‘Caroni’ by Ian Harnarine at TIFF

Ecxerpt from York at TIFF

In TIFF this year, Ian Harnarine’s Caroni is making its international debut. According to Harnarine, the film depicts the relationship between a mother and daughter, both living in different parts of the world. The main character, Rajni, faces the dilemma of not being with her daughter, Mosaic, who lives in Trinidad and Tobago. Rajni begins to work out how she can be with Mosaic for her birthday.

“It’s the story of a West-Indian nanny that lives in New York, and she has to figure out how to connect with her daughter who she is going back to Trinidad to see. Her birthday is coming up, and it’s sort of the practical issues that arise from that,” describes Harnarine.

With West-Indian parents, the film has personal ties to Harnarine’s life,however the concept arose from his time living in New York.

“I was born and raised in Toronto,” Harnarine explains. “But I’ve been living in New York for the past 15 years. Living in New York, if you’re ever in a middle- class neighbourhood like Brooklyn or Manhattan,
you always see white children being pushed in a stroller by West-Indian nannies.

“I always wondered who these women are or what their stories are.”

Attending York from 1997 to 2002, Harnarine studied physics and astronomy. Due to the restrictions placed on taking film courses at York, Harnarine came across a humanities film course that allowed him to explore his interest. “It was a class that opened up my eyes to storytelling, and introduced me to the art form.”

Harnarine eventually went on to New York University, where he received an MFA from their graduate school. His film, Doubles With Slight Pepper,premiered at TIFF in 2011, winning the award for Best Canadian Short Film.

Caroni made its international debut on September 11 as part of the Short Cuts Programme 08. It also screens twice more on September 12 for press and industry, and the public can view it again on September 16 at 7:15 p.m.


Article by: Victoria Silman