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Director’s horror film goes beyond the dark side

Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Film director, Christopher Din Chong, left, and publicist Damian Sogren. Photo: Glenville Ashby

Trinidadian Christopher Din Chong makes his way through the tight security to the New York Press Office on first avenue. He has just returned from the T&T consulate, where the trailer to his full length horror flick 3 Line, will debut in a few days. His adrenaline is still flowing. He is accompanied by his publicist Damian Sogren. 

The consummate artist, Christopher’s DNA is all over the movie. 

“I wrote, produced, directed and even acted,” said this physics major turned film aficionado, a sense of pride and accomplishment very evident. In his native country, where folklore and the spiritual have long merged into a cultural archetype, Christopher is dead-on in assuming that he’s unto something big. 

“This genre in movies has a huge following. 3 Line is a “mockumentary,” he added, using the term to describe fictitious events shot in a documentary format. He paused, musing about the possibilities, then mentioned The Blair Witch Project, a low budget venture which proved enormously successful. 

“In my movie, I am not recreating the wheel, but it will have more than a few surprises.” 

He talks about the protagonists, Seth and Troy, the respective villain and hero. In our mind’s eye, we get glimpses of the Trinidad coastline, Lady Hochoy Home and Central Market, the backdrop to some of its scenes. There is even a hint that one of the island’s legendary folk character of the underworld will make an appearance. But Christopher clearly prefers to ride the anticipation, only wetting the appetite of the curious. 

“All I could divulge is that there is a great twist to it all,” he said, with a wry smile. The official launch takes place after T&T Carnival. We must steel our nerves and wait till then. “Horror (films) are top box offices because there is possibly a dark side lurking in us all,” he surmised, adding that, “we sometimes have a fantasy which we live out vicariously through the characters.” 

But Christopher’s vision transcends the parameters of acting and directing. His acute eye for business, matched only by his love for everything Trinbagonian, is reflective in his clarion call, for every sector of “our society” to embark on a journey in film making, hitherto uncharted. 

“In Trinidad there is still this traditional way of marketing. What we are now discussing is effective use of new media, along with product placement in films. This means that you sit in a room with investors and local film producers to strategise on how brands can best be marketed in features. This has not been explored and this is what my company, Create is undertaking,” he explained. 

His plans are ambitious and novel for Trinidad, and indeed the rest of the Caribbean. He is working with Government officials to ease the cumbersome bureaucratic process, weary it could scupper plans of foreign directors to use his country as a veritable film destination.  “The objective is to create the right climate and infrastructure; in addition to having all the amenities in film making at the disposal of directors. This is what a film concierge service is all about,” he stated. 

And as if on a panel of economic advisors, he injected his initiative for sustained national growth. “No one can argue that we need greater economic diversification. Imagine the potential for job creation and even tourism, with a revitalised and robust film industry that caters to the world.”  Christopher is driven, no doubt. His publicist, seasoned in event planning and media relations, glances at his client, well aware of the challenge ahead. 

“He’s different. He’s someone with vision and insightful ideas, but there is great interest in what he is saying. The industry here is still in its embryonic stage so there is a lot of growth ahead.” As they prepare to leave the room, the movie 3 Line somehow reemerges as the point of discussion. “Terror exists. It’s all part of our reality,” Christopher philosophised.


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