Year Released: 2017
Origin: St. Vincent and the Grenadines
Running Time: 4 minutes
Rating/Recommended Audience: G
Related Films/Series: N/A
For Fans Of: Kankuran, Black Gold, Tailor Made in Togo
-TJ is streaming on YouTube .
-The Southern Grenadines Organic Poultry Farm is based in the town of Clifton, St. Vincent. It’s a small town on one of the Grenadines chain of islands. They even have a Facebook page.
-Director Stanton Gomes is also a director of IT Technology at The Garifuna Heritage Foundation.
To all of those from the Caribbean, I would like to apologize. I’ve been neglectful in finding films from that part of the world regardless if they are movies, documentaries, or anything in between. Prior to this week, I have only covered two films made by creators from the Caribbean Islands. The first one was an international co-production with the documentary I Am Not Your Negro which was directed by Haitian filmmaker Raoul Peck. The other one was the Cuban animated film Vampires in Havana! which I covered several months ago. I know the Caribbean wasn’t part of my geography goals, but that part of North America still needed more representation and part of the solution was discovering a short Vincentian documentary on YouTube.
You see, I’m not a chicken unlike most professional film critics as I’m willing to wing it to discover more films I never thought I would see.
TJ is about a local Vincentian business called the Southern Grenadines Organic Poultry Farm based in one of the smaller islands in that nation. This farm was founded by Anthony Alexander and Akino Williams. Both of them have agricultural backgrounds since high school and wanted to start a business. This particular farm wasn’t just made because of nothing. They wanted to produce organic meat and eggs while also getting youth off the street to do something constructive. The employees even go around town delivering the chickens by bicycle to all the customers and various crimes have gone down because of Anthony and Akino caring about their community.
Not going to lie, opening a poultry business isn’t something I would personally create as I have my own issues with that, but I do respect the motives and hustle of these entrepreneurs who actually give a cluck. I think it’s awesome that these two self-made agriculture businessmen want to make a positive difference and to help their community in Clifton. Sure, having all organic chickens beats GMOs and other forms of frankenfood (credit to Jello Biafra for coining that term), but it’s great how they’ve been employing the youth to get away from doing bad things, make money honestly, and provide a service for the town. This destroys a certain unfortunate implication that comes with the territory which previous readers should know what I’m implying. Besides the topic of the documentary, I will say the cinematography is splendid. Everything is super crisp as one sees both the rural and more urban settings of St. Vincent. Things look great with the camera work and editing which I do applaud.
However, TJ could use some quality control in parts. I thought the documentary could’ve easily used four to six more minutes and still get the point across. I wanted to know more about the founders and some of the employees, but everything felt rushed. The score also got overboard and way too dramatic. It’s okay at first with the piano piece, but near the end, the music overpowers the scenery which took the attention away from the cycling chicken delivery boys. Also, are there any other businesses of that ilk in that part of St. Vincent or are they the only ones. This documentary has a great uplifting message which I find to be great, but I felt like I was missing part of this story.
TJ was a pleasant watch while being a decent first impression to Vincentian films. The overall theme is very inspiring and positive without the baggage that similar situations have. The video production is well-done and could certainly take viewers by surprise. I wished it was more than twice as long because there’s so much more that could be told about this particular chicken business in the Caribbean. Stanton Gomes did a good job and I hope he makes more films.
Adjustable Rating System:
Add 1-2 points if you like positive documentaries.
Subtract 1-2 points if you want your documentaries to be longer.
Subtract 2 points if you’re a vegetarian.
-Overall inspiring message of self-starting
-Averts white savior implications
-Great camera work and editing
-Way too short
-There should be extended interview time
-Overblown musical score
Final Score: 7/10 points
Content Warning: TJ is a tame watch. The only things that would be of mild concern would be plucking chickens and with Anthony talking about how the kids are off the street while implying this job prevents them from smoking weed.
All photos property of their respective owners and used under US “Fair Use” laws. TJ is property of Stanton Gomes. The screenshot is from YouTube and is property of Stanton Gomes.