The first annual Bahamas International Film Festival (BIFF) rolls out December 9-12, 2004. Over four days, BIFF will play host to a combination of industry professionals, filmmakers, celebrity guests, visitors and the local community. The Festival will present more than 75 films in a wide range of special sections: an International Competition, a selection of cinema’s “New Visions,” a World Cinema showcase, a Caribbean Sidebar, insightful Documentaries, Short Films and programming for the whole Family. Screenings will take place at the Atlantis Theater in their Paradise Island resort and the local Galleria Cinema in Nassau. Awards will be presented in the International Competition and New Visions categories by panels of prestigious international jurors.
“One of BIFF’s main goals is to bring international and art house cinema to the Bahamas, where they currently do not exist,” states Festival Executive Director and Founder Leslie Vanderpool. “We are pleased to be presenting diverse voices from so many different parts of the world, and at the same time, identifying The Bahamas as a global cultural destination. We will be offering a tremendous opportunity for visitors to our island and residents alike, including special educational programs for Bahamian youth. We hope this will be the first of many annual events bringing cinema and opportunity to The Bahamas.”
Film selections for narrative films in the International Competition include:
20 FINGERS (20 Angosht) by Mania Akbari, IRAN ^ A film in several episodes exploring the issues of men and women within the confines of tradition and family in Iran.
BROTHER TO BROTHER by Rodney Evans, USA ^ Using the powerful legacy of the Harlem Renaissance as its inspiration, BROTHER TO BROTHER is a stirring and captivating contemporary tale about a young, gay Black artist struggling to find his place in the world.
CAMPFIRE (Medurat Hashevet) by Joseph Cedar, ISRAEL ^ An original perspective on settlement culture, CAMPFIRE explores the pragmatic and the personal motivations at the heart of the political movement in Israel.
CAPE OF GOOD HOPE by Mark Bamford, SOUTH AFRICA/USA ^ An ensemble piece that centers on three women and the men in their lives, all of whose paths converge at the Good Hope animal shelter.
KAMCHATKA by Marcelo Pineyro, ARGENTINA/SPAIN ^ In 1976, a coup d’etat installed a military regime in Argentina that lasted until 1983. The “disappearances” of political dissenters during this period is the subject of the film.
Film selections for non-fiction films in the International Competition include:
FRIENDSHIP VILLAGE by Michelle Mason, USA/VIETNAM ^ The Friendship Village’ is an inspiring film about transcending the scars of war. Michelle Mason’s award-winning documentary tells the moving story of American veteran George Mizo, who returned to Vietnam to create a village to treat children with Agent Orange-related deformities.
KIDNAPPING OF INGRID BENTACOURT by Victoria Bruce, Karin Hayes, USA/COLUMBIA ^ The true story of a Colombian presidential candidate held hostage by leftist guerrillas, and her family’s desperate quest to free her and keep her campaign alive.
LOLITA: Slave to Entertainment by Timothy Gorski, USA ^ This provocative and revealing grass-roots documentary uniquely addresses man’s relationship with wildlife. Filled with rare footage and painful sound bites, the film is the tragic life story of the world’s oldest captive orca.
SEEDS by Joseph Boyle, Marjan Safinia, Documentary, USA ^ Every summer, more than 150 teens from war-torn countries (such as Israel, Palestine, India and Pakistan) come together for three extraordinary weeks at the Seeds of Peace International Camp in Maine. SEEDS documents this camp and the teens as they face their differences and then return home.
SEOUL TRAIN by Jim Butterworth, Aaron Lubarsky and Lisa Sleeth; USA ^ A gripping documentary, SEOUL TRAIN exposes the harrowing journey North Koreans must take to escape their homeland and China through the secretive underground railroad.
TIBET: CRY OF THE SNOW LION by Tom Peosay, USA ^ The dark secrets of Tibet’s recent past are powerfully chronicled through riveting personal stories and interviews, and a collection of undercover and archival images never before assembled in one documentary.
THE UNTOLD STORY OF EMMETT TILL by Keith Beauchamp, USA ^ A powerful re-examination of a death that pierced the conscience of the United States and helped mobilize the civil rights movement. The documentary revisits the 1955 abduction and brutal murder of Emmett Louis Till, a 14 year old African-American from Chicago killed while visiting family in Mississippi.
AFTER THE APOCALYPSE by Yasuaki Nakajima, USA ^ A futuristic drama about five survivors trying to make sense of a New World after a devastating urban catastrophe challenges their basic human needs.
THE BREAKUP ARTIST by Vincent Rubino, USA ^ A romantic comedy that takes a rare look at romance and relationships from a decidedly different angle… the unapologetic male point of view.
DEAD CANARIES by Charles Durning, USA ^ A small-time mobster enters the witness protection program and is quickly in danger of being assassinated when he realizes that several others in the program have already been killed. One man attempts to uncover the mob and government conspiracy behind it all.
DORIAN BLUES by Tennyson Bardwell, USA ^ A funny, quirky comedy that adds freshness to a coming of age story. Angst is the main course for Dorian, a cute, somewhat awkward teenager going through his senior year of high school hell, while beginning to explore his sexuality.
ELEPHANT SHOES by Christos Sourligas, CANADA ^ An exploration of the intimacy and vitality of a twelve hour relationship between a man and a woman whose chance encounter on a street in Montreal becomes the catalyst for an intensely personal adventure of passion, synchronicities, and fears.
