Movies, TV shows and music are a few things we can never live without, aside from conch-fritters. The 2021 Turks and Caicos International Film Festival brought more heat to the islands, with a star studded weekend full of film & music industry gems paired with screenings of eco-conscious films.
The festival also gave local and international filmmakers the opportunity to showcase their art, with the submission of films whether via the Digicel PlayGo competition or to be screened live at the 4-day festival. Young Turks artists were also at the heart of the event, where high school students were given the opportunity to illustrate art to be used as the feature image of the festival.
But behind the scenes, the TCIFF 2021 was organised and facilitated by Director Colin Burrows and Chairperson Karen Whitt, where many volunteers banded together to bring the events to life.
As expressed by Burrows, “We have a strong partnership with the youth centre [Edward C. Gartland Youth Centre] and many of our activities and focus on kids and people that you know are impacting their lives at a grassroots level. So we came up with this idea for this art competition and through Miss Roxanne’s support at the youth centre and local kids we have the paintings.”
Local Talent is here to stay and elephantine, as proven by feature artist Janella Forbes
The amazing Janella Forbes, daughter of the soil and feature artist for the TCIFF 2021 took part in the Youth Arts Expo, the festival’s art competition sponsored by Fortis TCI Ltd. Janella illustrated the winning feature painting on site at the Edward C. Gartland Youth Centre, depicting her perception of our environment and oceans.
When asked about what inspired the painting Janella said:
“When I came to the Film Festival Art competition, I was a little confused about what I was supposed to do until they told me that it was a painting that was based on oceans and the environment. I really went and sat down in the chair, and I was like “What am I gonna do? I don’t wanna just paint a beach or an ocean. I’m gonna do something that is very unusual”…So I drew an actual body of water and put leaves on her head to represent the environment and vegetation of the Turks and Caicos and added hands to represent my skin colour and the beaches of the Turks and Caicos.”
As you would imagine, an event of this scale would take a vast number of sponsors, and it was locally supported financially with over 60 local sponsors including the Edward C. Gartland Youth Centre (ECGYC), Grace Bay Car Rentals and Digicel.
Roxanne Wake-Forbes, Director of the ECGYC shared:
“For me, it’s exciting, and it’s exciting not just to be a part of the Film Festival but it’s exciting to have our young people a part of this festival. The exposure, just to be able to see just the opportunities that is available to them. This year, we took it to the next level and Bradley Theodore did the class with them and the artist who was selected 16 year old Janella Forbes, I mean what an honor that your poster, is now around for people to see that you created that so things like that.
“Obviously the Expo day that we do each year bigger and better every year and again. It’s just an opportunity for young people to learn about sustainability conservation, the environment and how to do their part right. At the same time, it’s just beautiful, the way that it’s being done. So this year using music, we had the opportunity to do the virtual reality goggles again. Anya Willique, really really, thank you. She took bags from an old T shirt and taught them to upcycle. We also had Johnny Keeling from the BBC showing outtakes from Blue Planet and stuff like that. National Trust, of course, we had Rotaract, Big Blue.”
“So honestly seeing the young people that are just involved in learning ’cause it’s this generation that really is going to make the change and it’s really them that’s going to make the difference so exciting. I’m honored to be a part of it and looking forward to next year.”
Anya Capron, CEO of Caicos Events, was the event producer of the festival, an instrumental player in sourcing luxury venues hosting various events throughout the weekend.
The festival boasted a dinner at Amanyara Resort, galas at the Shore Club and Wymara, a film screening at Beaches Resort and sponsorships by H2O Lifestyle Resort and the Hartling Group. These resorts all underwrote the costs of the event. Anya expressed that her goal for what she would bring to the festival would be to acknowledge and showcase the diversity and many worlds among us in our small islands, while remaining true to our native origins.
Anya shared that, “Local culture here, me being married to someone who’s local is near and dear to my heart and at the forefront of my mind…So when she [Karen Whitt] brought me on, the first thing that came to my mind was bringing all those different worlds together. I think we should be having these big beautiful massive events where you get dressed up and you have something to do, but then they should also be so effective of local culture and the people here, not just the beautiful water and the beautiful beaches, right? Because there’s so much more than the Sun, Sea and Sand in Turks and Caicos.
So it was so important to bring that to light, and that meant from starting from the top down is expanding where the events would be right, so it’s spreading them out across the island and trying to show up every single corner that we possibly could.”
Hence, the first of many mentioned venues Anya chose was Amanyara due to the rustic look and foliage she feels is most authentic to Turks and Caicos’ landscape. The integration was further traversed into as even seating plans for dinner at Amanyara utilised family-style seating, encouraging relationship building – of course paired with Mediterranean cuisine.
Members of the WAVES Magazine TCI team were there and we thoroughly enjoyed the events, best described as Christmas for TCI film. One thing that stood out this year, was the minimal local representation throughout the weekend. There are questions about accessibility, however we hope that next year schools will pool together to allow arts-centered students passage to the career transformative panels.
More information will follow on the nitty gritty which went down at the festival, stay tuned.