Too Lickrish, written and directed by Vincentian, Tolga Akcayli, won “Best Comedy Film” at a prestigious independent film festival in the south of France. The all-expense-paid trip was postponed from its original date in May and replaced with a week-long online event in June, as film festivals all around the world have temporarily moved their ceremonies online, adapting to the pandemic’s global impact.
During the festival, filmmakers had the opportunity to watch specially selected and nominated films at their own time. They were also able to participate in exclusive seminars hosted by undisclosed celebrity actors, writers, and directors from CSI Miami, 90210, Fast and the Furious, Avatar, Titanic, and Transporter. At the festival were distribution representatives of Film and TV series for Netflix, Apple TV, Amazon Prime, National Geographic, HBO Now, Sony Pictures, Direct TV, and Hulu +.
By winning “Best Comedy,” the film attracted distributor attention, and Tolga was able to negotiate and secure distribution for “Too Lickrish” to go on Amazon Prime, Apple TV, HBO Now, and Hulu +. Outside of the distribution deal, Tolga also negotiated and secured a deal with the regional telecommunications company, Flow, to go on their OnDemand platform, providing viewing opportunity to majority of the Caribbean region. For all viewing options, visit toolickrish.com.
“Too Lickrish” was mainly filmed in Barbados with the final minutes of the movie ending in St. Vincent & the Grenadines. Tolga says his decision to make his first film in Barbados was made due to the existence of a Film Commission. The advantages of having a film commission gave the production team the ease of getting film locations secured by the Royal Barbados Police Force. The film required shutting down a major highway to accommodate a chase-scene, the Errol Barrow Highway. Other locations were also closed and secured, such as; beaches, boardwalks, public parks, and two of the busiest streets in Bridgetown, Swan Street & Broad Street. Businesses also gave their locations for free in exchange for film exposure. Some even competed with other similar businesses to get exclusive exposure by providing various types of additional support to the film production.
“We are creating a story that can be experienced through visuals and sound. By doing this, we are sharing the beauty of the Caribbean to foreigners who are curious and interested in our culture and how we live. I am tired of people assuming none of us have access to technology and that we live in huts sipping on coconut water all day at the beach,” Tolga said.
Tolga is eager to film in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and has developed three projects that are ready to pitch. One is a short film drama focusing on tourism and local island boy from Bequia; the second one is an action-packed comedy full-length feature film about a group of friends who are Vincentian diaspora returning to St. Vincent during Carnival season after living in the UK for 20 years. The third is a TV Series about a criminal syndicate rising in St. Vincent, where an ex-police officer and an escaped teenaged girl fight to bring down the organization. Tolga is looking to expand his crew, writers, actors, support from local businesses, Government, and the Royal SVG Police Force to make it all happen. Tolga has been making arrangements in the background and has already confirmed a starting cast of local musician and CEO of RS Productions, Rodney Small; TV host of “The JumpStart Show” Hayden Billingy; Makeup Artist and CEO of Slaya Faces, Arena Foy; local social media icon, Kevisha Greaves, and local theater actor, Christopher Peters.
Tolga says, once done properly, a single production team working on a narrative film or TV series requires a minimum crew of 12, not including actors, and ancillary services, which can bring the movie credits production team list to 40+ people. Tolga believes not only will it contribute to local employment, but it will also create channels for foreign revenue while exporting local art, culture, and history that can be distributed worldwide.