Bridgetown Film Festival Xtra: Three Separate Features – Three Different Results, Pt. 3

I was late getting to Sheraton this Friday night gone, but I need not have worried! The triple-threat at the Olympus for the BFF didn’t materialise ’til about 8:35 pm – Then we were hit with Laura Lin Hutchinson’s project “Holding On” which received a grant of 25-thousand from the NCF’s Cultural Action Fund – the same grant which recently assisted ArtsEtc with “Shouts From The Outfield“…

Written and produced by Ms Hutchinson, “Holding On” is a tale of 3 sisters debating over the sale of their family house; Varia Williams in this film was a bit of a clockworked homebody and is the girl in the middle whereas her sister as played by Rosemary Phillips is a Brit-transplant version of Rihanna, but she’s the baby of the lot – their third sister (Marina Smith) is the eldest and is a gold-digger of elder males and who’s every other word is “F@#%ING” this, that and the next!

While my verbal adjectives from moment to moment can be far from Vatican purity, nevertheless, is cinema not a form of escape? I know part of the reason I go to a theatre is to get away from all the cussing – family, friends, work and so fifth… Last place I really need to be reminded, perhaps as it is a local production it stands out more – yet I will site Sean Russell’s Kite Flyer had bad lingo, but not every ten seconds!

Sean M Field was intriguing as the UK shutterbug who seems to have a thing for Varia’s character – his accent seemed convincing and his amiability and straightforwardness while in this role was readily apparent.

I nevertheless did not see the need for extreme close-ups on faces at all times when there was nothing for the given character to express at any moment, but this directorial tic will hopefully fade out as experience becomes the best ally.

For me, the fact the short feature was to be continued was not properly expressed – it seemed to have an abrupt ending, which instead could have had a few loose ends tied …. but enough left hanging for the viewer to realise that the story will move on at a later point.

Although No Budget Productions’Villains Anonymous” was the shortest piece and came in the middle I am reserving that for last as I need to take big deep breath and deal with – the final truth?

Ian Walcott as an actor was not convincing – he seemed to be reciting words for the film to be done in a hurry, his love scenes with Varia were absolutely boring! I see more passion in a cockroach trying to run for its life from either insecticide or a young cat looking for new prey. It also seemed while kissing her Ian looked as though he’d have a better time slurping spaghetti sauce stains off of his dashiki that he wore to make ppl believe he was a young boy at UWI…

The wig to make him appear youthful was like a dyed Brillo pad deciding when to make a getaway from his scalp, and the method of his using a headtie to hold the wig while in bed with Varia was ridiculous! As for him sucking her toe – I am no prude and have done crazy things too, but was it really conducive to the flow of the story? It was better when it was implied he was taking off her panties in that same scene! Poor editing in my view!!

Patrick Foster as Professor Bernstein was very craftily understated and along with Varia and Dawn-Lisa Callender were the true actors in this drama…

Walcott’s attitude as a politician was far more convincing – especially in the end while Varia as his wife lay dying in hospital, it mattered more to be ready to be sworn in as PM than to be there for her as she lay dying. The make up for the movie was fantastic – way to go Adzil Stuart, Patrick Foster really looked ghastly when his Professor Bernstein character was dying; the make-up was also well applied to make Varia look two toes from the graveyard!

Editing was a major bugbear with this film – not only in footage but dialogue and copy… Are two gay lovers really going to debate AIDS statistics from 1984 to now? Is a gay lover really going to insist that his man use a condom to screw his wife? How real is that?

Cicely Spencer-Cross was not an actress this time but the Producer – Bajan Reporter asked how is that when Geni (Dawn Lisa was the materialistic best friend of Varia’s character) pledged to show a tape from the now dead wife of the just sworn-in Prime Minister, that a fleet of Task Force men not just ransack her house and slam her in jail for sedition as has happened in many Caribbean isles?

She told the audience if she and her hubby – Thom Cross – have their way, that the film is a pilot for a TV series, to show if the tape was played and what part did HIV or AIDS play in shaping the lives of the twin children left behind in all that confusion… It seems they were only able to access 50-thousand US to get the film made.

Now for Neil Sorhaindo – if there is anyone who deserves an award tomorrow night it is No Budget Productions for their hilarious “Villains Anonymous” which is a take off on all bad guys everywhere! Antagonist Burrows is a new villain in a long family tree of baddies, but he just hasn’t hit on the right catastrophe to lay credit to…

He seeks a counselling group, the title of the feature, and also orders a Master-Plan kit from 1-900-BEE-EVIL, with a very convincing slick hawker played by Crucial Productions’ Phil Archer – I laughed out real hard, sorry, but it was a blast! I mean there were even overseas testimonials and a disclaimer as well!

He goes to DaCosta’s Mall tries to snatch a purse and the woman asks if he is okay then proceeds to cuff, slap & kick the living daylights out of his already lashed bones! Antagonist then tries to shoplift half of Super Centre Warrens under his slim leather jacket and is foiled as he’s always butting up on this guy with an exclamation mark on his chest, h’mmm?

