Trinidad & Tobago | 2013 | 5 mins
“AVOCADO AND ZABOCA” – Set in the clearing of a Caribbean rain forest full of lively characters and quirky songs, two pears called Avocado and Zaboca respectively, battle for alphabet supremacy. The film uses live action and two types of animation to explore the themes of conflict resolution, tolerance and friendship, all while teaching very young children their ABCs.
Sonja Dumas is a performer, choreographer, writer and arts development consultant. She is also a filmmaker, having written, directed and produced various films having to do with selected aspects of Trinidad and Tobago dance history or which use dancers to tell the story. These include: Julia and Joyce: Two Stories of Two Dance Pioneers (winner of the Best Local Film at the 2010 Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival), and Tickle Me Rich (Special Mention – Best Local Short Film – 2012 Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival; Honourable Mention: Rochester International Film Festival 2014; Nominee, 2014 Africa Movie Academy Awards). She also produced her own spoken-word CD, Once Upon a Caribbean Time, a series of original stories for children based on traditional folklore characters of Trinidad and Tobago and on new characters which she created. Some of the stories have been adapted for film and television. She recently completed her sixth short film, Avocado and Zaboca, adapted from the eponymous story from Once Upon a Caribbean Time, and is currently writing a scripts for a full-length animated film, The Twelve Dancing Mango Ice-Cream Princesses, also for young children and a general audience comedy – Angels Live in Tunapuna (also titled the Tunapuna Angel Boys).
A dance practitioner for over three-and-a-half decades, Sonja is the recipient of several international grants for her choreography, including the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Fellowship in Modern Choreography (1995) and project grants from the Inter-American Development Bank (1999) and the Prince Claus Fund (2002), and a residency grant from Art Omi in New York (2005). For Trinidad and Tobago Carnival 2006, she was the choreographer for The Sacred Heart – the winning presentation of master Carnival designer and Emmy-award winner Peter Minshall. Her work has been recognized in newspapers such as The Guardian (London). In 2012, she was selected to deliver a TEDx Port of Spain talk on wining culture.
The first female laureate of Caraïbes en Creation, a project of the French Government, she has performed with and/or choreographed for The Astor Johnson Repertory Dance Theatre, The Trinidad Theatre Workshop, The Metamorphosis Dance Company, the La Chapelle Dance Company, Standing Room Only, Noble Douglas Dance Company Inc. (NDDCI) and Reggie Wilson’s Fist and Heel Performance Group. She also creates work for her own pickup company – Continuum Dance Project. The company received critical acclaim for their tenth anniversary production in 2014 – The Museum of Difficult Women, and in 2015 began a new work entitled Beyond the River, which has been performed in Costa Rica and Trinidad.
Sonja has curated over fifteen exhibitions in her capacity as curator at the Gallery at CLICO from 2004 to 2007, and has collaborated with curators from institutions such as the Meridian International Center (Washington, D.C.), The Historical Museum of Southern Florida, and The Drawing Center (New York). She is a graduate of Princeton University and Columbia Business School and is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Carnival Studies at the University of Trinidad and Tobago. She currently resides in Trinidad.