Trinidad+Tobago Film Festival Crowns 'Melaza' as Best Feature

 

Melaza, a movie about a couple doing everything to survive in a sugarcane town, and directed by Cuban filmmaker Carlos Lechuga, won the jury prize for best feature at the Trinidad+Tobago Film Festival, which closed Sept. 29.

The movie was one of 142 features, documentaries and shorts screened at the 7-year-old festival, which has a heavy emphasis on Caribbean filmmaking.

God Loves the Fighter, a gritty drama set in the country’s capital, Port of Spain, and directed by Trinidad filmmaker Damian Marcano, was given a special mention by the jury and also won the people’s choice award. The film, a City of God-like excursion into gangsterism, prostitution and drug dealing at the heart of Port of Spain, became something of a sensation at the festival, where it played to sold-out screenings.

It was one of the highlights of a festival that screened 50 features (along with 56 short made by Caribbean directors or members of the Caribbean “diaspora”) including the Oscar-nominated Beasts of the Southern Wild (with director Benh Zeitlin on hand for a Q&A), the 1948 Chinese classic Spring in a Small Town, Chile’s Gloria and Puerto Rico’s I Am a Director.

A full list of award recipients follows.

Jury Prize: Best Feature

MELAZA, directed by CARLOS LECHUGA

Special mention in this category: GOD LOVES THE FIGHTER.

Jury Prize:  Best Documentary

There was joint first prize: FATAL ASSISTANCE – directed by Raoul Peck / SONGS OF REDEMPTION, directed by Miquel Galofre and Amanda Sans

Jury Prize: Best Local Feature Film

GOD LOVES THE FIGHTER, directed by Damian Marcano

Jury Prize: Best Short

There was a joint first prize: PASSAGE - directed by Kareem Mortimer / PREVIOUS SCENES – directed by Aleksandra Maciuszek

Jury Prize: Best Local Short

AFTER MAS, directed by Karen Martinez

Best Caribbean Film by an International Director

3 KIDS, directed by Jonas D’Adesky

*The jury awarded two special mentions in this category:

TULA: THE REVOLT, directed by Joeren Linders and THE STUART HALL PROJECT, directed by John Akomfrah

New Media Prize

Olivia McGilChrist

People’s Choice – Feature

GOD LOVES THE FIGHTER, directed by Damian Marcano

People’s Choice – Documentary

SONGS OF REDEMPTION, directed by Miquel Galofre and Amanda Sans

People’s Choice – Short

JAB IN THE DARK, directed by Robert McFarlane

RBC Focus Pitch prize

The Winner is Shakira Bourne

bpTT Student Award

The winner is Maryam Mohammed

bpTT Film in Development Award

The winner is Kevin Adams

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