THE Green Screen Film Festival will provide a community for those who want to explore the theme of The New Normal, which is the theme of the 2020 festival. Green Screen, as it is commonly called, will run from October 29 to November 2. It celebrates its tenth year this year.
Festival director Carver Bacchus said the festival was initially begun to build community around the environmental issues facing TT. He said there have been some challenges in hosting the festival, given the advent of covid19, as this made the organic engagement the festival is known for difficult, but not impossible.
“We’ve seen over the last few months that there’s been a certain level of innovation/innovative thinking and people have had to accept that this is the new normal so we will have to engage one another over Zoom, Instagram, Facebook Live, video calls, Google Meet, etc, as they’ve come to replace a lot of the interaction. Of course these are not platforms the festival has been in the habit of engaging with for the purpose of running the festival, so there is a bit of a learning curve in figuring out best ways to engage with these technologies for our audience.”
He said the festival committee is looking at operating in the covid19 environment as an opportunity as, since it is being held virtually, there is the possibility and potential to reach a wider audience with the films and discussions, not only in TT and regionally. He said they were trying to fit the discussions that were an integral feature of the festival into this year’s virtual programme.
Bacchus said there had been a greater than normal response to both sections of the festival’s programming: The Environmental Film Festival and the Very Short Shorts (VSS) mobile film competition.
“There are a lot of worthy submissions and a fantastic response from the filmmaker perspective, now it’s a question of pulling the programme together to attract the audience and get their participation to where we want, but we are heartened by the engagement with the film-making community so far. It could be attributed to people maybe having more time on their hands, given the circumstances, and also to the theme of The New Normal, so people have all sorts of different thoughts, ideas, feelings, impressions of what’s happening and what will happen next, so those ideas are coming through in the ideas that are being submitted in the competition.”
He said filmmakers were asked to focus on issues related to energy, transportation, information technology and food security in the context of the new normal. He said if filmmakers wanted to submit on another topic, they were free to do so.
Bacchus said the films, most of which will be free, will be grouped in themed packages on the festival’s website.
“All the films will be available for the entire festival period, so you can go home and look at films anytime you want during any period of time, like a Netflix situation, so you don’t have to worry about what time something is on. We’ll also have Q&As and discussions with select filmmakers who’ve participated in the festival this year, and the main focus is the discussions.”
Another exciting development for the festival is the unveiling of a new logo. Bacchus said the brand which had been used for the last nine years was originally designed as a one-off identifier.
“The new logo, designed by Ayrïd Chandler, is intentionally simple to encourage the viewer to look closer and explore its deeper meaning. At the core, the symbol is made of projection light rays highlighted in a circle, a powerful symbol of continuity, unity and as a representation of our planet, it connects people and nature. The lines also present movement, direction and the dissemination of information.”
Green Screen uses film, engagement and education to impact communities and create awareness, in the hopes that it leads to changed behaviour.
“With a fresh new visual brand to engage our growing audience and group of stakeholders, we look forward to what the future holds and hope that the messages we spread through the festival will continue to find fertile ground.”
Bacchus said one of the biggest challenges this year is that one of the main audiences of the festival was schools.
“We have a very successful high school screening programme and a Green Careers programme that we run during the festival every year. With school being reopened virtually, teachers are struggling and the students are struggling to get back into a groove and deal with the technology and study, it seems as though it’s very hard to squeeze in as much as we’d like to in engaging with the students especially as they can’t come to us as they would normally do.
Now we’re having to reach through the noise of social media and digital media and their new programming format and, of course, they’re looking at a screen for several hours a day as part of their everyday classroom work, so it’s proving to be challenging to figure out how to reach them in terms of reaching them meaningfully, but we have some things in plan.”
Another new facet of the festival is the PlantYuhRoots category of the VSS, carried out in collaboration with the Caribbean Philanthropic Alliance (CariPhil). Bacchus said the main objective of CariPhil before covid19 was to plant a million trees in 2020 but this had to be revised.
“I think the idea is now to collaborate with us to get the youth and younger people talking about reforestation and carbon sequestration, the importance of trees, planting, whether for food security or environmental protection purpose. So we came up with this category under VSS to give our participants the opportunity to talk about these things. It’s about getting the conversation going about agriculture and the importance of green forested areas to our small island developing states.”
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