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Bahamian ‘Rain’ showers Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival
By Andre Bagoo, T & T Newsday
Sep 23, 2009 - 10:35:38 AM

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A BAHAMIAN FILM whose central motif is the transforming effect of rain opened the Flow Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival on Tuesday night at a gala event held at MovieTowne Invaders Bay, which saw artists, film-lovers, diplomats and Government ministers attend.

Rain, directed by Maria Govan, closely follows its title character as she comes to discover her biological mother after the death of her grandmother. Set in the Bahamas, the film features Irma P Hall (who won a Special Jury prize at Cannes in 2004 for her performance in the Cohen brother’s remake of The Ladykillers) as well as Emmy nominee and star of the Sheild, CCH Pounder.

One of the first feature films to come out of the Bahamas, Rain was also screened at the Toronto Film Festival last year and received the awards at the Palm Springs International and Bahamas and other film festivals that year as well.

But the journey to making the film was not an easy one, according to film-maker Govan.

“It was like climbing a very steep cliff,” Govan tells TTFF blogger Jonathan Ali in a Q&A published on the TTFF blog at http://www.trinidadandtobagofilmfestival.com/blog. “I fell a number of times and had to pick my weary and broken self up.

“Too often I wondered if the film would ever be finished, as we kept running out of money along the way. I will say this though, as in life, nothing stays the same, and this was my experience on Rain. When I felt most hopeless and like giving up, something shifted and I was a little closer to the end. God gave me just enough to take the next small step and when one led to the next, the mountain became shorter, one phone call, one email, one moment at a time.

“If you keep on keeping on, you will survive the climb no matter how hard it may be along the way.”

But Govan is confident that notwithstanding this, a viable film industry is possible in this region.

“Of course it’s viable! The region is so rich with story and magic and colour – so much that is so inspiring and so moving. I can say that there are a number of Bahamians now making really strong work and so if we, as a very small country can contribute to the global platform of cinema in the important way that we are in this moment in time, I have complete faith that as a region there are truly great things ahead!”

The view is one apparently shared by Minister of Trade and Industry Mariano Browne who spoke at Monday’s gala opening, which also saw the well-received short film, Queen of the Brands, screened. Browne’s appearance was the first by a Government minister at the annual festival which began, in its current form, in 2006.

“It’s really about creating an identity for our country,” Browne said as he noted that film could become a key export for Trinidad and Tobago, alongside its Carnival-related products.

Rain was well-received by the packed audience gathered at Screen 2 of MovieTowne. The film, with stunning cinematography, was an assured, heartfelt piece. There were occasional moments of wooden mannered dialogue and one performance in particular lacked restraint. While a few sequences could have been tighter, this was a film which brimmed with tremendous promise and talent.

It’s strongest aspect was the screenplay’s disciplined focus on the various relationships of its characters, amidst a stark depiction of Nassau life.

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