Ten Questions with Artist/Producer Kafi Kareem (Trinidad and Tobago)

Julien Neaves, Editor

Over the past couple of months, we have done reviews of two Trinidad and Tobago animated projects from award winning artist and producer Kafi Kareem, namely the trailer for musical superhero film The Caddy Club and comedy short Big Man Dan “The Ninja”.

Well, we wanted to dive more deeply into Ms. Kareem’s story and her company storyplay.tv, and so we sat her down for ten quick questions. Check it out:

  1. What were the television shows and movies you were watching while growing up and how did they impact you?

My whole family was into musicals and animated movies in a major way. Titles like The Wiz, The Sound of Music, The Little Mermaid and Thumbelina left a lasting impression on me. The songs, stories and art just felt good and made me want to recreate them. I remember drawing characters from Thumbelina after I left the theatre and singing songs from The Little Mermaid in the stairway of my grandma’s house.

  1. Tell me about the decision to enter the field of filmmaking?

I made the decision around the time that I was wrapping up my undergraduate degree. My degree was very theoretical. I studied things like semiotics and the role of media in society. Interesting stuff that still serves me to this day, but by the time I graduated I knew that I didn’t just want to analyse films. I wanted to make them.

  1. Between 2012 and 2013 you worked with the Walt Disney Company. Tell me about that experience.

It was a great experience that put me in a position to see all the content being released from Pixar, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Marvel, Disney Channel, Disney Junior and even Disney-branded YouTube content, and I was also able to get insight into how audiences were consuming the content on different platforms.

Kafi Kareem in 2018 with her Caribbean Film Mart best pitch award at the Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival. The pitch was for the film The Caddy Club
  1. You have worn multiple hats, including screenwriter, lecturer, and producer. Tell me about these different roles and whether you have a favourite.

It’s true! I’ve worn many hats. I’ve been a teacher, screenwriter, director, producer, songwriter, voice actor, singer and more. Directing is my favourite role in filmmaking. When it comes to musicals though, songwriting is my favourite role.

  1. Storyplay.tv was founded in 2013. Tell me about the inspiration behind it.

I formed the company at the suggestion of a former manager who advised it might be a good next step in my career. At first, I set out to offer digital content consulting services, building on my career experience in online media. I shifted the company’s focus when I looked back at entries I made in my diary between 2006 and 2011 and reminded myself that owning a production company was something I envisioned. That’s when storyplay.tv the movie company was born.

A still from Big Man Dan short ‘The Ninja’
  1. Let’s chat a bit about Big Man Dan.

Big Man Dan was the very first original IP I developed under the storyplay.tv label. The animated web series came to life with a lot of input from my family. I’m really proud of it because, as far as I know, storyplay.tv is the only Trinidad and Tobago animation studio to develop and release an entire season of an original series developed inhouse that was not commissioned by an outside entity and was not a work for hire. To my knowledge, we’re one of only two local companies to take an animated series to market at all. Big Man Dan also gave the company the opportunity to develop its first community impact partnerships with ROOTS Foundation, NALIS and the U.S. Embassy. These partners helped us advance our mission to make a positive social impact through our productions. So Big Man Dan was a big deal for storyplay.tv. It put our company on the map.

  1. What’s next for the big little man?

As far as I’m concerned it’s a wrap for Big Man Dan. I have no plans to resurrect the cartoon. I’m proud of what my team and I finished.

  1. The latest project is The Caddy Club. Tell me about the inspiration behind the project.

The Caddy Club was largely inspired by my grandfather who was a golfer. He introduced me and many other young people to the sport. His legacy as an Afro-Trinbagonian golfer was a springboard for me to develop this musical animated feature about kids in a vacation golf camp who unexpectedly get superpowers when they discover a magical portal. The project was developed to meet demands for family-friendly content regionally and internationally. The format is very much inspired by the animated musicals I watched growing up.

A still from the upcoming animated musical superhero film ‘The Caddy Club’
  1. What is the latest on it?

We recently released a teaser trailer for The Caddy Club, and I’m working behind the scenes to finish the movie. You can get exclusive sneak peeks and behind the scenes content when you pre-order the movie on storyplay.tv.

  1. What else can people look forward to from storyplay.tv in the future?

More Caribbean kids movies. We’re hoping The Caddy Club will be the first of many classic storyplay.tv animated films to come.

So, those are my ten questions with Kafi Kareem. If you want to see more from storyplay.tv you can check out their website by clicking here and follow them on Facebook by clicking here. And you can check out my reviews of The Caddy Club trailer and the Big Man Dan short below as well as an interview with Trinidad and Tobago-born actor, producer, and writer G Anthony Joseph:


Julien “Editor Jules” Neaves is a TARDIS-flying, Force-using Trekkie whose bedroom stories were by Freddy Krueger, learned to be a superhero from Marvel, but dreams of being Batman. I love promoting Caribbean film (Cariwood), creating board games and I am an aspiring author. I say things like “12 flavours of awesome sauce”. Read more.

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