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Jean Gentil takes top prize at T&T Film Festival

The story of a Haitian man looking
for spiritual peace has taken the main prize at the trinidad+tobago film
festival 2011 (ttff/11), presented by Flow.

The Festival, in its sixth annual edition, ran from 21 September to
04 October. The awards were presented at a ceremony on Sunday 02
October.

Jean Gentil, directed by Israel Cárdenas of Mexico and Laura
Guzmán of the Dominican Republic, took the jury prize for the overall
best narrative feature film.

A documentary about the Black Power uprising that took place in
Trinidad and Tobago in 1970 won the prize for best local feature film.
Entitled ’70: Remembering a Revolution, the film was directed by Alex de Verteuil and Elizabeth Topp.

Hit Me with Music, a documentary about Jamaica’s dancehall
culture, proved a popular film on the night. The film, directed by
Miquel Galofré, picked up two awards: the jury prize for best overall
documentary feature and the people’s choice award for best documentary.

There were also people’s choice awards for the Jamaican feature-length urban drama Better Mus’ Come, directed by Storm Saulter, and the short documentary Chinee Girl, a film by Natalie Wei about Chinese women in T&T.

In addition to the prizes for films, a number of other awards were
given out. They included posthumous awards recognising some of the
pioneers of the cinema industry in T&T, and an award for a
university film graduate who has made an impact in the local film
industry.

The night also saw the ttff/11’s inaugural lifetime achievement award
being presented. The award went to Harry Belafonte, for his
contribution to the arts and activism around the globe. Mr Belafonte’s
daughter, Gina Belafonte, producer of a documentary film about her
father that screened at the ttff/11, collected the award on his behalf.

The full list of the ttff/11 awards

Jury awards

Best narrative feature: Jean Gentil (Dominican Republic, Mexico); directed by Israel Cárdenas and Laura Guzmán

Best documentary feature: Hit Me With Music (Jamaica, Spain); directed by Miquel Galofré

Best short film: 10 Ave Maria (Aruba); directed by Juan Francisco Pardo and Ryan Oduber

Special mention, best narrative feature: Boleto al Paraíso (Cuba); directed by Gerardo Chijona

Special mention, best documentary feature: When the Drum is Beating (Haiti, USA); directed by Whitney Dow

Special mention, best short film: Classical Steel (T&T); directed by John Barry

Best local feature: ’70: Remembering a Revolution; directed by Alex de Verteuil and Elizabeth Topp

Best local short: Sweet Fries; directed by Renée Pollonais

Best actor in a local film: Gerry Bednob, The Rise and Fall of John Tesoro

Best actress in a local film: Dionese Sylvester, Sweet Fries

People’s choice awards

Best narrative feature: Better Mus’ Come (Jamaica); directed by Storm Saulter

Best documentary feature: Hit Me with Music (Jamaica, Spain); directed by Miquel Galofré

Best short: Chinee Girl (T&T, Canada); directed by Natalie Wei

Social awareness award

Positive & Pregnant (T&T); directed by Stacy Lela

Pioneers of T&T cinema

Lionel Belasco, William Pettigrew Humphrey, Timothy Roodal, Sarran Teelucksingh, Gokool Meah and Ranjit Kumar

Focus: Filmmakers’ Immersion pitch session winner

Maria Govan

Graduate film development award

Francesca Hawkins

Lifetime achievement award

Harry Belafonte

The ttff receives leading sponsorship from RBC Royal Bank, and is
supported by the Trinidad & Tobago Film Company, the National Gas
Company, bpTT, the Tourism Development Company and the Tobago House of
Assembly.

Visit www.ttfilmfestival.com for more information.

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