Barbadian Cricket Movie gets distribution pledge from Barbados Govt – Bridgetown Film Festival, Pt 3/3

When I first started this News-Blog I expected many lashes, partly for being a Government worker and how sometimes I may have what seems a “safe” story (And why I am I toeing the line? Hah!) or if I dare to differ only then to have ppl wonder if I won Mega 6 and why am I so brave to express an alternative viewpoint?

My main fear was that I may be considered a rank amateur – but going by my ranking on Technorati and the counter rising more and more each day? Either you like this amateur approach or you do not feel I am an amateur… What does this have to do with the local cricket film just released that has so many Barbadian tongues wagging? The local sporting picture that has made a clever launch at a time when most Caribbean ppl need a cricket hero of some kind! Well, can you believe the BBC thought “Hit For Six!” was “amateur” and “campy“??

Nevertheless, Soutik Biswas managed to find a grudging compliment for the film –

…it is a cleverly-timed film starring half a dozen West Indian cricket legends such as Everton Weekes, Wesley Hall, Joel Garner, Desmond Haynes and Gordon Greenidge in short cameos.

The director confesses to having been heavily influenced by Bollywood hit Lagaan, the 2001 monster hit about a group of Indian villagers taking on their colonial rulers with a game of cricket.

And she has managed to turn Hit For Six into something of a tourist promotion, capturing the Caribbean’s spirit and verve.

The Barbados Advocate and myself probably saw a different launch and movie –

…while any critic may find issues with the film particularly with regard to certain technical issues related to sound quality, continuity of lighting and film editing, no one can fault what is truly a strong story line and the realisation of this plot through the talents of the cast.

I thank God I was there to hopefully put some perspective about this gala launch by adding to this growing version of Rashomon, with my own version of what I saw and what I learned…

In my view, especially since The Prince has decided to call it a day, I believe many will tie in certain aspects of Brian Lara’s history to AlexNellieNelson as done by AndrewPillyPilgrim – Lara’s erratic performance as judged by some or the allegations of his womanising, including the tempestuous relationship with a young white model

However, there was a fair bit of spin on this googly from Alison Saunders-Franklyn, she changed the Lara apocrypha by adding a Rustem & Soarab dynamic with Eastenders’ star Rudolph Walker who plays Nellie’s father – unlike the Persian legend, Alison creates a note of redemption for this father and son to pursue. Alison Sealy-Smith played Nellie’s mother, who showed there is still a sexual sizzle between herself and Nellie’s dad – but her role as peacemaker seemed true for quite a few Bajan mothers…

Nirmal Thani as the Indian coach Amir Misra is extremely convincing with his accent, and his disposition – having had the privilege of working with him years ago when we were both in radio, you rock, Nirmie-T! {his nickname in radio}

By far one of the best performances was Tony Thompson as Bishop Hinkson in the Sons Of God Apostolic Church when they were looking to exorcise poor Nellie, who was shocked and scared that the priest could see he was at a crossroads with evil – the power Tony reverberated at Granville’s church, you’d swear he was a genuine Holy Roller! My other favorite character was Roodal, Nellie’s partner in crime who can bowl but can’t bat to save his life!

Varia Williams as a sports reporter sexually discriminated against at the Nation {as in girls covering SPORTS?} was rather compelling and extremely plausible even in this day and age, even so far as why she was coerced into a career change! Jeanille Bonneterre as the Trini calypso gal was irritating and clinging from the start, making “Nellie” miss practice in St Lucia for her selfish whims and changing his ringtones to her songs – ooh! She was so cloying, you just wanted to do her bad – very well portrayed through good writing, good acting and good directing!

Keith Simmons as Sir Hugo the chairman of the selectors was very downplayed from his usual dynamic demeanour. It definitely seemed that Super Centre‘s David Nielands took his role as Mace the evil bookie along the path usually travelled by Lawrence Micklewhite.

It was good to watch a film and know you’ve actually been at some of the places you see! E.G: when “Nellie” was behind the City Centre Car Park late at night hoping to clear his name, not only was it recognisable, you could actually carve up pieces of the menace in that scene and stick it in the fridge for a late night fright another day!

