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Bahamas impressive and eclectic line up


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 intheir 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. With films and visitors from more than 25 different countries participating in the festivities, The Bahamas International Film Festival will be a true celebration of Cinema in Paradise.

“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.”


The Spirit of Freedom is the theme of this year’s International Competition, as each cinema artist explores the potential of the human spirit and how freedom pervades our lives. With a combination of narrative and documentary features, this showcase provides insight into the mosaic of cultures that make up our world. A Grand Jury Prize will be presented in the narrative film category. The jury will be comprised of the US Editor of Screen International, Michael Goodridge; Jean Roy, the former Director of Critics’ Week of the Cannes Film Festival; and the Director of the Miami International Film Festival, Nicole Guillemet.

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.

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. *Star Anthony Mackie to attend

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.

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. *Director Mark Bamford to attend.

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:

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. *Director Michelle Mason to attend

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. *Director Tim Gorski to attend

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. **Marjan Safinia to attend.

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. *Co-director Lisa Sleeth to attend

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.

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. *Director Keith Beauchamp and Producer Steven Laitmon to attend


With the rise of innovative filmmakers, BIFF is pleased to introduce New Visions, showcasing a series of first or second films by emerging artists competing for the Modern Maverick Award. Jurors for the New Visions Award are: independent producer Ted Hope(whose credits include DOOR IN THE FLOOR, 21 GRAMS, IN THE BEDROOM, HAPPINESS and THE ICE STORM); Film Threat founder Chris Gore; and independent producer’s representative Steven Beer. Film selections include:

A futuristic drama about five survivors trying to make sense of a New World after a devastating urban catastrophe challenges their basic human needs. *Actor Jacqueline Bowman to attend

A romantic comedy that takes a rare look at romance and relationships from a decidedly different angle... the unapologetic male point of view. *Director Vincent Rubino to attend

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. *Director Tennyson Bradwell to attend
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.

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. *Director Amanda Goodwin to attend

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. **Director Jacob Aaron Estes to attend

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. *Producer Sara Nodjoumi and Directors Till Schauder & Chris Valentien to attend

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. **Director Enrique Pineyro to attend


BIFF will offer a World Cinema celebration, a non-competitive section featuring filmmakers from across the globe. Film selections include:

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. *Director Deborah Koons to attend

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. *Actor Mads Mikkelsen to attend

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. *Director Luke Cresswell to attend

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. *Actress Sonya Jeyaseelan to attend

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.


BIFF is pleased to offer the following films as Special Screenings:
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. *Director John Duigan and Producers Andre Rouleau, Maxime Remillard to attend

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.. *Actor Anthony Mackie to attend

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. *Director David Gordon Green to attend.

The Caribbean Sidebar is a regional spotlight showcasing recent Caribbean and Bahamian cinema and culture. BIFF Founder and Festival Director Leslie Vanderpool says, “As a first time Festival located in the Caribbean, we believe BIFF should showcase the abundant talent found within The Bahamas and all of our Caribbean island neighbors.” Film selections include:

THE AGRONOMIST by Jonathan Demme, Documentary, USA
An important film by Academy Award-winning director Jonathan Demme, profiling Haitian radio journalist and human rights activist, Jean Dominique. Includes historical footage of Haiti’s vivid and tumultuous past and incorporating footage shot before his assassination on April 3, 2000.

CHATTEL HOUSE by Gladstone Yearwood, Documentary, BARBADOS
The film uses Caribbean vernacular architecture to chronicle development and change in Barbadian cultural history, in which Barbadians tell their own story using their voices and visions. *Director Gladstone Yearwood to attend

CUBA LIBRE by Juan Gerard, Narrative, CUBA
A coming of age love story set in the small town of Holguin, Cuba in 1958, with the Castro Revolution as backdrop. Shot in the Dominican Republic with talent from Cuba, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Miami. First feature done by Cuban-Americans and Cubans from Cuba working together.

A LIVING TESTIMONY: HIV and AID IN THE BAHAMAS by Maria Govan, Bahamas/US/Jamaica
A powerful documentary which follows three very different Bahmians living with HIV/AIDS over the course of three years. *Director Maria Govan to attend

ONE LOVE by Rick Elgood, Don Letts, Narrative, JAMAICA
Kassa, a free-wheeling Rasta man, falls for a straight laced gospel singer Serena, when they both meet as they enter a music contest. Serena's father the pastor forbids her to see him and wants her to marry one of his church members. Meanwhile the record boss organizing the contest tries to get Kassa's band to sign to his label on his terms not theirs. *Producer Yvonne Deutschman to attend.

In an effort to reach out to local and visiting families, BIFF is offering a wonderful selection of family fare. Film selections include:

Based on a true story, the film tells the story of a terminally ill 10-year-old boy whose dream is to catch the most beautiful butterfly on earth, the mythic and elusive Blue Morpho. His mother persuades a renowned entomologist to take them on a trip to the jungle to search for the butterfly, leading to an adventure that will transform their lives.

TOUCHING WILD HORSES by Eleanor Lindo, Narrative, USA
Ten-year old Mark goes to live with his Aunt Fiona, a crabby loner and a naturalist, who lives on an island and studies horses. As their relationship matures, Mark and Fiona face a crisis: one of the island's wild horses has been orphaned. The foal will not survive without their help, yet they are forbidden from interfering in the horses' lives. *Producer Lewis Chesler to attend.

The inaugural Bahamas International Film Festival will craft a genuine cultural experience for its guests by showcasing the nation’s many tropical charms, mixing international cinema with paradise. The Bahamas International Film Festival (December 9-12, 2004) is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing the local community and International visitors with a diverse presentation of films from around the world. In addition to offering films that might not otherwise be released theatrically in the Bahamas, BIFF will provide a unique cultural experience, educational programs, and forums for exploring the future of cinema. Founding sponsors for the 2004 Bahamas International Film Festival are the Island of the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and the Atlantis Paradise Island Resort. Airline partners include British Airways and US Airways.

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