The documentary about Nobel Prize-winning poet Derek Walcott, Poetry is an Island, had its world premiere at the 2013 T&T Film Festival (TTFF) on Saturday.
The film, which was directed by Ida Does, focuses on Walcott’s creative process and his dedication to art. Both Walcott and Does were present at the screening and participated in a question- and-answer session.
Does, in an e-mail interview, said she was happy the film was premiering at TTFF. “I think it’s great since Walcott has lived in Port-of-Spain for many years and has a history of working in the arts there.”
She also said her team was developing a film festival strategy to turn Poetry is an Island into a travelling film. Does is going to have the film subtitled in at least three languages and will be producing a DVD package with extra footage for sale.
Post-production of Poetry is an Island was completed through crowd-funding between April and March. Does said the support came from both fans of Walcott and corporate sponsors.
“On the one hand a lot of people were fans of Walcott, or simply loved the whole idea of a movie being made of our great poet, while he can still participate. On the other hand we have been sponsored by some corporate donors who want to contribute to the arts and to the legacy of Walcott. So that’s a wonderful thing. I like to think of it,
as an energy that recognised our own intention, being a labour of love,” she said.
Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter also helped Does promote the film and gauge the response from the Caribbean. While there was support from people all over the world, Does said people in Barbados, T&T and Walcott’s home St Lucia gave the most support.
“People were waiting for this film and kept saying: I can’t wait to see this film. We ourselves couldn’t wait to see it, while we were still in the
middle of the whole process of editing, the actual making of the film…It was an interesting experience.”
Poetry is an Island was shot on location in St Lucia, where Walcott lives, and in Trinidad, where he lived and worked for many years.
The film includes footage of Walcott reading his poetry and painting, interviews with his friends and family, and scenes from the places immortalised in his poetry.
Walcott is a poet, playwright and painter who has written nearly 20 books of poetry and more than 20 plays.