Maharaki – mistress of the short film
Film-maker Maharaki has been steadily gaining a reputation for producing excellent short films, and that reputation has now been solidified in a category specially created for her in last month’s Festival Prix de Court.
Her short, “Un achat compulsif” translated “A Compulsive Purchase” won the Audience Prize and Special Jury Mention for Humour. That prize was chosen by the public through voting online on the website of film festival, and the film received over 300 votes in less than 48 hours. The online traffic was so heavy that the website crashed for 6 hours. Festival Prix de Court is two year old Short Film Festival tours between Maharaki’s homeland Martinique, Guadeloupe and French Guyana.
“Un achat compulsif” is a comedy in which an upper class lady makes a purchase at a cheap dollar store. Realizing that the item is damaged, she decides to return it but the store clerk refuses to give her a refund. Things turn ugly yet extremely funny. The film was shot and edited in 48 hours with no other equipment but a small handycam, no professional actor and no financial support. Expenses included a bunch of flowers and a wooden bludgeon.
Barbadians would have seen evidence of Maharaki’s work in the music videos shot in Barbados for krosfyah and iNDRANi who, was nominated at the Barbados Music Awards. As a young filmmaker, she is regularly solicited to assist overseas productions in Barbados, and has worked on several projects, including behind-the-scenes shoot for Instyle magazine of Rihanna, and the Caterpillar shoot with Shontelle just last month. She has also won many prizes in International film festivals for her short films such as the one titled DIG IT which was recently showcased at the 2011 CaribbeanTales Film Festival held in Barbados.
“I’m very conscious that my career path requires that I aim for excellence at all times, as only the best of those who were not born and raised in the gated cinema family reach the realization of their project,” she is not hesitant to say. “I must produce quality short films, not only to train on short formats and show what I am capable of but especially to create opportunities to meet with the major production companies, move on to bankable feature films and represent the Caribbean at the highest level”.
Maharaki is an advocate of the process of making short films, which she believes is a required passage for any serious filmmaker who aims for directing feature films.
“Indeed an awarded short film at the Cannes Festival in France, at Berlinale in Germany or at Sundance in the United States is a secure pass to the Hollywood production machine. “In spite of my difficulties to finance my projects and finding production companies that would develop them, I do not give up because I know that I have chosen the career that corresponds to my ambitions and my potential,” she said.
And she’s at it again with the production of another short that is to be a Martinique/Guadeloupe/Barbados co-production film. Titled VIVRE, it is a drama that depicts a pre-teenager’s interpretation of the world and life in general.
“It’s a universal story that transcends geography and nationality, and it is for this reason that I chose to film between Martinique my homeland and Barbados my home of adoption; to further point out its universal content. In terms of production, 50% of the film will be shot in Barbados as I have chosen the main location of the film to be Harrison College, a landmark of education where most Barbadian prime ministers studied,” she revealed.
VIVRE is Maharaki’s fifth personal short film and sixth fiction film. It will be shot in English and Bajan in Barbados and French and Creole in Martinique and Guadeloupe. It will be fully dubbed in all four languages and subtitled. The crew will be an international one with two award-winning American Directors to join a highly trained Caribbean crew. This shoot will also provide a training experience for people interested in Production Management and Assistant Director.
“As education is one of the central themes of the VIVRE, we wish to offer a week before the beginning of the shoot the training course, after which the five best students will join the crew. The young actor playing “13 year old Tom”, the main character of the story will be Barbadian, whereas the actor playing “20, 30 then 40 year old Tom” will be either Martiniquan or Guadeloupean,” Maharaki said, adding that she is still seeking technical and financial support, and anyone interested in being cast can contact her on her website www.maharaki.com (AK)