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Oct 14, 2004

Calypso Dreams - The Roots of Kaiso in Trinidad & Tobago

Geoffrey Dunn and Michael Horne spent 3 1/2 years making the definitive documentary film on calypso music and now it may be set to break wide open.

Calypso DreamsCould Calypso Dreams be the next Buena Vista Social Club? In 2002, a rough cut of Calypso Dreams earned the prize for Best Caribbean Documentary at the Jamerican Film Festival in Montego Bay. And when the movie premiered in Port of Spain, Trinidad, where it was filmed, the mayor declared the entire week "Calypso Dreams Week".

Calypsonian Crazy put it best when he compared the filmmakers to the founder of Island Records: "What Chris Blackwell did with reggae, is what you all are doing for calypso."

Geoffrey says "My 'calypso dream' is that the film introduces the culture to a global audience, but also provides a direct line to Trinidad and calypso and to these men and women in their prime and beyond their prime, and finally get these guys paid. What we want to see happen, is the calypsonians get recognized, and that the music gets spread through the distribution of the film. Our goal is to get it out there and take care of some of the old guys. In Trinidad, there's a certain level of reverence for the culture, and a certain level of lip service being paid to it. There are old, legendary calypsonians who are homeless down there who live in absolute poverty. They have no support from the culture or the community itself - it's one of the great ironies." The producers were touched by Lord Pretender who died in poverty before the film was completed.

Full Cast and Crew for Calypso Dreams
Directed by: Geoffrey Dunn & Michael Horne
Produced by:
Geoffrey Dunn, Michael Horne, Mark Schwartz, Eric Thiermann
Co-Produced by: Alvin Daniell, Sandra Derrell, & Andrew Marcano
Publishing Rights:
COTT and Ice Records (Eddy Grant)

Cast (in alphabetical order)
Brother Akil .... Himself
Edwin Ayoung .... Himself (as Crazy)
Harry Belafonte .... Himself
Lord Blakie .... Himself
Leroy Calliste .... Himself (as Black Stalin)
Mighty Chalkdust .... Narrator
Nat 'King' Cole .... Himself (archive footage)
Sandra Des Vignes-Millington .... Herself (as Singing Sandra)
Mighty Duke .... Himself
Alric Farrell .... Himself (as Pretender)
Slinger Francisco .... Himself (as The Mighty Sparrow)
Clyde "Lightning" George .... Himself (Panist Double-Tenor)
Willard Harris .... Himself (as Relator)
Winston Henry .... Himself (as Explainer)
Irwin Reyes Johnson .... Himself (as Scrunter)
Carlton Joseph .... Himself (as Warlord Blakie)
Lord Kitchener .... Himself (archive footage)
Roy Lewis .... Himself (as Mystic Prowler)
Hollis Liverpool .... Narrative commentator (as Mighty Chalkdust)
Lutalo Makossa Masimba .... Narrative commentator (as Brother Resistance)
Mudada .... Himself
Regeneration Now .... Himself
Percy Oblington .... Himself (as Striker)
Michael Anthony Osuana .... Himself (as Sugar Aloes)
Winston Peters .... Himself (as Gypsy)
Kelvin Pope .... Himself (as Mighty Duke)
Poser .... Himself
Power .... Himself
Lord Pretender .... Himself
Mystic Prowler .... Himself
Lord Relator .... Himself
Trinidad Rio .... Himself
Calypso Rose .... Herself
David Rudder .... Narrative commentator
Clifton Ryan .... Himself (as Bomber)
McArtha Linda Sandy-Lewis .... Herself (as Calypso Rose)
Mighty Sparrow .... Himself
Black Stalin .... Himself
Lord Superior .... Himself
Brother Valentino .... Himself
Zandolie .... Himself

Trinidad Express, October 14th 2004, part of the article....
....Three years in the making, Calypso Dreams also pays homage posthumously to a number of other calypsonians, including Lord Kitchener, Lord Pretender, and Mystic Prowler. Narrative is provided by Chalkdust, David Rudder and Brother Resistance, while Cro Cro and Denyse Plummer supply additional commentary. Archival footage of Kitchener, Bomber and Ras Shorty I and a fascinating collection of reconstructed historical photographs form part of the package.

Produced and directed by American filmmakers Geoffrey Dunn and Michael Horne, Calypso Dreams premiered to wide critical acclaim in Port of Spain last Carnival season at MovieTowne and was recipient of an audience favorite award at the Washington DC International Film Festival in May. It won Best Documentary Feature at the Jamerican Film Festival and staged its US premiere at the prestigious Mill Valley Film Festival last fall, at which rock singer Bonnie Raitt jumped onstage to sing along with the music of Calypso Rose.

Dunn told the Express that Calypso Dreams is on the verge of signing a major distribution deal, which includes international release. He recently met with Copyright Organisation CEO Allison Demas and agreed on a formula that will allow the film to be distributed and directly benefit calypsonians involved in the production.....