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US-based filmmaker and actress Taromi Joseph.

The continuing COVID-19 pandemic is causing chaos in more ways than one for Trinidadians living abroad.

For some families, it has brought grief after taking lives, for others the pain of losing jobs. But for national Taromi Joseph, it has cost her a chance to make a contribution at the 2020 Diversity in Cannes festival.

Joseph landed a spot on the Short Film Showcase Screening Committee for the event, an independent global film movement that promotes inclusion at the Cannes Film Festival. She was part of the committee that had been tasked with viewing and rating the entrants to the prestigious event.

However, the event, which was scheduled to run from May 12-23, was eventually cancelled due to the severe lockdown measures which are continuing to be imposed by the France government due to the severity of the contamination there.

Joseph admits she was disappointed at not getting a chance to perform at this international level. Some 18 short films were to be screened at this year’s event.

Joseph is an actress, writer, director, producer and TV host based in California. She first appeared on stage in 2005 with the Trinidad Theatre Workshop (TTW) as Juliet in Romeo and Juliet and as Rosalie in the film adaptation of Michael Anthony’s Green Days by the River. In 2006, she travelled to Hollywood, California, to represent T&T in the World Championships of Performing Arts (WCOPA).

She received calls from MTV and the New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts School of Film and Television (NYCDA), where she attended in 2009 and has not looked back since, carving a niche in the US.

Joseph has also done TV commercials and billboards throughout Trinidad and the Caribbean. Her award-winning films have been screened the world over, most notably at the Cannes Short Film Festival, and has worked alongside compatriot Winston Duke, who rose to fame for his part in Marvel’s Black Panther, as well as with the big-name actors in The Young and the Restless and Reservoir Dogs.

Asked how she was coping with the COVID shutdown measures in the US, Joseph she was adapting to the situation.

She said she had been working on a movie that was shot via the video app Zoom during the lockdown and is currently working on another movie to be featured on Instagram through The Casting Director’s Cut in California.

However, Joseph admitted she is not in a hurry to get back out into the industry as a result of COVID-19, so she’s taking her time and playing it safe.