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Maria Govan's "Play the Devil" to world premiere Saturday in LA
By The Bahamas Weekly News Team
Jun 3, 2016 - 12:51:41 PM

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All photos by Abigail Hadeed

Bahamian filmmaker, Maria Govan's latest film, PLAY THE DEVIL will have its world premiere at the Los Angeles Film Festival on Saturday, June 4th at 3:15pm at ArcLight Cinemas Culver City, showing in the festival's world dramatic competition.  Directed and written by Govan, and produced by Abigail Hadeed, Play the Devil was shot in its entirety in Trinidad & Tobago, and is described as a noir film set against the backdrop of Carnival.

"We had mostly a Trinni crew and a few Americans in key positions," Maria Govan told TheBahamasWeekly.com just days before the premiere. "We were given significant support from the Trinidadian government, who are not only interested in developing T & T as a film location destination, but also developing indigenous voices from the region.  I find that so admirable as it is very difficult to find funding in the English-speaking Caribbean." 

She continues, "Many grants that support developing nations consider the Bahamas wealthy which we all know is not remotely the case.  Our government is clearly struggling and so finding local support is tough.  There is clearly so much to gain by having a film that showcases ones culture travel the world.  I wish there was the support behind those of us wanting to really expand what it means to be Bahamian - the many layers and complexities of our identity." 

"I do trust that the more success film makers like myself and Kareem Mortimer have, the more persons in positions of power, will make the necessary gestures to see to our visions being supported with meaningful funding.  We did not have any Bahamians working on our set but did get support from every single one of my investors from RAIN which is such a huge testament to what an incredible bunch of patrons I have behind me.  I want to take this opportunity to publicly thank them," said Maria Govan.

All photos by Abigail Hadeed

LA Film Festival's official description for Play the Devil:

[Gregory, a gifted student from a working class family, is favorably positioned to win a coveted medical scholarship, and yet is secretly cultivating a desire to become a photographer. James, an established businessman, uses his wealth and access to pique the young man's latent artistic inclinations. When James cannot accept Gregory's boundaries, the relationship spirals into a fateful, carnal dance during the "Jab" (devil) play, on Carnival's Monday night.]

"The filming was incredible," said Govan, "and it really does stand out in a festival crowd as it is arguably the first film of it's kind from Trinidad to have such a strong international platform.  We have been receiving some very positive press, which of course is thrilling!"

The film has already been written up in LA in Variety; moviesharkdeblore.com and btchflcks.com.

Play the Devil stars Petrice Jones, Gareth Jenkins, Akil Nicholas, Penelope Spencer, Che Rodriguez, and Nickolai Salcedo.

"Our cast and crew deserve all the love that they are being given as everyone worked so very hard for so little," said Govan. " I am tremendously grateful for each and every moment!"

Bursting with confidence, style and vision against the lush landscape of Trinidad and Tobago’s Carnival, Bahamian writer/director Maria Govan’s sophomore feature complicates notions of masculinity, privilege and sexuality in this nuanced, yet brutal, coming-of-age portrait that deftly thwarts any easy moral judgments of her characters’ actions and desires. — Roya Rastegar and Medalit Tay

Post premiere facebook post by Maria Govan said, [Today we premiere "Play the Devil" in Los Angeles and I cannot help but think of my Trinni cast and crew who are not able to celebrate this moment up close and in person with us. I just want you all to know that you are in my heart and thoughts and I THANK YOU so much -- every one of you for the love, sweat and blood that you have given this production! You are amazing! Thank you LA MacFarlane! ( you are a star girl!! ) Thank you Shane (big hearted man) , Nicola, Kato, Robert, Cedric, Che, LA Caton, Vinince, Zidelle, Shannon, Frank, Ivan, Jodie! Thank you Shomari and Daniel, Sweet Man and Dominique, Mark, Shari, Omar, Timmia (of course!!!!) Emilie, Rob, Kadija, Jamil (for the many phone calls) Gina, Carla -- thank you to our investors (you all know who you are!! ) and to all the people of Paramin and Trinidad at large, and well...if I've forgotten your name I'm so sorry..I just wanted you all to know that you are with us!! BIG LOVE!! xx"]

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