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Creative England Development Funding Projects Preview: Trinidad & Tobago-Set 'Black Rock'

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by Courtney
December 7, 2012 10:26 AM
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Creative England promotes up-and-coming filmmakers with its first talent development initiative, which was unveiled yesterday.

The program promotes the films and filmmakers that it is currently supporting with development funding - 36 feature film projects in total, from an exciting array of first and second-time filmmakers, as well as from more established talents from all over the world.

S&A will be highlighting those 36 feature film projects that are about, or by people of African descent, like this first one, titled Black Rock, which is based on the award-winning novel of the same name award-winning writer Amanda Smyth - a 1950s-set romantic drama that tells the story of one woman’s search for love and identity.

Here's a longer description, courtesy of Creative England and Amazon.com:

When her happy existence is threatened by the frightening attentions of her Uncle Roman, Celia flees to neighbouring Trinidad and then to England in search of her father. Her new job with a local doctor’s family brings forth a newfound independence that soon becomes a tangled and overwhelming web of secrets when Celia finds herself passionately involved with Dr Rodriguez, the master of the house.

Black Rock examines the life of someone whose life doesn't seem to be her own. Smart and beautiful, but poor and black, Celia can't escape the bad luck which a neighbour foretells for her. In the end, she makes her peace with the blows brought on her by fate: her decision to face her pain makes her stronger as she looks to the future. Told mainly from Celia's perspective, Smyth's writing resonates with the colours and the rythms of Tobago. She writes from Celia's perspective convincingly. Celia's story may be another variation of previous personal tales of life in islands colonized by white men -- according to the information on Black Rock, this is based on a true story -- but it is well-written and readable.

The British production of the film adaptation comes from Pipedream Pictures, with Amanda Smyth adapting from her own novel, and Shona Auerbach attached to direct.

Has anyone read the novel? If so, please chime in with your thoughts.

Side note: I searched for covers of the book that indicated this was a story about a black woman, but I couldn't find a single one! There is one with a woman with her back turned to the reader, but it's not all that clear that she's a black woman. I'd say that this is intentional by the publisher. We've addressed this before on S&A. A black woman's face on the cover, to them, probably means the book would automatically by categorized as a "black novel" meaning, white people would probably not even pick it up if they see it at their local bookstore, or bookstores would put it in the "black lit" section. 

The author is white by the way.

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