Mas Man Peter Minshall, the documentary directed and produced by Trinidad-born freelance journalist Dalton Narine, has won the prestigious Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary at the New York International Film Festival (NYIFF). The documentary, a compelling 56-minute avant garde documentary about Caribbean carnival designer Peter Minshall, has also received an honourable mention at the 58th Columbus International Film + Video Festival which will be held in November. Narine described the documentary as neither story nor biography, but a portrait of the Trinity Cross and Emmy Award-winning designer who compiled masbands across three decades and served as an artistic director for Olympic Games in Barcelona, Atlanta and Salt Lake City.
“We made a very intense effort knowing that the film had been accepted to be shown at the New York Film Festival. We pulled out all stops in editing it to be shown at the major festivals,” said Narine, speaking from his base in Florida, yesterday. Apart from the New York Film Festival, he said the film had been nominated for three other best documentary prizes at film festivals in Ireland, Wales and South Africa. Mas Man was named the best documentary at the 2009 T&T Film Festival as a work in progress (with 87 minutes running time). The final cut is 56 minutes. NYIFF director Rich Rossi said, “There were a total of 65 documentaries screened at the NYIFF and Dalton Narine’s artistic merit, content and original avant garde style on Mas Man was a favourite among the selection committee and jury.”
NYIFF founder Stuart Alson commented, Mas Man Peter Minshall is simply brilliant in every way and it’s a festival highlight. Director Dalton Narine is talented and the movie is a hit with our NY audience as well as distributors and critics.” Narine has focused on Trinidadian art and cultural traditions in the 14 documentaries he has produced, directed and written in a span of 25 years. The collection of festival films and made-for-television programmes include: Masquerade, Streets of Colour, The Minshall Trilogy, Danse Trinidad, Mas Fever, Soca Nation, King Carnival and Panorama, Festival of the Pans. In 2003, he produced a documentary for TV on steelpan innovator Bertie Marshall in eight days.
Here’s what the critics are saying:
• “The Caribbean Lingo series proudly salutes Narine for celebrating Minshall and showcasing the significant Caribbean art form of ‘mas’ on film on the world stage via the New York International Film Festival.” — Misani, New York Amsterdam News
• “The film... looks at the miraculous career of Minshall—the multiple winner of the prestigious Trinidad Carnival Band of the Year honours whose visionary creations have been used in ceremonies at the 1987 Pan American Games, the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, the 1994 World Cup and the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics.” — Jared McCallister, New York Daily News
• “Minshall’s work is a superlative example of the richness and diversity of Trinidadian art and culture…” — Caribbean Life and Times, New York
• “Producer/director Dalton Narine and editor Benedict Joseph are to be congratulated by all who love the seven realms and beyond…” — Simon Lee, Trinidad Guardian
• “Admirable.” — Sheila Rampersad, Sunday Express
• “I was ready to dissect the film, but it dissected me. It blew me off the planet.” — Avotcja, radio host, KPOO-FM, San Francisco
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