Rawlins takes director's chairTuesday, September 08, 2020
By Brian Bonitto
AWARD-WINNING theatre thespian, Nadean Rawlins makes her directorial debut in the short film Traytown, which premieres at the Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival on Saturday.
It is one of several local films on show at the virtual film fest, which begins tomorrow and runs until next Tuesday.
“It's my first time in film. It's my maiden voyage as a film director and producer. It was new, it was challenging. I was in a space that I did not have any idea how to navigate having done stage; but this is a whole different ball game. More people to work with. When you look at our closing credits we have almost a hundred people doing a 13-minute film. So many moving parts...It was a learning process for me... like for example lighting and angles, cameras,” Rawlins told the Jamaica Observer yesterday.
She said there are plans for Traytown to become a serial.
Written by Letay Williams, Traytown is co-sponsored by the British Council, Jamaica Film and Television Association (JAFTA) and Jampro. Ludo Smolski is credited as story editor while Gareth Cobran shares director duties with Rawlins. It was shot on location in Kingston.
The film follows aspiring politician Aria Sawyer as she pulls out all the stops to become Traytown's next Member of Parliament. Sawyer is played by singer Jovi Rockwell.
Rockwell (Joelle Clarke her given name) grew up in middle class Norbrook. She has collaborated with Bruno Mars, Flo Rida, MIMS, Akon and Ne-Yo, and is featured on projects by Major Lazer.
Other cast members include Gabrielle Murdock, Paul Issa and Ramon Walker.
Rawlins said her acting background assisted her in getting the cast to buy into Traytown's vision.
“I have been acting for 20 years and most of what I've done is on stage. I think what I brought to production is directing the actors — getting them to internalise what the cast is doing so they could portray that and tell their story – and keeping the integrity of the script,” she said.
The veteran actress had high praise for the local film industry's growth and development. She, however, bemoaned the lack of investors.
“I want investors to pay special attention to the theatre, film and television especially, during this period of COVID where everybody is turning to the digital space for content and entertainment. We can't go to those big events anymore, we have to see it on our phones and on our computers. We need the investors to pay attention and look at this industry keenly and see where they can help, because we're crying out for their assistance. We need their help,” she said, adding: “There needs to be some conversation as where people can go to develop their craft. Yes, you have JAFTA, and JAMPRO to some extent, doing what they need to do but there needs to be a lot more focus and highlight brought to this industry, because there's a lot of content out there.”
Rawlins is principal of Raw Talent, a company that grooms aspirants for a career in theatre and the arts. In 2018 she won the Actor Boy Award for Best Actress In A Supporting Role in the University Players' Telling Tales. She has also directed the plays Country Duppy, Her Last Cry and the award-winning play The Black That I Am.
Other Jamaican films on show at the Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival include Out Of Many (Rebecca Williams), and Yellow Girl and Me (Isabella Issa).
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