Trinidadian filmmaker Michael Mooleedhar wants to see a unified Caribbean film industry.
The director of Green Days by the River was speaking to Bajan Vibes at the launch of the Barbados Independent Film Festival.
He contended that not just borders divided the film industry in the region.
“I want the Caribbean to become more [united] so it can actually be a real marketplace. Right now with, it being separate . . . , each [country] is a barrier to reach, to communicate with,” said the young filmmaker.
Mooleedhar said he hoped his films would transcend beyond Trinidad’s borders and receive screenplay across the islands of the region.
Revelling in the similarities between the islands, Mooleedhar revealed that when the movie adaptation of the 1967 Michael Anthony novel debuted in Belize, people were amazed at the architectural likeness of Trinidad to the Central American country.
Mooleedhar said the culture and issues in Green Days by the River resonated with those within the Caribbean diaspora.
“This film is for every Caribbean person and I think it is important because the history of Trinidad is the history of almost all the Caribbean islands,” he said.
Green Days by the River is set in colonial 1952 Trinidad and follows the story of Shell who is caught in a bittersweet love triangle with two girls. It explores the love life of a young man who is growing into adulthood.
Over 800, 000 copies have been sold throughout the region.
Mooleedhar received the rights to adapt the novel in 2014, but it took three years before the film was finally released to the public. Thoroughly involved in production every step of the way, the young director told Bajan Vibes he wanted to present the Caribbean viewer with a new cinematic experience.
“I just liked that it was going so far back into the history of the Caribbean because a lot of the movies, they seem to be a little more gangster. I wanted to make a nice family kind of movie that you never experienced before,” he explained.
“There is a sense of pureness and connection to nature in those simpler times. It is so different from where we are living now and it makes you think like, ‘Wow, life was really so different back then and yet kind of the same’.”
Mentioning that the adaptation of Caribbean literature and folklore was uncharted territory, Mooleedhar was elated with the growing success of the 102 minute film within the Caribbean region.
“Your first feature film is like a monster. You don’t know how it is going to come out but it is like a lot of work. I grew as a director in the process . . . I learnt better management . . . how to create the story that I want. I became a better film maker by making the movie,” he stated.