themselves. The oldest member of the cast of characters, Soraya Santiago Solla, is a pioneer of the sex change movement in Puerto Rico and makes the distinction that people do not have to be dolls to be women, while Sophia Voines simply wants to be accepted as herself, a woman. This film is at times graphic in its presentation to a general audience but leaves no doubt that in the end, everyone has a right to be accepted as themselves, in the supermarket, on the street and especially in the workplace.


We are presently confirming interviews and screeners are available upon request.Thank you!


For further CaribbeanTales International Film Festival information, please contact:
Planet3 Communications Ltd. – Joanne Smale
About CaribbeanTales International Film Festival CTFF
The CaribbeanTales International Film Festival (CTFF), now in its 10th year, celebrates the talents of established and emerging filmmakers of Caribbean heritage who practice their art across the Caribbean Diaspora worldwide – including Canada and the Caribbean, Europe, the Americas, and those of  African, Chinese, Indian and Middle Eastern descent. CTFF presents a multi-ethnic mix of exciting and dynamic films that showcase diverse shared stories and cultures.
CTFF is produced by CaribbeanTales Inc, a registered Canadian charity that aims to connect people through film. The company’s mandate is to foster and encourage intercultural understanding and racial equality, through the creation, marketing and distribution of film programs, events and projects that reflect the diversity and creativity of Caribbean heritage culture.
As well as the CTFF, CT’s activities include its renowned Incubator Program, community screenings and partnerships, and CaribbeanTales-TV, a video on demand platform. Past projects have included community and school screenings of the movie “A Winter Tale”; The Literature Alive Project (funded by Canadian Heritage) a multi facetted multi-media project that celebrates and features three generations of Caribbean Canadian literary achievement, from Austin Clarke to Young; the CaribbeanTales Youth Film Festival – Celebrating Black History Month (founded in 2009) and the CaribbeanTales Multi-media E-newsletter (since2003).
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