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Wednesday 22 January 2020
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Local film Trafficked for Cannes film festival

LOCAL film Trafficked, the Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival “Best Feature Film” winner 2015, will be making its European premiere next month at a prestigious film festival in Cannes, France following its inclusion last month at a festival in Los Angeles.

Trafficked director Sean Hodgkinson informed Newsday that yesterday he received e-mail confirmation that the film would be included in the Festival International du Film PanAfricain de Cannes (Cannes International Pan African Film Festival) being held from April 16-20.

“We’re very excited to have it premiere in Europe.

You make a film for Trinidadian audience and now find it has international appeal,” he said.

He added, “It shows our local industry can reach a global audience.” Hodgkinson, speaking during a telephone interview, said it is very exciting and noted that with the downturn in the economy we can look at supporting film to boost the economy. He pointed out, for example, that when they go to Cannes they may meet people who are interested in doing films in Trinidad.

Hodgkinson stressed that making films anywhere in the world is difficult and “we just appreciative to have the film seen by as many people as possible and that the message could get to them”. He noted the story, which involves three friends on vacation getting caught up in the deadly drug trade, is based on true events.

He explained that it was made for Trinidadians but is resonating internationally and at the Pan African Film Festival last month in Los Angeles it was “really well received”.

“That should say something” he said. He noted it is a story that everyone can relate to and the film connected because the audience connected with the characters.

“Good films transcend language,” he said.

One of the film’s producers, Natasha Nunez, also commented on the Los Angeles festival and recalled that, despite very little marketing, they were able to fill a movie theatre. She noted that the film brought out a lot of Trinidadians living in the US city and one man told her that the last Trinidadian film he saw in LA was Bim in 1974.

“He was so relieved to see the (local) film industry so vibrant and people making films that resonate,” she said.

She noted that everyone was captivated by the story and wanted to know where it was shot.

“We have to pull up our bootstraps and travel the globe to showcase it,” he said.

She described the acceptance of the film into the Cannes festival as a “victory” because they have the opportunity to showcase Trafficked to a new audience.

“Our objective is for as many people to see it as possible. And to make as many contacts,” she said.

She noted the film was done for educational purposes and can be shown in forums outside the movie theatre. The producers, herself and Garth St Clair, are planning to collaborate with the Ministry of Community Development to take the film into communities.
Nunez said they next plan to have the film aired on local television. Trafficked stars Aaron Charles, Gyerlini Clarke, Kia Rollock, Brett Bengochea, Felipe Mican, Abdi Waithe and Brendon O’Brien.

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