T+T film, “The Cutlass” heads to Cannes

“The Cutlass” played to sold out audiences at the Trinidad + Tobago Film Festival last September, taking home the People’s Choice Award, and Best Trinidad + Tobago Feature Film. Now, it is headed to the Marché du Film at the Cannes Film Festival in May, a rarity for Trinidadian cinema.

Inspired by true events, “The Cutlass” is a dramatic thriller set in the tropical wilderness of Trinidad, and tells the story of a young woman who falls into the grasp of a dangerous sociopath. Taken from her friends at gunpoint and dragged deep into the island rainforest, she must quickly learn to navigate this unforgiving landscape and the tangled mind of her abductor. The film was directed by Darisha J. Beresford, written by Teneille Newallo and stars German born, Tobago raised Lisa-bel Hirschmann, Trinidadian Arnold Goindhan and Hollywood actor Kirk Baltz.

The film is one of three chosen by Film TT (formerly known as the Trinidad + Tobago Film Company) to receive both a grant and investment from the Trinidad + Tobago government. A list of additional sponsors can be found on the film’s website.

Newly signed to Leomark Studios (http://leomarkstudios.com) – a Los Angeles-based production and distribution company with more than 200 titles in release worldwide – “The Cutlass” will be making its international market premier as part of Leomark’s new market line-up.  The agency hopes to sell it to multiple territories around the globe, and has a track record of doing so.

The film has also signed to Wild Eye Releasing, a distribution company that bought its North American rights, with the exception of its theatrical release.

The producers of “The Cutlass” (Darisha J. Beresford, Teneille Newallo and Drew Umland) have

held onto the rights to all Caribbean distribution and to theatrical distribution in North America (which includes the US and Canada) and will self-distribute throughout these territories.  The film connected with both Wild Eye and Leomark through Ben Yennie at Guerrilla Rep Media, who has been been advising on all aspects of distribution.

Self-distribution on such a massive scale seems a first for any T+T film and the producers hope it might break new ground as a distribution model for the English-speaking Caribbean and its diaspora. “The Cutlass” will be at Cannes from May 17th to 26th, and is scheduled for a Caribbean theatrical release this August.

The Trinidad + Tobago theatrical release is scheduled for August 2nd, 2017 and the Caribbean, US and Canada theatrical release, thereafter.