Classic Trinidad and Tobago soap No Boundaries returns as a movie - Trinidad and Tobago Newsday (2024)

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Julien Neaves
Classic Trinidad and Tobago soap No Boundaries returns as a movie - Trinidad and Tobago Newsday (1)

There are no boundaries

Boundaries of colour or creed

The lyrics to the theme song for the soap opera No Boundaries will be familiar to anyone who grew up watching local television in the 1980s. And fans of the series would be interested to learn it’s returning this year with a new film version.

The start of filming was announced at a media conference on January 4 at the Crews Inn Bridge Room, Chaguaramas.

Horace Wilson, who wrote the original three-season, 39-episode series, has returned to write the film version.

“The project is very important to the country and the region.” He reported No Boundaries had aired throughout the entire Caribbean and would be familiar to more than six million people, and cast members were recognised across the region.

He predicted the new generation would be as excited as the last about the new film.

Wilson, who also wrote 13 episodes of the soap opera Turn of the Tide and the six-episode miniseries Tangled Lives, explained when he wrote the original series he was “writing instinctively” and had no formal training.

Since then, however, he has travelled abroad and studied at the American Film Institute, one of 28 writers chosen out of thousands that year.

“He said because of his studies and experience the new film is much “tighter” and “faster.”

“I know a lot more about character development and character arc and structure.”

He added: “We are aiming to do something that is very professional.”

His portfolio includes the Lifetime movie Sinners Need Company, the Pan African Film Festival second-place winner Happy Sad, and the globally-distributed Sever.

A new generation

On the new film, Wilson said it was fortunate to have a remarkable production team and to be “blessed with an amazing cast.”

The cast includes Teri-Leigh Bovell, who appeared in the 2012 drama Home Again. Bovell said she was excited to be back in the acting space.

Classic Trinidad and Tobago soap No Boundaries returns as a movie - Trinidad and Tobago Newsday (2)

Recalling that casting began before the pandemic, she said, “The excitement is real,” after having waited more than two years.

She described her character, Paula, as a “go-getter” who wants to make a mark with her career.

“I believe I will bring a lot of truth to (the role).”

She recalled when she was growing up and No Boundaries showed on television, her grandmother would chase her out of the room telling her, “That is big people thing,” and now she was a part of it.

Fellow cast member Ruby Parris said she was “not a thought” when No Boundaries was originally screened, but her family was excited when they heard she would be part of a new film version.

“Here we are, recreating this iconic series, and I get the honour to be part of something that was quintessential to my family’s culture and their love for Caribbean film, Caribbean theatre.”

Parris, who appeared in the films Sanskara and The Cutlass, said she was intrigued by the story of her character, Abigail, whose disposition was very different from her own effervescent personality, and she enjoyed the challenge of “silence and quiet rage.”

“She represents the Caribbean woman who has always had to rely on herself for survival.”

She said the role had made her more empathetic to people in her own life and she was grateful to No Boundaries for the “life-altering experience.”

A universal story

Executive producer, director and actor Marvin Ishmael said he began working on the project with Wilson two years ago.

“And we decided that this story is so important for our culture and for our people to be told.”

The executive producers of the film are Ishmael, Wilson and Terrence Babwah. Ishmael spoke about their shared view of the project, “a vision to continue not just educating and entertaining but keeping a culture alive for others to understand (and) appreciate.”

He said the team has the skills and expertise to create an amazing piece of film that not only the people of TT but people everywhere can identify with. Ishmael described the film as “a slice of Trinidadian life” with a diverse group of characters all with great stories.

His son Mark also appears in the film, and the two play father and son. It is the feature film debut of the younger Ishmael, who said he was excited to work with his dad.

Classic Trinidad and Tobago soap No Boundaries returns as a movie - Trinidad and Tobago Newsday (3)

Wilson explained his goal was to have a multiracial group that was representative of the mixture of people that make up this country. He added the name “No Boundaries” meant there were no barriers among people.

“We have to survive regardless of our differences.”

He stressed it is not a “Trinidad or Caribbean story” but one that will be of interest to people around the world. He recalled that as part of his writing process he had to put himself in the shoes of his characters and at times he had to stop writing because his tears were obscuring the screen.

“(They are) very dear to me, all the characters.”

On his writing of strong women, Wilson said his mother is “always part of (him)” and is “over (his) shoulder all the time.”

Asked about the connections between the new film and the original series, Wilson said it is a follow-up to the series and some of the new characters are related to original characters, including one related to Hansley Ajodha’s character Harry. The team said there may be some cameos from original series characters as well.

Wilson said the theme song by Roger Israel was being updated by the composer and will feature in the new film. He explained that Israel likes to see footage before he composes and therefore his process will begin after editing.

He said the team’s overall aim is to build a cadre of actors, crew members and support staff in TT that they can work with, as well as foreign filmmakers.

“This is not the ending. This is the beginning...of a new and exciting industry in the country.”

He said those in the film business complain about not being able to make money and lack of support.

“We are hoping that this one is going to be different and turn the tide not only for us but for aspiring filmmakers.”

He added that there are a lot of young people in the film, and he hoped they will be inspired to develop their craft and hopefully be talent-spotted abroad by agents or producers.

Wilson said his attorney in Los Angeles, who represents actors and writers, described the script as “an emotional piledriver.”

“She thinks if it is well done, we are going to get international distribution.”

Ishmael reported the film is scheduled to be released in May and premieres are planned in Trinidad, Toronto, Washington, DC, and in the region. The producers also intend to enter it in multiple film festivals and then have a worldwide premiere.

Filming of No Boundaries: The Movie began on January 5 and wraps on January 27.

If you are interested in being an extra in the film, send your information and a headshot to noboundariesmovie@gmail.com.

Classic Trinidad and Tobago soap No Boundaries returns as a movie - Trinidad and Tobago Newsday (2024)
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