ttff/22 Banyan Retrospective: A celebration of local film and television pioneers

When Trinbagonians of a certain age hear of Banyan, the following memories come to mind – AVM, Sprangalang, Gayelle, Cross Country.

As they remember, some even begin to sing:
“I am free and free,
Just follow me
And you will see, you and me,
It’s so good to be
Free and free…”

Sung by Oliver Chapman, this simple melody was the theme to the popular Trinidad and
Tobago Television’s docu-series “Cross Country”, throwback to the 80s. It is important for us to
recognize these early local film and television products as relevant to the development of

the trinidad+tobago film festival (ttff/22) fully embraces this concept. His theme #Seeyuhself
reflects, among other things, the pioneering work of Banyan Productions and its founders.
Presented with the support of The National Gas Company of Trindad and Tobago Limited
(NGC), ttff/22 celebrates Banyan in this year’s retrospective.

Pat Ganase wrote,
“Imagine the 1970s… There is a new Trinidadian who has come a long way. Not only doctors and lawyers, they return to teach, and teach through other media: literature, publishing, audiovisual and cinema, theater and mas, arts. Enter Suzanne and Hugh Robertson, Tony Hall, Christopher Laird, Peter Minshall, the wives of Trini with
their husbands, Trini husbands with their wives.

Ganase described how natural it was for Tony Hall to look to Banyan as a vehicle to access a Caribbean
street theater and declared it the talent that has shaped and informed many Banyan productions.
Unquestionably, many of our local TV and movie veterans can be considered “Banyan’s children.” Read Ganase’s full article on Banyan from page 9 of the ttff/22 printed guide

The retrospective program is a central part of ttff/22 and runs from September 22-28. It includes several events that take place at NALIS on Hart and Abercromby Streets, Port of Spain. These include screenings of some of Banyan’s most important television works; a ttff conversation with Dr Bruce Paddington and Christopher Laird; and an exhibition of photos, memorabilia and more at the Rotonde de NALIS – all of which are free and open to the public.

For more information see your ttff/22 festival guide or visit

About Herbert L. Leonard

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