Rawlins pitches TraytownWednesday, September 22, 2021
BY RICHARD JOHNSON
FILM producer Nadean Rawlins is excited about the next stage in the development of the film Traytown .
The film — written by Letay Williams — is among the entries up for the Audience Choice Award and a pitch competition organised by a Canadian organisation Creators of Colour, and which comes under the auspices of the world-famous Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), which ended on Saturday.
Rawlins, Williams, and their pet project Traytown became involved with TIFF, one of the world's most influential film festivals, thanks to an association with Caribbean Tales, the Canada-based media group which submitted the film project to be part of a two-week long incubator programme.
“This was so good for us,” Rawlins told the Jamaica Observer. “We were immersed in refining our pitch to film producers and funders. So throughout the days we would pitch then listen to critiques and go back work on it and come back for the final submission — a three-minute-long pitch which is entered into The Big Pitch competition, which has a grand prize of CDN$10,000. Our trailer was also entered into the audience Choice Award. Both categories will be announced at the end of this month,” she continued.
Traytown tells the story of an aspiring Jamaican female politician in pursuit of becoming the Member of Parliament for the community of Traytown. Along the way, she encounters a number of roadblocks, including the fact that she is seen as an outsider by members of the community and also guards her own personal secret... she is having an affair, with a woman.
The 13-minute short has been doing the film festival rounds and seeking other forms of fund-raising in order to develop into a series for international streaming platforms.
But what would winning these two categories at TIFF do for Traytown?
“The truth is, just being on a platform such as this is a great thing. It definitely gives us some legs. We have been able to network with some top-level producers, funders, show runners, and other people in the industry. Meeting with them like this allows them to see your passion,” said Rawlins.
“But should we win we would be putting the funds into script development. You just have to start with a good story. We are three years into this project, and we are into draft three of the script. Having a solid script takes time and funds. This involves hiring writers and doing the research necessary. We are also in talks for co-production deals. We are in discussion with parties in the UK under a film production treaty that we have with that country, but it's early days yet. Initially we had set 2022 to start preparing production, but that has been pushed back, but it's a good thing as we now have the time to apply for more funding. At times it feels like we are moving at a snail's pace, but the truth is things are happening,” she continued.
Traytown stars singer Jovi Rockwell, Gabrielle Murdock, Ramon Walker, and Paul Issa, and is co-directed by Rawlins and Gareth Cobran.