Local crime film pirated

Valleywood calls for police action to end piracy of the film “Welcome to Warlock” and other local content.

Promotional material for the local film, Welcome to Warlock.
Promotional material for the local film, Welcome to Warlock.

PETIT VALLEY, 13th JUNE, 2014 A ground-breaking development in the local film industry is being undermined by widespread piracy and a lack of policing to either deter serious Intellectual Property Act infringement or hold  perpetrators accountable. The film “Welcome to Warlock,” which was produced by Jeffrey Alleyne of Valleywood Video Productions, has generated unprecedented interest among local audiences. However, widespread piracy is negatively impacting legitimate sales. In the interest of the wider local film industry, Valleywood Video Productions calls on the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service to implement the Intellectual Property Act on a consistent basis and for other partners in the creative industries to increase public education and sustain advocacy against this crime.

Notwithstanding the common practice of copying, selling and buying music and films in Trinidad and Tobago, both copyright and intellectual property infringement have long been crimes punishable by up to ten years imprisonment. In fact, the Copyright Act of 2008 increased the penalty for the crime to $250,000.

Although there is a solid legal framework for protecting intellectual property, the illegal practice remains both commonplace and brazen.  Jeffrey Alleyne, founder of Valleywood Video Productions, noted that the sporadic implementation of the law has led to a situation of impunity.

“How can we expect to diversify the creative sector when pirates rob from the very reservoir of our creativity?” Alleyne questioned.

The film, “Welcome to Warlock” was produced by Alleyne and features a cast of 74 local, amateur actors. Each actor is contracted to receive a share of the revenue from the project.  Billed as a modern day “run and gun” film, the piece is a cautionary tale about gun violence and the ease with which individuals and communities can become consumed by retribution. The film is intended for audiences 16 years and over.

With a production and distribution strategy inspired by the Nollywood industry, Valleywood has opted for a system of email and telephone orders as well as drop-offs to disseminate the film. Although the original DVDs contain a security mechanism, pirates have succeeded in making illegitimate copies which are now being widely sold throughout Trinidad and Tobago.

Alleyne insisted that there is a need to address the situation as it has implications for the wider, burgeoning film industry in Trinidad and Tobago.

“With the recent formation of CreativeTT and a new direction for the creative sector I see a great opportunity for financial stability amongst local filmmakers and musicians in a local DVD/CD industry,” Alleyne said.

On Tuesday 10th June, 2014 Mr Alleyne and some cast members began a peaceful protest against piracy outside the Prime Minister’s Office. On Tuesday 11th June, 2014 he was asked by Mr. Peter Joseph, Press Secretary in the Office of The Prime minister, to address a letter to the PM stating the facts of his claim. The letter will be delivered today.

Valleywood Video Productions was established in 2008. Based in Petit Valley, it aims to reach communities across the country. Valleywood Youth Film Academy (VYFA) hosts an annual July/August film-making camp for children, “COMMFILM”, which teaches young people the fundamentals of video recording, editing and improvisation. Its catalogue of public service announcements, shorts and trailers are available on YouTube channels jef4ree and ValleywoodYouth FilmAcademy as well as the Facebook pages Jeffrey dGeneral Alleyne, From d Hood to Valleywood, Valleywood Movies and Valleywood to d World. The organisation’s website is www.valleywoodmovies.com

For interviews with Mr. Alleyne on this issue or for more information about “Welcome to Warlock” please call 315-4611 or 779-4561, email vwoodvideo@gmail.com