So there they were, a legendary athlete, a famed painter and a renowned film producer, gathered together in the ballroom of the Shore Club resort with more than a hundred guests waiting as giddily as children searching for Willy Wonka’s golden tickets. Rather than tinsel foil-wrapped chocolate however, nine-time Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt led the unveiling of something even more exciting than a day at Wonka’s factory: incredible movies being screened in multiple inspiring locations, film industry workshops, interactive environmental outreach and a glamorous red carpet gala wrapped into the inaugural weekend of the upcoming Turks & Caicos International Film Festival (TCIFF) November 15-17, 2019.

“One of the great things about storytelling and filmmaking is it can change minds,” said TCIFF Festival Director Colin Burrows, the CEO of London based Special Treats Productions whose IMDb credits include several Bond productions and Oscar-nominated films like The Constant Gardener.

“It has been a long journey to get us to this point, but we have always had this central theme: we wanted to show movies about the oceans and the environment.”

Under the theme of Green & Blue, TCIFF aims to celebrate film-makers who are making a difference to the environment and promoting an understanding of ocean conservation issues.

“We want to engage people and change their minds,” Burrows stated, welcoming the audience and elucidating goals of the festival that run deeper than star wattage and cool movies, he said. “Beyond enjoying watching popcorn movies on the beach and the red-carpet glamour you expect from a film festival, the TCIFF has more in store.”

The Turks & Caicos International Film Festival will include a plethora of unique events. Visit tciff.org for tickets and complete details.

A glimpse of what more there is in store for TCIFF came by way of a locally produced short film featuring global artist Bradley Theodore Harvey live painting the official TCIFF 2019 illustration. Speaking of the potential impact of TCIFF come November and beyond, Harvey said, “There are some young kids here that are the future filmmakers of the world that have the opportunity to express what they see on a day-to-day basis, but they need to learn the skills.

“In order to learn the skills you have to have mentors, or you have to have the ability to research it. So by there being a film festival here, they are able to learn what is a good film, what is a story arc, all these things you wouldn’t know unless you have exposure to it.”

This sentiment was shared by Addison Stoddard, the CEO of Digicel TCI, a major sponsor of TCIFF as well as by the golden man himself, Digicel’s Chief Speed Officer Usain Bolt who offered an electrifying preview of the very star power the TCIFF team plans to expose local talents and festival-goers to.

Speaking of young filmmakers’ opportunity to have an international film festival come to them, Bolt remarked, “It gives them something to dream for, because I am sure there are a lot of filmmakers on the islands who need that extra push, that extra drive, to achieve their goals.”

For more information visit the festival’s website: tciff.org

Images: Putu Aryanto/Caya Hico Media