Camille Selvon Abrahams is the Programme Coordinator for Animation Studies at the University of Trinidad and Tobago. Here she spearheaded the creation of the Diploma in Animation Studies syllabus which has now evolved into a BFA in Digital Media Arts with specialisation in Animation, Game Design or Music Technology. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Media & Communication with specialisation in Animation, from Goldsmiths University of London. She is the founding director of the NGO Animae Caribe Animation Festival which is celebrating its 19th year. She recently served as Chairman of FilmTT under the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Government of Trinidad & Tobago.
For just as the output of the computer is intangible and cannot be placed on a shelf, so does the inspiration she provokes, hide in the emotional, social and entrepreneurial outcomes of her interventions. She has spent her time in prisons in Trinidad and Jamaica, pulling out stories from young inmates.
In 2016 she spent a month in Jamaica for an intervention project called “New Path’ which used animation in prisons, funded by the Organization of American States through its Department of Public Security in Washington DC. Turning those stories of dread and despair into constructive affirmations. She gives inmates an opportunity to express their fears, their trauma, and allow them to use storytelling to change the plot. With over 20 years in the animation and digital media industry Camille now uses the Heroes Journey to rewrite the script that has kept others outside of the playing field both in the film industry and also in the play of life.
“I do this because for too long our stories, the stories on the street, the stories of ‘the other’ have been articulated using traditional and elite script deconstruction. These scripts do not tell our stories.
And if they do, it is often from a distance… like David Attenborough talking about the whales in the ocean. It is time that we tell our stories without permission and it is time that the elite understands the discipline needed to simply listen without judgment and preconceived notions of what being black is. We can replace the word black with, queer, gay, autistic, blind whatever that otherness is”
“I do this because for too long our stories, the stories on the street, the stories of ‘the other’ have been articulated using traditional and elite script deconstruction. These scripts do not tell our stories. And if they do, it is often from a distance, like David Attenborough talking about the whales in the ocean.
It is time that we tell our stories without permission and it is time that the elite learn the discipline of listening without judgment and preconceived notions of what being black is.
We can replace the word black with, queer, gay, autistic, blind whatever that otherness is”
Together with business partner Jason Lindsay they created the first Caribbean outsourcing animation studio called Full Circle Animation Studio in Trinidad.
Creating work for international studios around the world. Awards include the Royal Television Society Student Award 2000 – London UK, Caribbean Tales Innovation in Animation in the Caribbean Award – Toronto Canada, Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival – Pioneer in Film Award 2014 – Trinidad & Tobago and she was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Foundation Award for Women in Business.
Over the years she has built up a critical mass of international and regional network of professionals in the industry ranging from, Disney Pixar, EA Games, Toon Boom and Cartoon Network. She has also managed and partnered with regional and international agencies like CARICOM, Caribbean Development Bank, Carib-Export Development Agency, Department of Public Security Secretariat for Multi-dimensional Security, and IADB Inter-American Development Bank Washington DC for strategic support initiatives.
She currently runs a NGO in collaboration with CARICOM called ‘The Shift Project’ which is an intervention program using digital technology to bring ‘at risk’ teens into the 21st century. This project took her and two female students to Guyana and Suriname where they conducted animation workshops with at risk youths. In partnership with the Inter-American Development Bank she is currently developing a state of the art animation, game outsourcing studio at the University of Trinidad and Tobago’s, Flagship Campus. This centre for innovation, embraces exponential technology and places students in a new learning environment where they’ learn while doing’ therefore preparing them for the future of work.