They use to say, “Nothing good does come from Laventille.” Oh how wrong they’ve always been!
When learning how to survive and stay safe is not enough, a group of “at-risk” students in Laventille, the most notorious and violent neighborhood in Trinidad’s capital city Port-of-Spain, are selected for an urban art project that blossoms into a two-year process of these young people receiving guidance on how to use the arts to share their personal stories with their community, and ultimately the entire world. Their experiences are reflected in Art Connect, an equally powerful and moving documentary from Spanish director Miquel Galofré and producer Charlotte Elias.
Focusing on eight out of the forty selected workshop students from Success Laventille Secondary School, aged 12-17, these young men and women undergo three artistic workshops, led by artists dedicated to education and social change. The first workshop is devoted to visual art and painting through community murals, the second on poetry and music, with lessons from reggae artists Freetown Collective’s Muhammad Muwakil and Lou Lyons, and the final one based on dance and theatrical expression. All three workshops unlock particular emotions from these dynamic students, revealing how their newfound creativity transforms their outlook on life, and on their futures, for the better.
Further propelling their artistic achievements are the GoPro cameras, lent to the students to document their home lives and activities outside of school. These small, portable and durable cameras allow the students to use creative ways to further tell their own stories. It is within these unforced and whimsical moments that viewers become cloyingly endeared to these youngsters’ hopes and dreams.
Justen Blaize, co-founder of The Caribbean Film Academy (CaFA), shares, “To quote one of the young men in the film, “Art is a picture of life.” To see these Trinidadian youths lives transform on screen is amazing. We’re ecstatic to finally be able to present this documentary to Brooklyn and New York City audiences.” In full agreement, CaFA co-founder Romola Lucas assures that, “This is a film that will tear at your heartstrings. By film’s end we don’t expect many dry eyes in the house!”
Co-presented by BAMcinématek and the Brooklyn Cinema Collective, Art Connect will screen at BAM Rose Cinemas on Tuesday, March 15th, at 7:30pm.
The short film Auntie (2013), by Bajan writer and director Lisa Harewood, precedes the film. A Q&A with Art Connect director Miquel Galofré, producer Charlotte Elias, and Auntie director Lisa Harewood will follow, moderated by Michelle Materre of Creatively Speaking.
For ticket information visit BAM. For information about the Caribbean Film Series and the Caribbean Film Academy visit www.caribbeanfilm.org
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