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Aruba International Film Festival


Aruba International Film Festival Year 5 Kicks Off October 7-11 2015.

The Aruba International Film Festival (AIFF) quickly became the international film community’s “must-attend” summer event after its opening in July 2010. After 4 intensely exciting years, the festival took a break in 2014 for a complete makeover and now is back with full force to celebrate year 5 from October 7th-11th, 2015. 

The festival offers a pleasurable and inviting atmosphere for filmmakers, press and film lovers. It serves to not only develop an understanding and appreciation of the art of cinema and filmmaking, but also to inspire, educate and promote emerging local and regional filmmaking talent. This in turn has helped position Aruba as a center of art, culture and creativity, and as a viable destination for international film and commercial productions.

The AIFF was founded in 2010 by film producers Jonathan Vieira and Giuseppe Cioccarelli, with artistic direction by 30-year industry veteran Claudio Masenza. Previous editions of the festival have showcased a diverse array of critically acclaimed fiction films and documentaries from every corner of the globe, and have attracted such notable industry names as:

Hollywood leading man Richard Gere (Pretty Woman, An Officer and a Gentleman)
Multi Oscar-winning editor Thelma Schoonmaker (Raging Bull, The Aviator)
Mexican writer/director Guillermo Arriaga (The Burning Plain, Babel)...




Back of Beyond (2013). A Review.



Back of Beyond (2013). A Review.

The winner of this year’s Aruba Flavor Shorts
 at the 4th annual Aruba International Film Festival (AIFF) is newcomer Mexican/American director Leonardo Aguirre for his film Back of Beyond (2013).

The film ends with this Latin phrase: ‘A diabolo, qui est simia dei’ (‘From the devil, who is the ape of God’).

With an almost supernatural tone, this haunting tale is a question of faith in a world standing at the edge of a precipice. The film is set in an empty house on a secluded beach. There is no one here but a young man, ‘Thomas’, and a sole piece of dated technology- a tape recorder. Apparently he lives here alone, but why? A number of questions arise in this esoteric piece- What and where is this place? Does it exist or is it a dream? Is Thomas dead and stuck somewhere between life and death? Is he insane and this whole place his delusion?

An old toothless and apish man, ‘Judas’, is washed ashore. Thomas helps him into the house. Judas is the only survivor of a wreck off a Norwegian ship. Thomas has an affinity for the old man as he reminds him of his father, though dying and conscious of his impending death. The old man is standing at an abyss in this withdrawn place and reeks of death, or of something about to die. Nevertheless, Thomas nurses Judas back to health.

Judas and Thomas begin to coexist on this empty beach in the dilapidated shack. They talk about faith and God. Thomas tells Judas that he believes in something beyond life and his faith is like the last tree standing on that beach; the tree, like his faith, has stood the test of time in the face of all ruin. Near the end of the film, Judas calls for Thomas to see his outhouse aflame. “Your outhouse is on fire. Where is your God now, Thomas? Where is your God now?” The old man laughs, as if privy to an arcane secret. The eternal questions arise- Where are we? Why are we here? How did we get here? ... Where is God? Is Judas, like God, dead or dying? Is this story even about God or is it about a crazy schizophrenic kid who has escaped a mental institution having a rant?

Whatever the underlying meanings and symbols at the roots of this profoundly insightful film, it raises philosophical questions through cinema reminiscent of Lynch and Kubrick and merits repeated views for varying interpretations.

I am reminded of this relevant quote by Nietzsche from his book Thus Spoke Zarathustra- “God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. Yet his shadow still looms. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers?

Back of Beyond premiered this month at the 4th annual Aruba International Film Festival (2-6 July).

Back of Beyond- Back of Beyond - 17 minutes/2013/Aruba/English. 

Written by Vanessa McMahon (


Visit the facebook sites of Back of Beyond here:


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The official Aruba International Film festival's blog


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