Trinidad and Tobago Kidnap Movie Kills At Box Office

The Cutlass cutting it up after very successful debut in Toronto

By Stephen Weir for the Caribbean Camera
Kidnapping is a cottage industry in Trinidad. The Trinidad Guardian says that it “is a crime so epidemic that Trinidad ranks second in the world only behind Colombia for its rate of abductions”.
Trinidad is so synonymous with the crime that it is not surprising that a kidnap movie made on Tobago has gained a global following!  Since its 2017 Canadian debut in Toronto at the local Caribbean Tales Film Festival, The Cutlass has become one of the most successful T&T feature films made.
“We've actually had a bit of news for The Cutlass since we were in Toronto in September,” film producer Drew Umland
told the Caribbean Camera. “
“Independent films with a very limited marketing budget really have an uphill battle trying to reach their market. It truly is a grass roots effort. Showing The Cutlass at festivals like Caribbean Tales FF in Toronto really makes a difference in helping get the word out. We were overwhelmed by the turnout at the screening and the support shown by the Caribbean community in Toronto.”
It appears that Toronto really kicked off interest in the movie. “Probably the biggest news is that the film is now available “On Demand” on most major platforms throughout the US and Canada,” continued Umland. “This is a pretty big deal for us, and for the Caribbean film industry. The movie is available on Comcast, DirectTV, Dish, Amazon, iTunes, GooglePlay, Xbox, Fandango Now, VUDU and others. So we're pretty excited!”

Pictured at right: Director Darisha J. Beresford and executive producer
Drew Umland posed  at the fall Caribbean Tales Film Festival
photo by Stephen Weir

The movie was made by two Trinidadian women, director Darisha Beresford  and writer Darisha Beresford. The Cutlass is a dramatic thriller about kidnapping set in the tropical wilderness of Trinidad.
Joanna  (Tobago actress Lisa-Bel Hirschmann) reluctantly takes a day off from caring for her sick father to hang out with her friends on the remote beaches of Trinidad. But what was expected to be a much needed break, suddenly becomes a terrifying turn of events when the group is robbed at gunpoint by a crazed thief and Joanna goes missing.
Joanna finds herself isolated in a world of natural beauty as she musters the courage to emotionally battle the unsettled mind of her kidnapper. The Cutlass slices a path through the vines of intellect and delusion to explore the depths of mental strength, unforeseen sympathy, internal freedom and the human spirit.

The opening credits for 107 minute movie say that The Cutlass is based on a true incident.  Out of respect for the privacy victim and the victim's family we do not publicly discuss details regarding the identity of the victim, “ Umland told the Camera.
  Although the actual crime is never identified, the plot line is similar to the  real-life 2005 kidnapping of Jade Solis in the heavily forested Toco region of Trinidad. 
Like the movie police reports  place  Solis with a group of friends at the guest house having dinner, when a man armed with a cutlass and gun burst in. He took money, cell phones and the  granddaughter of businessman Eric Solis.
Hundreds of soldiers, police and dogs searched the forests before she was found walking along a path near the bush.  Apparently no ransom was paid.

pictured above - actor Arnold Goindham plays the crazed kidnapper  - production still.


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