‘Art Connect’ sheds positive light on Laventille

No matter where you are in the world, there is always a neighborhood, section, or block in a particular place that carries some sort of bad reputation.

In Brooklyn, some might say Brownsville or Flatbush but in Trinidad and Tobago that place is known to be Laventille. Instead of focusing on the violence and sadness, filmmaker and director Miquel Galofre felt personally obligated to highlight a beam of light on children participating in a project titled “Art Connect” created by Wendell McShine.

“What was supposed to be a three-week project with a five minute video ended up being a year project with a feature documentary,” Galofre said in an email.

Galofre’s documentary, titled “Art Connect,” focuses on eight out of the 40 children participating in the arts connect program. The children were connected to artists dedicated to education and social change, creating visual art, music, and even mini-documentaries of their home lives with GoPro cameras.

“My favorite moment in the film is probably the GoPro footage that the students filmed by themselves. It gave us an access that is priceless and it showed how open and engaged with the project they were,” Galofre said.

In collaboration with BAMcinematek and the Caribbean Film Academy, “Art Connect” will screen at BAM’s Rose Cinemas March 15 as part of the quarterly Caribbean Film series.

“To quote one of the young men in the film, ‘Art is a picture of life.’ To see these Trinidadian youths lives transform on screen is amazing. We’re ecstatic to finally be able to present this documentary to Brooklyn and New York City audiences,” Justen Blaize, co-founder of The Caribbean Film Academy, said in a statement.

Galofre hopes audiences will look at the struggles of these teenagers as an international topic and realize how instrumental art can be to change a negative to a positive.

“To talk, to share your concerns, to open yourself and to get a passion can really completely change your life,” he said.

“Art Connect” will not be a one-and-done type of documentary. Galofre intends on shooting a follow-up documentary of the children’s lives 10 years after their participation in the program.

The showing of the film will be preceeded by a showing of “Auntie” a short film by Bajan filmmaker Lisa Harewood exploring the concept of barrels and “barrel children” — children shuffled between homes in the Caribbean and America.

Tickets are available on BAM’s website.

Caribbean Film Series at BAM [30 Lafayette Ave. between Ashland Place and St. Felix Street in Boerum Hill, (718) 636-4100, bam.org] March 15. 7:30 pm. $14.

Reach reporter Alley Olivier at (718) 260–8310 or e-mail her at aoliv[email protected]nglocal.com. Follow Alley on Twitter @All3Y_B.

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