If you havenâ€™t yet seen the local short film puppet series, Iâ€™m Santana, you probably need to join the rest of us in the 21st century.Â The film, which stars Santana as the lead puppet, and features characters such as Narine, Janice and Patsy, made its online debut in 2010 on Youtube. A year later, fans are still hooked.Â But while the funny characters continue to be a major hit, it is Roger Alexis, the creator of the films, who really deserves the credit for the puppet phenomenon.Â His film, titled Pastor Stewart, is his biggest to date, attracting hundreds of viewers from across the globe.Â â€œPeople from Canada, the US, UK, Norway and Denmark have been responding and telling me how much they love the shows and encouraging me to continue making them,â€ he said.
The puppets also made their way onto the Soca Monarch stage on Fantastic Friday, where they formed part of soca artiste Fay Ann Lyonâ€™s opening on-screen performance.Â Alexis, who is also the voice behind Santana, said while he never expected the series, which touch on topics from domestic violence to infidelity, to take off the way it had, he certainly wasnâ€™t complaining.
Although the films are beginning to make Alexis a household name, heâ€™s no rookie when it comes to producing great work.Â Even before Iâ€™m Santana, Alexisâ€™ 2006 short film, Hermanâ€™s Tales, enjoyed a successful four-year stint at the T&T Film Festival and a two-month stint on a local television station.Â The San Fernando-born, Trincity resident said while he was aware that other local puppeteers had been coming out of the woodworks with similar offerings on the Internet, he remained confident in his abilities.Â â€œI have created a niche for myself. The edge that I have over the competition is that Iâ€™m a filmmaker…The pinnacle for me is to get wealthy doing this. Iâ€™ll also like to do a lucrative international movie, and more importantly, I hope to come up with other ideas, equally as lucrative.â€
Thanking his â€œgreat teamâ€ for his accomplishments thus far, the 35-year-old film production major at the University of the West Indiesâ€”whose foray into the film industry began in 2005â€”admitted that it took a lot of time and money to perfect his talent over the years.Â â€œWhen I realised I wanted to do film, I went back to school and got passes in everything that I didnâ€™t have. I did a lot of courses in film and I even took out a loan to buy the equipment and props to produce the puppet series,â€ he revealed.
His hard work is paying off in dividends
â€œIt is a very lucrative business and Iâ€™m in talks with investors to hopefully bring out movies based on the characters,â€ he asserted.Â Alexisâ€™ films have also caught the attention of corporate T&T, and his puppets have since been used to advertise for companies like bmobile and Classic Cola.Â The former Pleasantville Junior Secondary student has recently launched his own Web site, Lexo.tv, which he dubbed a â€œone-stop shopâ€ for local film entertainment.Â â€œPeople will be able to find more shows, pictures of their favourite characters, T-shirts and other memorabilia.â€Â With an insuppressible desire to be anything but great, Alexisâ€™ journey to success has indeed just begun.Â Not bad for a former machine operator, who began making sock-puppets in his room â€œjust for fun.â€
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