I learned that Levi King is a true actor since I did not recognise him as one of Antagonist‘s henchmen, he was always chatting quietly in a cell-phone during the whole piece! What a change from Jamal in Sean Russell’s debut picture!

The ten minute piece in editing and everything took eight months to do – at first they gave Neil & Co. a “C” at BCC then when they proved how they did so much with so little and how much was accomplished they reverted the score and made it an “A“!

Neil and his posse are seriously considering to release the debut as a DVD apart from making a TV series out of their adventures with Antagonist Burrows! I hope so and look fwd to that indeed!

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  1. hey Ian

    Matthew agian. I was waiting for this article to come. It seems we have almost diffrent views. I thought in Holding On Sean Feild wasnt as good as has been in recent times. I thought accually it was his worst performance. Knowing and working with him, i really thougt so. My father and a few uncles have spent time abroad living in the UK, and just like B’dos the Uk has diffrent accents, i thought Sean thru in all the accents in one sentence. I agreed with the sister who every fu*king word was a cuss, didnt really make no sence in terms of its literary content in the film. Varia assesment i thought was accurate as well as Rose Mary Phillips, i thought she wasnt bad at all. Yeah it did end VERY abrubtly, and some wanted to know what was it all about. I had to explain to the dudes at ‘No Budget’ basically family stood together, and the each sister was symbolic in everyway. The ‘Rhianna’ baby sister, who starts a new life in more ways than one, the middle sister who thinks of the worst and beileve it or not the best of situations and the older sister who wants to take a break from life to have another life in more ways than one. family has to hold on.

    The Final Truth, Ian Walcott who accually kinda resembled John Ledgend wasnt too bad to me at all. Accually some thought he was better than Andrew Pilgrim. I agreed the love scenes looked boring, but thats not really an actor’s fault but a director’s fault. He did look a lil bit stiff board at times as a youngin. Varia played a young person better. I dont agree Patrick was underrated at all accually, i thought if anything he and Dawn Lisa carried the film well. Knowing Dawn Lisa, she never admits that acting is her strongest point, she often complains she struggles. Patrick, made me feel uncomfterble because of his ability to manipulate ian’s character to have sex with him. i think the problem with this film, ITS TOO WORDY, too much unnessicary and useless talking, and that can easly loose ur audience. I thought it was Thom’s best film for the festival, not overseeing The Kite Flyer which was more enjoyable, but Kite Flyer had far too many technical problems that needed answering. The situations in this film in terms of the prof. telling Ian to use a condom, thats IS a reality beileve it or not, i’ve seen it. The records of AIDS from 1984 – 2007 are known by some ppl of the bat, usually the ppl who study it night and day…not exactly avg guys like u and i!

    The best techincal movie, most enjoyable, the funniest, and the lowest budget film! and it was made by BCC students!!! BCC UNITE!!! I was around when the film was being shot, and i didnt think id be that good, i knew it would be good, just not THAT good. British Comedy, American and Bajan Comdey, its was great! My fav part was the same as urs when Ria was robbed and she beat the snot outta him!!! And yes Levi is and always be a great actor to come, and im not saying so b/c hes one of my best freinds but he really is. This is accually his first film. He shot this when we were doing the theatre arts pogramme at BCC. Everyone spoke about the multithousand films and the lone multi million dollar film, but again with the second year in a row the no budget film wins in my book!

    Here’s my list for awards, tell me what u think.

    Best Actor – Levi King ‘The Kite Flyer’

    Best Actress – Varia Williams ‘The Final Truth’

    Best Film – ‘Villian’s Anonymus’

    Best Director – Neil Sorhaindo ‘Villian’s Anonymous’

    Best Supporting Actor – Samud Ali ‘The Kite Flyer’

    Best Supporting Actress – Dawn Lisa Callendar ‘The Final Truth’

    Best 30 Minute Film – ‘Villain’s Annoymous’

    Best Full Lengnth Feature – ‘The Kite Flyer’ (by default, i havent seen Vexx)

  2. Matthew – thanx 4 ur input! Changed my listing of PF’s performance as UNDERSTATED! But we do agree on his role, we’re not poles apart at all!

    The wordy bit on “the final truth” I 100% co-sign!

    As 4 ur choices – the only one I am uncertain of is Best Supporting Male, but as there are no other true contenders, where can U go? Off 2 Olympus 4 finals, L8R!!

    BTW: You did not miss too much with VEXX, click on word and see my review!

  3. I think that the words in the movie are a bad side-effect of the film being a play first. It needed some more editing because the dialogue while fine the stage felt superfluous on the video.

    I think Ian (who looks nothing like John Legend to me) was surprisingly good in the role. He played a man so used to acting that he starts to believe his own propoganda.

    Varia was very good, the best performance. She should have won best actress. However, I find the film as a whole rather problematic in it’s message (as I did the play) Nothing in the 21st century should be perpetuating the idea that ppl only get infected with HIV from gay men. Africans and ppl from “a foreign.” That film sets back HIV/AIDS education 20 years which is scary when one learns it is to become an educational tool on HIV for the region.


    VA!!! Was great. Edited well, funny, economical and all on a small budget. If you see Neil’s film “Corporate takeover” you know it’s not a one hit either.


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