2016 / min. / NR
Director: Derek Burrows
Cast: Derek Burrows

CTFF 2017: Before The Trees Was Strange

Short Film: SHORT DROP

In Port of Spain, an unlikely encounter brings strangers together. Shanice jumps into the back seat of retired civil servant, Bartholomew’s car, mistaking it for a taxi and refuses to get out. What follows is a long day of reckoning with memories, friendships and revelations about the society of Trinidad and Tobago.


Filmmaker Derek Burrows’ intimate portrait of his own family and their relationship with their racial identity. The documentary contains footage shot over 30 years, and uses interviews, storytelling as well as poetry performances to tell this complex story.

The story revolves around the filmmaker and his siblings’ relationship with their mother, who insisted on seeing herself and her children as white, though it is apparent that they are not. The filmmaker chronicles his journey when he left the Bahamas in 1974, only to arrive in the States where he was seen and accepted as Black. He returns to the Bahamas, and after his mother dies, he feels free to explore the question of his own heritage in the Bahamas National Archives, through interviews of relatives and finally through DNA testing to come to terms with who he really is.

About the Festival

The CaribbeanTales International Film Festival (CTFF)  celebrates the talents of established and emerging filmmakers of Caribbean heritage who practise their art across the Caribbean Diaspora worldwide – including Canada and the Caribbean, Europe, the Americas, Africa, China, India and the Middle East. CTFF presents a multi-ethnic mix of exciting and dynamic films that showcase diverse shared stories and cultures.

Upcoming Screenings:

None Currently Scheduled