CIFF wraps up with ‘sold out’ screening of Bazodee

By Jasminee Sahoye


Machel Montano and Natalie Perera in Bazodee
Machel Montano and Natalie Perera in Bazodee


By Jasminee Sahoye

The 11th Annual CaribbeanTales International Film Festival under the theme, ‘Caribbean Love’ wrapped up on Wednesday evening following the sold out Canadian screening of Bazodee, a new style Bollywood musical with a distinctly Caribbean island flavour.

It’s set on the vivid, colourful twin islands of Trinidad and Tobago, and pulsing with the sensuous dance rhythms of Soca music.

Those who have seen the film screening in the US prior to coming here are quoted as saying that they were entertained by main actor, music megastar and undisputed Soca King Machel Montano.

Some have given the film a “high five” for the role played by Montano and his co-star, Natalie Perera, a British actress and writer based in London, who is of Sri Lankan heritage.

            Perera is quoted in an interview on as saying Bazodee is a pleasurable film on the senses.

“Firstly, it’s of course set in gorgeous Trinidad and Tobago one of the most spectacular places on planet earth, with it’s vibrant culture and colour. Then there’s the pulsing, infectious and energetic glimpse of carnival and the music of Machel Montano that will make anyone want to get out of their seats and move. Lastly, it’s a love story set in this heaven and I was super excited to work with EMMY-nominated director Todd Kessler and jumped on this unique project wholeheartedly.”

Patrons of the almost two week long festival have praised the filmmakers for producing the stories. For one couple, who has been attending the festival every year, the stories and the quality of the films presented were worth their time and money.

There were a number of short and long films in the form of documentaries and narratives.

This year, an animated filmed – Battledream Chronicles produced by filmmaker Alain Bidard, who worked in Martinique for 16 years captured “The Big Pitched” prize and the People’s Choice Award at the eighth annual Caribbean Tales market incubator program that ended on September 11 at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) Lightbox.

Battledream Chronicles was created and directed by Bidard entirely on his own and it is his first feature film.

There were stories about migration and issues associated with it as well as positive storytelling of Queer/Trans People of Colour, Black Love and Women in Film.

Haitian-born actor and filmmaker, Jean Jean, presented a modern day crime drama of a Haitian woman, who has lived in the Dominican Republic for more than 35 years.

The child, for whose sake she had crossed the border returns only to discover that his mother is still struggling to get documents sorted to be granted status due to the Regulation Plan that the Dominican Republic government has launched.

Also, the issue of human and drug trafficking was brought to fore in a 70 minute film – Trafficked – written, produced and directed by Trinidadian’s Sean Hodgkinson.

Rainbow Revolution documents the inaugural week of Pride events in Jamaica 2015, a country often labelled as one of the most homophobic countries on earth.

Poignant moments in the film celebrate those who are being loud and proud about their sexual orientation, even as they describe the difficulties they face in the Jamaican society.

According to the organisers, the festival sought to address the complexities of Caribbean experience and expressions of love.

“From romantic love to the love and passion that leads to activism and revolution, these films showcased the strength and power of our diverse population,”said Frances-Anne Solomon, Founder and CEO of CaribbeanTales.