Press Release:-This weekend will see not just one, but two St Lucia Feature ﬁlms competing with a Haitian ﬁlm for the coveted ‘Best Documentary Prize’ at the regions most celebrated ﬁlm festival in Trinidad & Tobago.
Both documentaries centre on St Lucia, and both have been made by overseas ﬁlmmakers with a love for St Lucian culture.
A third documentary entitled ‘St Lucia Speaks’, has also been made by an overseas ﬁlmmaker and competes for the festival’s short ﬁlm prize. The ﬁrst feature ‘Make Mine Country’, by US ﬁlmmaker Ian Berry, documents St Lucia’s love of Country and Western music.
The second feature is the much anticipated ‘Diva – Enemy of the People’, a documentary about the controversial inaugural Hot Couture fashion show of 2013.
For both ﬁlm directors, the ﬁlms were labours of love and have taken some years to come to fruition, partly due to self ﬁnancing and limited resources.
Make Mine Country was crowd funded, whilst Diva was partially self funded buy its UK director Tony Oldham.
Diva – Enemy of the People, follows the controversial St Lucian Vincent McDoom in his quest to stage the 2013 Hot Couture fashion show.
Whilst the show was intended to be a celebration of the Island’s fashion designers and models, many St Lucian’s know what followed and the erupting controversy that eventually surrounded the show.
Many media outlets extensively covered Vincent’s fall out with the Island’s fashion industry that resulted in a partly politicised Hot Couture show. Of course in 2013, Vincent and the show generated signiﬁcant press coverage, detracting to some extent from the fashion; it ultimately lead to a post Hot Couture fall out with SLTB.
So does the ﬁlm cover all events of Hot Couture and what really happened? The director stresses that it is important to note that the documentary was and is fully independent, and that Vincent played no role in its editing process.
In fact the editing process proved most difﬁcult to the director as he sought to ﬁnd the right narrative for the ﬁlm before settling on its ﬁnal structure.
The director hopes that the ﬁlm will perhaps help to highlight the beauty and potential that St Lucian designers and models offer the wider world.
The politics of what transpired at Hot Couture, and the social commentary on issues such as sexuality do feature within the documentary, but to a much lesser extent than the fashion.
Vincent’s one main aim was to raise standards of the fashion industry in St Lucia, and both his passion and endeavours for St Lucia are more than evident within the ﬁlm.
THE FUTURE OF SLU FASHION
Since that inaugural fashion show in 2013, some of its designers have enjoyed exposure on the wider world fashion stage, and some of its models have also extended their exposure internationally.
However, there is no doubt that more could be done. “There is no major fashion player in the region, and seeing talents such as Meme Bete progress as they have done, I see no reason why St Lucia cannot start to build on these foundations…’
The director Tony Oldham was surprised by the breadth of talent of both designers and models alike, and sees the potential for a major Eastern Caribbean fashion hub. In fact the OECD sees the fashion trade as a key to the growth of any emerging economy.
It sees the Apparel industry as labour intensive rather than capital intensive’. St Lucia in particular has a vast amount of seamstresses, dress makers, pattern cutters, and creatives that could beneﬁt from kick starting an apparel industry. Why shouldn’t St Lucia be the centre of a Caribbean fashion hub? CARIBBEAN FILMMAKING Diva’s director, remains fascinated by the potential for stories both on St Lucia and other islands and is familiar with many of the Island’s main ﬁlmmakers. It’s unfortunate for local ﬁlmmakers that funds remain limited with TV stations also limited in resources.
But he’s optimistic that there are funds and initiatives made available through organisations such as Trinidad & Tobago Film Festival, and Caribbean Tales.
He states that ‘local ﬁlmmakers should do their best to check out these initiatives, but if all else fails, my advice is to just go out and do it. That’s how Diva Enemy of the People was born.’
DivaEnemy Diva – Enemy of the People will be shown in St Lucia later in 2016 or 2017.
Vincent McDoom is also planning a Gala screening for 2016.
If you would like further information or details regarding the ﬁlm, please feel free to contact us at: bsvﬁ[email protected]