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Decibel launch brings excitement, zombies

Published: 
Saturday, March 21, 2015
Question Mark Entertainment CEO Simon Baptiste, right, at the Decibel launch with Kasey Philips, left, and Oliver Milne. PHOTO: DAVID WEARS

Question Mark Entertainment CEO, Simon Baptiste made a declaration that resonated at the launch of his company’s annual Decibel Entertainment Conference and Expo: Patience before product. 

With that simple adage, a more real world context was reinforced as he laid out plans for this ongoing music business series within creative industries. Decibel serves as an incubator for creative talent among a young demographic of 15 to 25-year-old people via interactive panel discussions and networking opportunities and talent showcasing. 

This year’s event will be held at Queen’s Hall Courtyard from April 30 to May 2, and supplements the conference with a new Gary Turton-designed Exposition area on the final day that will feature “local, regional and international entertainment firms, showcasing products and latest innovations.”

The focus will be on the film, music, dance, and fashion sectors within the creative industries. 

According to Baptiste, in addition to being a stand-alone three-day event, Decibel functions as a 365-day development programme and forum that engages with thousands of students at up to 50 schools across the country.

Returning main sponsor, Republic Bank, was represented by Lisa McCarthy, marketing manager, Deposit and Investment who endorsed the Decibel vision, which complements the bank’s social investment programmes that include “development of young people through education, sport and the arts.” 

In this partnership, the bank is also the sponsor of grants for winners of Decibel’s Dream Big Initiative that chooses a film maker and a music professional, placing them in the international environment for showcasing, mentoring and networking thus fostering talent and broadening the Trinidad profile in these sectors. 

Young film-maker Oliver Milne received $30,000 to make a short film and music producer Kasey Phillips received $20,000, as winners in the respective disciplines.

Both winners will get the opportunity to meet with Hollywood players in the industry. 

The lynchpin for this opening is Trinidadian Scot Sardinha, a Question Mark director and more importantly, cultural attaché for actor Will Smith’s companies, Overbrook Entertainment and Treyball Inc. According to Baptiste, Smith and Sardinha were pivotal in assisting the Dream Big Initiative to get a footprint in the US entertainment capital. 

Phillips will intern at Smith’s Boom Boom Room Studios in Burbank, California while Milne will shop his short film to various festivals, meet celebrities and top executives and visit television and motion picture sets. 

Baptiste also revealed a new initiative, Zombie Island, sponsored and presented by Blink-bmobile. 

Set up as a theme park horror house experience as part of the final day Expo at Queen’s Hall Courtyard, it effectively serves as ground zero for the many stakeholder talents within the creative and entertainment industries: make-up and hair, wardrobe, art direction, production design, technology and talent including dance theatre and music, among others. 

Actors in character surprised and worried launch participants by their realism as “zombies,” even suggesting homeless person invasion. 

Speaking at the launch, TSTT chief marketing officer Camille Campbell, linked the company’s awareness of the growth here in T&T of mobile technology acquisition and its synergy with music and video, with the opportunities for content creation development provided by Decibel. 

Baptiste noted that T&T has pioneers on whose shoulders modern creative industries’ growth is situated: Timmy Mora in film, Minshall in mas, Machel Montano in music, and Meiling in fashion.

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