Pan! Our Music Odyssey opens festival

Pan! Our Music Odyssey opens festival

The epic story of pan is told in Pan! Our Music Odyssey, premiering at the T&T Film Festival.

Pan! Our Music Odyssey, the long awaited documentary film about the steelpan, will have its world premiere at the ninth edition of the Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival (TTFF) on Sept. 16.

This 80-minute documentary fiction was written by Kim Johnson, a well-known pan researcher and author of the books The Illustrated Story of Pan and If Yuh Iron Good You is King. The film tells the epic, human story of pan – the only acoustic musical instrument invented in the 20th century – from Panits inception, through re-enactment stories, to its propagation around the world.

The film dramatizes an almost mythical invention of pan in the 1940s and then moves forward to tell the stories of people from all over the world – T&T, France, Japan, the U.S. – who have staked everything on their love of the instrument, and whose passion and daring draw them each year to the “world championships” of steelpan – Panorama.

​Belgium-born film-maker Jérôme Guiot – who has been awarded in France for his music video work with the pop artistes Stromae – directed the film. Barthélémy Fougea (who received the César, the French equivalent of the Oscar, for best documentary in 2014 for the film On the Way to School) and Jean Michel Gibert (Maturity Productions/ Caribbean Music Group) served as producers. The writer, director and producers will be present to introduce the film.

“I always thought of TT as the place to unveil Pan! to the public,” said Gibert. “I am happy we will be doing so at the TTFF before the film travels abroad to other film festivals, theatrical releases and network television.”

Pan! is interlaced with dramatic re-enactments of the rags-to-riches tale of the steelband movement, which was born into poverty and violence but climbed to the highest levels of social and artistic Pan Logoacceptance without losing its life-or-death urgency.

The result is an extraordinary global human adventure, as rousing and life-affirming as any great pan symphony.

Opening night events for TTFF/14 are at the Lord Kitchener (Aldwyn Roberts) Auditorium at the National Academy for the Performing Arts in Port-of-Spain. The festival will run through Tuesday, Sept. 30.