Cabin fever is setting in for many people as they self-isolate during the covid19 pandemic. In an effort to offset this, the TT Film Festival (TTFF) will be hosting an online screening series called #WatchAMovieOnUs, from March 28 to April 10.
The TTFF is currently being managed by the Filmmakers Collaborative of TT (Filmco). Interim manager of Filmco Mariel Brown said the series is part of the festival’s 15th-anniversary celebrations. Brown said the festival committee had been working on a series of outdoor screenings of films which had done well at previous festivals. She said with the prohibition put in place against large gatherings due to the covid19 virus, as well as a depressing series of cancellations, they became creative in figuring out how not to cancel their events.
“We asked what we can do to keep people excited and engage them. Since the festival is about celebrating films and filmmakers, we decided to see what the possibilities are of doing an online screening series. The filmmakers have been really responsive.” The series is being done in partnership with the National Gas Company (NGC). Brown said the TTFF approached the company for sponsorship because the festival wanted to be able to pay screening fees to filmmakers.
“I’m sure you’re aware that the film industry, like many other industries, has ground to a complete halt, not only in Trinidad but everywhere, with jobs cancelled left, right and centre. I wanted to be in a position to pay filmmakers and so I reached out to NGC to see if they wanted to get involved and they were so excited about it too, they were immediately responsive, and they thought it was a great idea and so within a couple of days we had locked down the details.”
Brown said the TTFF wanted the series to have an immediate meaning in the difficult situation facing the country. She said a social media engagement campaign will be carried out during the series with the hashtag #WazDeSceneShowUsYourScreen. They take a photo of the screen and tag us in it, so it’s a way for viewers to chat to us and each other about what they’re watching via social media during the festival.
“We want people to get some enjoyment out of it, to be able to watch great Caribbean films, and to feel a sense that there are opportunities for us to do things together, even if we’re at home in our separate places and our separate spaces. It’s about building communities so everybody recognises we’re in this together, and we can share a moment even if we’re all at home.”
One film will be streamed daily for free on the TTFF website, ttfilmfestival.com. Films will be available for 24 hours each. The screening schedule will be posted to the ttff Facebook page beginning on March 26. Follow the event page, WatchAMovieOnUS – online screening series, and check the TTFF website and social media to get updates on the screening schedule.