Curaçao native, Rovendley Welvaart, emerges as the region’s top filmmaker coming out of the PlayGo Emerge Film Competition. After more than three months of calls for entries, judging and public voting, his film Tahit reigned supreme, capturing the prize for the Drama category, the People’s Choice Award, and the Grand Prize.
The PlayGo Emerge Film Competition was held in celebration of the diverse cultures and similarities that bind us together as a region, and encouraged creators to submit short-form videos under the theme Celebrate the National Pride of your Country.
Rovendley’s film was all about a young boy, whose adopted mother struggles financially, however, he is determined to provide his mother with a better life, and through the film, Rovendley aimed to showcase that though life may not always be good, there is always hope.
This competition gave him the opportunity to show that even though Curaçao is a small island, there are still a lot of people with a lot of potential, that achieve big goals all over the world.
Rovendley said: “It was a surreal feeling that the judges chose our film, which was made on the small island of Curaçao, for the PlayGo Emerge grand prize. I’m so proud of the team that made this film possible, and for me it’s an honour to represent Curaçao on a global scale. I’m so thankful for the PlayGo app, giving filmmakers a platform to showcase their creativity.”
Tari Lovell, Head of Marketing Digital Services at Digicel, said: “Congratulations to Rovendley, we watched a lot of films, and his work truly stood out. And clearly, we weren’t the only ones who thought so, since in addition to the Grand Prize – judged by our panel of experts – Rovendley also took home the People’s Choice Award. Overall though, it’s been heartening to see the talent across the region, there is so much promise for the future of our film industry, and we look forward to continuing to support its growth.”
The full slate of winners included Denique Homer from Trinidad & Tobago for Animation; Tony Coco-Viloin from the French West Indies for Comedy; Destiny Raphaela from Curaçao, Kendall Barthelmy from St. Lucia and Akley Olton from St. Vincent for Documentary; Rovendley Welvaart from Curaçao and Jonathan Gift from Trinidad & Tobago for Drama; Jo’Ardin Richardson from Anguilla and Anastasia Duncan from Guyana for Photo Essay; and Alisha Mohammed from Trinidad & Tobago and Cornelius Grant from Jamaica for Science Fiction.
The general prizes ranged from US$500 to US$1000 in cash, with some winners also earning the chance to be featured on PlayGo, Amazon gift cards and an Adobe Premiere Pro subscription. The grand prize winner received US$2500 in cash, Revolt TV Mentorship, a four-day, all-expense-paid trip to LA and an all-access pass to the American Film Market.