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From left are Dionne Mc Nicol Stephenson, Chairman, FilmTT, The Pitch winner Jason Lindsay and Leslie-Ann Wills-Caton, General Manager, FilmTT

On September 30, the Trinidad and Tobago Film Company Limited (FilmTT) hosted its first ever live show titled ‘The Pitch’ on TTT to reveal the winners from its Business of Film: Script to Screen Programme. In August, six participants from the Programme presented their script ideas for a short film [5-25mins] before a panel of industry judges for a chance to win development funding awards. Taking the first place prize of $15,000 was Full Circle Animation with “She Coming Back”.

“This story did not exist before the Script to Screen project. I always wanted to do something about that culture of the barrel but I could not find the right project or story for it . . . Through the [workshop] sessions things, you know, became clearer, the story was originally a lot more direct and then we started to hear about universality, I started becoming a little more fantastic about it and trying to approach a little more indirect so that it’s a little less sad,” said Jason Lindsay of Full Circle Animation.

Since the completion of the Script to Screen Programme, “She Coming Back” has entered script competitions, capturing the following standing: Quarterfinalist in both the Los Angeles International Screenplay Awards and the Screenwriters Network – Solokow Award, Coverfly’s The Red List Top20 for sci-fi shorts and FilmTT’s additional Pitch Prize, a screening at the Pan African Film Festival in LA [2022/2023] courtesy the International Judge Sherrese Moise.

Placing second was Solange Plaza, JIS Productions Ltd with “I Dream of Calypso” and third place award was Kevin Adams, Trinigoodfellas Film & Video Production with “Love for Steel”. These top three scripts were awarded development funding from FilmTT to assist in the development of their family friendly shorts which will feature elements of Trinidad and Tobago culture in the respective genres Action/Adventure, Romance, Comedy/Drama, and animated Sci-fi Adventure.

The winners were selected by a panel of local and international judges with a cross-section of industry expertise in Programming, Production, Marketing and Distribution.

“I was really impressed with the quality and the level of the scripts, “ said Lorraine O’Connor, Manager, C15 and one of ‘The Pitch’ judges. “Also the ideas, a lot of interesting ideas, fantasy and animation and we really did see a progression from the initial stage of judging to the final stage of judging. It really has a lot of benefits, we really need to fine tune our stories and our content, because that is really what people are looking at first.”

The Script to Screen Programme was a FilmTT initiative that was brought to life with the support from partnering organizations Stage 32, exporTT and TTT. The programme intended to position stakeholders at a greater advantage through access to business opportunities and professional growth. Local and international industry professionals facilitated the sessions which included practical components and funding incentives. The workshops aimed to bridge the gaps by providing filmmakers with the proper story/script writing skills, production tools, and marketing and distribution guidelines.

When asked about the future of the Script to Screen Programme, Leslie-Ann Wills-Caton, General Manager of FilmTT said: “The hope is to produce an actual programme that invites film industry professionals to present their story in front of a panel [e.g., Shark Tank] to acquire funding and potential distribution. The intention is for professionals to learn the art of pitching and be encouraged to create content in the process.”

“FilmTT is committed to focus on storytelling and creating content that contributes to the sustainability of our film industry and we are confident that this cohort of filmmakers are prepared to do business and make a scene as soon as the opportunity presents itself,” said Dionne Mc Nicol Stephenson, Chairman, FilmTT.