Filmmaker and Caribbean Awards for Excellence Laureate, Robert Yao Ramesar will deliver the inagural public lecture in the University of the West Indies (UWI)/Anthony N Sabga Caribbean Awards distinguished lecture series. The feature address is titled “The Story Made Light: Yao Ramesar and the Language of Caribbean Film” and will take place on September 13 at the Learning Resource Centre (LRC), UWI St Augustine. The event is free and open to the public. The Caribbean Awards Laureates are chosen based on the quality of their work, in keeping with the stated goal of the Anthony N Sabga Caribbean Awards, to honour distinguished Caribbean citizens who exemplify Caribbean life, and to promote and foster the pursuit of excellence by Caribbean persons for the benefit of the Caribbean community.
Ramesar (BA, MFA Film Directing) is a Lecturer in Film at The UWI St Augustine Campus, and he remains a cornerstone of the emerging local and regional film culture. He began the teaching of filmmaking at the tertiary level in Trinidad and Tobago, fostering a generation of emerging filmmakers who have produced over 140 diverse films on Trinidad and Tobago that have been screened locally, regionally and internationally. One of the most accomplished and prolific directors of his generation, he has created over 120 films on the people, history and culture of Trinidad and Tobago, screening in more than 100 countries throughout Africa, Asia, North, South and Central America, Eastern and Western Europe, and throughout the Caribbean. Honours for his work include the Paul Robeson Awards (US) for Best Film & Best Editing (1990) and Best Cinematography (1991); the Critics’ Choice Award at the Global Africa Film Festival (U.S) 1992; the Royal Bank/MATT awards for Best Television Series 1996; Best Editing, Best Supporting Video and Best Television Series 1997; Best Supporting Video 1998 (Trinidad); the Saraswatti Devi Award 2000; and Decibel Award 2002; Most Popular Feature Film, Flashpoint Film Festival (Jamaica) 2006; Caribbean Cinema Award, Studio 66 Arts Support Community (Trinidad) 2006; Best Caribbean Film and Best Director, Bridgetown Film Festival (Barbados) 2007.
At the inaugural Caribbean Awards in 2006, Ramesar received the Caribbean Award for Arts & Letters, and was one of three Laureates who all shared a connection to The UWI. The other two were Professor Terrence Forrester (Science and Technology) and Monsignor (Msgr) Gregory Ramkissoon (Public and Civic Contributions. Msgr Ramkissoon set up the the Mustard Seed Community, a child rights and poverty alleviation mission in Jamaica in 1978, and it has since grown and spread to Europe, the US, Latin America and Africa. Professor Forrester unified four research units across three UWI campuses when he spearheaded the formation of the Tropical Medical Research Institute, which merged the Tropical Metabolism Research Unit, the Sickle Cell Research Unit and the Epidemiology Research Unit at UWI Mona, and the Chronic Disease Research Unit in Barbados.