The descendants of Norman McNeil have funded a short film to commemorate him and his story. The trailer is below, and the film had its World Premiere on 24 September 2022.

Details below.

Norman McNeil was born on July 3, 1821 in Tobago as an enslaved person, but rose to become a famous educator. In his 50-year career in teaching, he contributed extensively to pre-school education – especially in the area of Whim. The United Nations declared 2015-2024 the International Decade of People of African Descent. In the spirit of this decade and of family heritage, his descendants, which include the filmmaker, honour his achievements with this short tribute.

Venerable Film Trailer

Director: Sonja Dumas (Great Great Grand-Daughter of Norman McNeil)


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.

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.

US Premiere

The Venerable is to be shown at the NY African Diaspora International Film Festival on Sun 4 Dec 2022, 2.30pm ET.

Visit the NYADIFF Site 

World Premiere

The Venerable was shown at the TT Film festival on Sat 24 Sep 2022, 5.30pm, MovieTowne, Port of Spain —Screen 09

Visit the TT Film Festival Site 

Some of the Descendants of Norman McNeil at the World Premiere of the Venerable Film in Trinidad.


In front is the Film's Director: Sonja Dumas, Great Great Grand- Daughter of Norman McNeil

NMFF logo

To continue the legacy of Norman McNeil. 


Trinidad and Tobago

West Indies

(+1 868) 336 2199

info [at]

ⓒ Norman McNeil Family Foundation