Another familiar place was actually rather ironic – this is the part of “Hit For Six!” when Andrew Pilgrim’s protagonist sojourns over by the Inn Chambers law offices to refute implications of match-fixing (Inn Chambers was where Andrew as an attorney used to work not that long ago). Andrew’s character had some of the odds in his favour – his team number was 66, the same as the year of our Independence!

Hit For Six!” had a VIP debut at the Olympus, but it is also part of the Bridgetown Film Festival, there is to be a general viewing and full distribution soon… Nicholas Brancker did the incidental music of the picture, and there are plans under consideration to develop a soundtrack CD for the public to buy as a keepsake!

That’s according to Dr Basil Springer, who was the Master Of Ceremonies that night, he said between himself and Alison Saunders-Franklyn (writer/producer/director) they are in talks with London, Australia, India and the rest of the Caribbean to make sure the movie is out there! At a price tag of just under one and a half million Barbados dollars, they know they have to recoup their expenses and do so like yesterday!

The Indian media were also at the event interviewing Alison, who referred to God as her Executive Producer which was a classier touch to how ppl usually try to express those sentiments.

Owen Arthur was to have attended the gala debut, but he could not make it – nevertheless, the Deputy Prime Minister was there! Mia Mottley told the audience that night this movie can fall into her jurisdiction as Minister of Economic Affairs, it would be under the initiative known as Invest Barbados, “Hit For Six!” can be considered as an indigenous product that Invest Barbados can assist in exporting to global cinematic markets.

Mia also saw Nirmal’s role as significant in breaking down barriers of the new racism in Barbados against ppl of Hindustani descent. Other actors who earned cameos in the Bajan flick were Patrick Foster, Martin Parris (noted sports commentator for Starcom Sports), Sean M. Field, as well as Patrick Maxwell of “Giggurd & Boo” fame for BGIS!

There you have it three different opinions, but you be your own umpire and decide how to score the movie!

2 Responses

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  1. I just read the Advocate?s review of ?Hit for Six? and while I?m encouraged by the film?s success, I was disappointed that it?s identified as ?Barbados? first feature film?.

    It seems to be a slap in the face to all the other Bajan filmmakers who?ve bled and sweat with much less political and financial support to see their dreams on the screen.

    I can think of Andrew Millington, Bongo Lights and Earl Maynard. That doesn?t even count the documentary camp which includes Gladstone Yearwood, Mahmood Patel, yours truly and others who?ve done ?feature? films.

    Bajans have been trying to make movies on the rock for at least 10 years now. If you know Nigel Wallace you should apply the ?word? of correction.

    It?s really much too early in the game of the nascent Bajan filmmaking scene for us to be suffering professional and artistic amnesia.

    If we start down the path of ignoring those who?ve helped paved the way for filmmaking in our country, then we?re doomed never to learn anything and we?ll likely remain mediocre in our practice of this very complicated and difficult craft.

    The term ?feature? is normally used these days to define a film?s length. That?s why festivals and the like identify movies as either shorts or features, with the term feature meaning ?full-length?.

    The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (the Oscar people) defines a feature as any motion picture longer than 40 minutes.

    The term originated back in the old days of cinema to define the main movie as apposed to the ads, shorts, and newsreels you?d normally have to sit through.

    These days, most commercial features are approx 90 minutes for narratives and 50 minutes for documentaries (and mockumentaries).

  2. Hey Miguel,

    I take your point. I believe however, that it may be more of an error of ignorance of the “film making” industry rather than some sort of sinister plot not to give the other Barbadian film writers and producers credit where it is obviously due. It would be great if you could share the information you posted here with journalists in the field so the public can be more educated.

    About Hit For Six, I think it was a great effort and am very proud to be a Barbadian and know that this has been accomplished in my lifetime. While I do not see it as a great movie by movie-making standards, let’s be real – there are some which have managed to make it to Hollywood that makes you go ughh!!! Please Bajans, let’s encourage this effort, for it is a good one, and it represents another way that we can export the talent and expertise that we have in abundance here. Build up, don’t tear down. Nuff respect to Alison Saunders-Franklyn.


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