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Toussaint L’Ouverture Rises to Cop Top Prizes at Trinidad and Tobago Film Fest 2012

Jimmy Jean-Louis as the titular character in Toussaint L'Ouverture

Port of Spain, Trinidad: The historical epic Toussaint L’Ouverture, directed by Philippe Niang snagged two of the top awards at the recently concluded Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival (TTFF) 2012.  The film earned the People’s Choice award for Best Narrative Feature while its star, Jimmy Jean-Louis, best known as the silent Haitian in the television series Heroes, copped the jury prize for Best Actor in a Caribbean Film.
Sergio Ramírez’ Distance earned the jury prize for the Best Narrative Feature. Set in the aftermath of the Guatemalan civil war, Distance is the story of an elderly man searching for his kidnapped daughter. The Bastard Sings the Sweetest Songs, by Christy Garland earned the prize for Best Caribbean Film by an International Filmmaker.
Distance by Sergio Ramirez copped the award for Best Narrative FeatureThe Story of Lover’s Rock by Menelik Shabazz, which explores the growth of lovers rock subgenre in the United Kingdom, skanked away with the the award for Best Documentary Feature, while the prize for Best Short was awarded to Peace: Memories of Anton de Kom by Ida Does.
TTFF also has specific awards geared at Trinidadian films. In these categories, Mariel Brown earned Best Local Film for her documentary Inward Hunger, a piece of Eric Williams. Ryan Latchmansingh’s Where the Sun Sets earned the award for Best Local Short.
Along with the award to Toussaint L’Ouverture, two other People’s Choice Awards were given out. These went to Janine Fung for La Gaita (Documentary Feature) and Steven Taylor for Buck: The Man Spirit (Best Short). Other awards included the RBC Focus: Filmmakers’ Immersion Pitch Award which was copped by Michelle Serieux and the Film Criticism Award nabbed by Barbara Jenkins for her review of Lucy Mulloy’s Una Noche.
The awards were announced at the annual gala awards ceremony, held at the National Academy for the Performing Arts, Port-of-Spain, on Sunday, September 30, 2012. Over TT$170,000 in cash and other prizes were awarded. TTFF 2012 officially closed on October 2. The festival had screened over 120 shorts, full length features and documentaries at locations across the twin island republic.
Complete list of winners below:


Best Narrative Feature: 
Distance, directed by Sergio Ramirez
Best Documentary Feature: 
The Story of Lover’s Rock, directed by Menelik Shabazz
Best Short
Peace: Memories of Anton de Kom, directed by Ida Does
Best Caribbean Film by an International Filmmaker: 
The Bastard Sings the Sweetest Song, directed by Christy Garland


Special mentions in the best film category:
Best Narrative Feature: 
Choco, directed by Jhonny Hendrix Hinestroza
Best Documentary Feature: 
Broken Stones, directed by Guetty Felin
Best Short
: Awa Brak, directed by Juan Francisco Pardo


Jury Awards: Best Local Films
Best Local Feature: 
Inward Hunger, directed by Mariel Brown
Best Local Short
: Where the Sun Sets, directed by Ryan Latchmansingh


Jury Awards: Acting
Best Actor in a Caribbean Film: 
Jimmy Jean-Louis, Toussaint L’Ouverture, directed by Philippe Niang
Best Actor in a Local Film: 
Christopher Chin Choy, Where the Sun Sets, directed by Ryan Latchmansingh
Best Actress in a Local Film
: Terri Lyons, No Soca, No Life, directed by Kevin Adams


People’s Choice Awards
Narrative Feature
: Toussaint L’Ouverture, directed by Philippe Niang
Documentary Feature: 
La Gaita, directed by Janine Fung
Best Short
Buck: The Man Spirit, directed by Steven Taylor


Other Awards
Film in Development Award: 
Cutlass, Deresha Beresford & Teneille Newallo
WorldView/Tribeca Film Film Institute Pitch Awards: 
Ryan Khan, 
Joaquin Ruano, and 
Natalie Wei
RBC Focus: Filmmakers’ Immersion Pitch Award
: Michelle Serieux
Film that Best Epitomises Cultural Diversity: 
Stone Street, directed by Elspeth Kydd
Film Criticism Award: 
Barbara Jenkins, “Three’s a Crowd”, review of Una Noche, directed by Lucy Mulloy
Film Criticism Special Mentions
: Dainia Wright, Renelle White
Best Student, University of the West Indies Film Programme
: Dinesh Maharaj
AfroPop/National Black Programming Consortium Emerging Documentary Filmmaker Award
: Mandisa Pantin
50-Second Film Competition: 
M Jay Gonzalez