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Better Mus Come: Storm Saulter Calls For a Caribbean Film Aesthetic

Storm Saulter current filmmaker in residence at the UWI, Mona

Director Storm Saulter (Better Mus Come), the 2015 Filmmaker in Residence at the University of the West Indies, Mona is calling for the creation of a Caribbean film aesthetic and the strengthening of the writing undergirding Caribbean films, in order to create a more buoyant industry. 

“I speak loudest with my work” Saulter said when he arrived at the podium. It was a truth underscored not merely by the fact that the video he played was far more impressive introduction to the breath and significance of his work than the paltry student introduction that had gone before, but also because his body of work speaks more eloquently for the changes he seeks, than the lecture he delivered.

Yet the lecture certainly had several salient points and at its core is a call to create a distinctive Caribbean cinema aesthetic rooted in Caribbean experiences.

“When you can create an aesthetic, it overshadows any single film,” Saulter said.

Saulter, who is also the co-founder of New Caribbean Cinema and produce of their anthology film Ring Di Alarm, also pointed out that great writing is a key missing element from the Caribbean landscape. 

Storm Saulter during his lecture 'A New Caribbean Cinema' “We need to build up our ability and our uniqueness and we will command a place.” Saulter said. “The one thing that needs more strengthening here is story,”

Saulter explained that the region is replete with great stories, but what is missing are the writers to turn that story into a blueprint for the film. 

“We need good storytellers, We need good writers,” Saulter said. He went on to highlight the importance of writers. “The writers are the soul and the core of this whole thing,” he said.

Saulter explained that greater levels of innovation are required to improve output, but the region also needs to be strategic in the kinds of films it create and the ways it creates them. The director had high praise for filmmaking in Trinidad and Tobago which he remarked is currently producing the region’s best film festival as well as a community of filmmakers.

“We’re not trying to re-invent the wheel. We’re trying to create a fresh new movement,” he said.

Saulter also spoke to his own interest using film as a tool for advocacy. 

“I’m trying to do some good propaganda right ya now.” he said revealing that he had a particular interest in making films about the environment. 

Delving into the strategies employed in making Ring Di Alarm, Saulter called for innovative filmmaking. 

“We have to make suppem. We can’t just be talking and writing,” he said, going on to explain that it was important to make the right film at the right time. 

“We can’t just go out there and make a ton a film and hope one stick,” Saulter said. 

“People keep asking me how can I do something. You can do something by doing something,” advising urging all would-be filmmakers to shake off doubt and get in the game.

“Film is the ultimate fantasy world. We are creating dreams.”