HATLEY HIGH by Phil Price, CANADA ^ Tommy Linklater is an eighteen-year old magician. The magic he performs is often minor – re-directing croquet balls, making cards appear in closed purses – it is always genuine; he actually does the impossible. He will soon learn that his hobby for playing chess while his mother was alive is another gift she left him. His father, Herman Linklater, is a physicist who believes that all the universes mysteries will eventually be explained away.
LIVING ‘TIL THE END by Amanda Goodwin, USA ^ Told by a psychic of his imminent death on his next birthday, Jack lives out the year as a hopeless agoraphobic, until he meets a young woman who slowly coaxes him out of his self imposed bondage.
LOVE ME IF YOU DARE (Jeux d’enfants) by Yann Samuell, FRANCE ^ As adults, best friends Julien and Sophie continue the odd game they started as children — a fearless competition to outdo one another with daring and outrageous stunts. While they often act out to relieve one another’s pain, their game might be a way to avoid the fact that they are truly meant for one another.
MEAN CREEK by Jacob Aaron Estes, USA ^ When shy Sam confesses to his protective older brother Rocky that he is getting pummeled daily by the towering school bully George, they plan the perfect payback. After having second thoughts, Sam wants to call the whole thing off, but the plot is already in motion and spinning tragically out of control.
SANTA SMOKES by Til Schauder and Chris Valentien, USA ^ An urban love fantasy of Santa (a man in his Santa suit) and an angel (a woman in her angel outfit) who come across each other in New York during the Christmas season.
WHISKEY ROMEO ZULU by Enrique Pineyro, ARGENTINA ^ A re-telling of the events preceding the LAPA Airlines Boeing 737 crash on August 31, 1999 into midtown Buenos Aires that resulted in the deaths of 67 people. The film exposes the collusion between the Air Force and the airline to evade air safety controls and maximize profits.
THE CORPORATION by Mark Achbar, Jennifer Abbott; CANADA ^ Taking recent corporate accounting scandals as a point of departure, the filmmakers trace the origins of the corporation as a publicly regulated institution to its present-day social predominance, dwarfing and influencing governments worldwide.
THE FUTURE OF FOOD by Deborah Koons, Documentary, USA ^ An in-depth investigation into the disturbing truth behind the unlabeled, patented, genetically engineered foods that have quietly filled grocery store shelves for the past decade.
GREEN BUTCHERS by Anders Thomas Jensen, Narrative, DENMARK ^ Fed up with working for the local butcher, Svend and Bjarne decide to start their own butcher shop. After dismal beginnings, an unfortunate accident happens which coincides with a large order of meat. One hasty decision leads to another and soon the business thrives.
PULSE: A Stomp Odyssey by Luke Cresswell and Steven McNicholas, Documentary, USA ^ A celebration of the world’s global beat, an exploration of the sights and sounds of continents and cultures, guided by the internationally acclaimed performers of the sensational stage show STOMP.
SHE GOT GAME by Abby Jack Neidik, USA ^ SHE GOT GAME goes behind-the-scenes of the women’s pro tennis tour and explores the price these young women pay to pursuer their (or their parent’s) dream of being a pro tennis player.
THE STORY OF THE WEEPING CAMEL by Byambasuren Davaa, Luigi Falorni, Documentary/Narrative, GERMANY/MONGOLIA ^ Springtime in the Gobi Desert, South Mongolia: A family of nomadic shepherds assists the births of their camel herd. One of the camels has an excruciatingly difficult delivery but, with help from the family, out comes a rare white colt. Despite the efforts of the shepherds, the mother rejects the newborn, refusing it her milk and her motherly love. When any hope for the little one seems to have vanished, the nomads send their two young boys on a journey through the desert, to a backwater town in search of a musician who is their only hope for saving the colt’s life.
HEAD IN THE CLOUDS by John Duigan, CANADA/UNITED KINGDOM ^ Is a sweeping romantic drama set in 1930’s England, Paris, and Spain. Gilda Bessé shares her Paris apartment with an Irish schoolteacher, Guy Malyon, and Mia, a refugee from Spain. As the world drifts toward war, Gilda defiantly pursues her hedonistic lifestyle and her burgeoning career as a photographer. But Guy and Mia feel impelled to join the fight against fascism, and the three friends are separated – seemingly forever.
MONDOVINO by Jonathan Nossiter, Documentary, FRANCE/USA ^ A film set in Bordeaux and the Napa Valley about winemaking and the business of wine, exploring the “McDonalds-ization” of the industry.
SHE HATE ME by Spike Lee, Narrative, USA ^ When Jack gets fired for informing on his bosses, his former girlfriend—a high powered businesswoman and now a lesbian—offers him cash to impregnate her and her new girlfriend. Between attempts by his former employers to frame him for security fraud and his dubious fathering activities, Jack finds his life, all at once, becoming very complicated..
UNDERTOW by David Gordon Green, USA ^ The Munns, father John and sons Chris and Tim, recede to the woods of rural Georgia. Their life together is forever changed with the arrival of Uncle Deel, though the tragedy that follows forces troubled Chris to become a man.
For the full schedule, visit the Bahamas International Film Festival website.