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Spike Lee's Miracle at St. Anna will close Bahamas

Festival Founder and Executive Director Leslie Vanderpool today announced the final program details for the 5th edition of the Bahamas International Film Festival (BIFF), which takes place December 4-11, 2008. This year, the Festival will showcase 80 films from 22 different countries, including 50 features of which several are world or international premieres and nearly all Bahamian premieres. The four competition categories at BIFF are Spirit of Freedom: Dramatic; Spirit of Freedom: Documentary; New Vision; and Short Film.

It was also announced that the Festival’s Closing Night Film will be Spike Lee’s “Miracle at St. Anna.”

Commented Vanderpool, “I am so pleased to be welcoming Spike Lee’s wonderful film back to Nassau, Bahamas as ‘Miracle of St. Anna’ was shot on Rose Island. What a perfect story book ending for the 2008 Closing Night Film.”

Among the films screening at BIFF are “Sugar” directed by Ryan Fleck; Maria Govan’s “Rain;” Aaron Woodley’s “Tennessee” starring Mariah Carey; “August” starring Josh Hartnett, Adam Scott, and Robin Tunney, directed by Austin Chick; “Fling” directed by John Stewart Muler and starring Brandon Routh; “Hush Your Mouth” starring Kahlid Abdalla (“The Kite Runner”); short film “Holly” starring Ron Livingston by director Guy Moshe; “The Skeptic” with Tom Arnold and Zoe Saldana; and Baillie Walsh’s “Flashbacks of a Fool” with Daniel Craig, Harry Eden and Eve Jihan Jeffers.

“Miracle at St. Anna” is directed and produced by two-time Academy Award® nominee Spike Lee from a novel and screenplay by James McBride. The film stars Derek Luke, Michael Early, Laz Alonso, John Turturro, John Leguizamo, Kerry Washington, D.B. Sweeney, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Omari Hardwick and Pierfrancesco Favino. Producing alongside Lee are Matthew Libatique, Roberto Cicutto and Luigi Musini.

“Miracle at St. Anna” begins in 1983 with Hector Negron, a veteran of that war, unexpectedly shooting a customer dead. Police discover that the suspect, a quiet postal worker, kept a statue head worth millions of dollars in his apartment. An eager young reporter (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) interviews Negron in his cell about the mysterious artifact. While serving in the all-minority 92nd "Buffalo Soldier" Division, Negron and three comrades managed to sneak deep into enemy territory in Italy. One of the men, Sam Train (Omar Benson Miller), picked the head up while they were serving in Florence and believes it brings him good luck. Negron (Laz Alonso), Train, and Bishop Cummings (Michael Ealy), along with their sergeant, Aubrey Stamps (Derek Luke), take refuge in the Italian village of St. Anna, harbored by locals who are resisting the Nazis -- who themselves surround the area. Train also protects an injured Italian boy he discovers while investigating a seemingly abandoned dwelling. Eventually, the soldiers make contact with their superiors, and are ordered to capture a German so that he may be interrogated about an upcoming attack.

The Festival’s opening night film is acclaimed indie drama “Rain.” The film is written, directed and produced by Maria Govan, a Bahamian filmmaker who participated in BIFF’s celebrated Filmmaker Residency Program back in 2005. Govan developed “Rain” through BIFF’s Residency Program.

There is no shortage of star power at this year’s festival. Academy Award® winner Sir Sean Connery will again be lending his full support at BIFF, attending as the Festival’s Patron. Connery will be on hand to present BIFF’s Career Achievement Award to Laurence Fisburne on Sunday, December 7th.

On Monday, December 8th, actress Anna Faris (“House Bunny,” “Scary Movie” series, “Lost in Translation”) will be feted with the Festival’s special Rising Star tribute.

The full BIFF program is now available in print or online at www.bintlfilmfest.com Booking for the Bahamas International Film Festival 2008 is now open. Tickets can be booked online, over the telephone, or in person at BIFF box offices. Every year the Festival offers advance ticket deals from the date of Box opening to the first day of the Festival.

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