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Nov 10, 2016

The Belize International Film Festival is Here!

It’s lights, camera and action tonight at the Bliss Center for the Performing Arts, as the eleventh annual Belize International Film Festival takes center stage. For the first time it is being held in the month of November, outside of its traditional summer placement to give it more prominence and an audience of younger film watchers and potential film makers. Thirty-four films in wide categories and seventeen music videos will be judged to their creative artistry and resonance, while their makers examine how Belize can pick up its reputation in a slowly developing local industry. News Five correspondent Aaron Humes has more.

 

Holly Edgell

Aaron Humes, Reporting

From Rob Reiner to Wil Maheia, from Guatemala to India, this weekend sees Belize get its close-up at our home-grown International Film Festival. Tonight is opening night, and the National Institute of Culture and History’s Holly Edgell says that whatever they watch, movie-goers should be in for a thought-provoking time.

 

Holly Edgell, Communications and Marketing Officer, N.I.C.H.

“We deal with a lot of social themes that resonate with Belize, but also resonate around the region and to a degree are universal. So we are going to see a lot of environmental themes; themes about people and place; there are some more light-hearted types of selections as well, but I think people will be very interested to see how these different filmmakers look at issues like human trafficking, protecting the environment; are sort of who we are as people in the region of the Caribbean and Latin America. It’s going to be really nice; if we have a theme, I would say that’s probably why, what we are known for.”

 

The two films, one short, the other a full feature, which will be featured following the opening ceremony, are prime examples of those universal themes.

 

Holly Edgell

“Yochi” was actually filmed in Belize and largely has a cast and crew from Belize, and was shot in Maya, English and Creole. It’s a very special film; it’s a short film about a boy who wants to protect yellow-headed parrots in the face of poaching, so we’re really very excited about that one. And the second film is a feature-length film called “Ixcanul,” which is also in Maya ‘Volcano’, and that is set in Guatemala, also in a contemporary setting in the Maya world, where a woman is fighting her parents to escape an arranged marriage.”

 

Of course, filmmaking is not as simple as pointing a camera and shouting, “Action!” The symposiums to be held on Friday and Saturday will discuss what happens behind the scenes and how Belize can extend its reach as a potential filmmaking haven beyond television to feature films and documentaries.

 

Holly Edgell

“We want to encourage local people – people who live here, people who are from here – to up our game collectively as filmmakers, music video producers, documentarians; but we also of course want to attract outside filmmakers to come in and consider Belize as a location. There is a lot of economic benefit to having a film come in here. And we have actually seen quite a bit of success on the front of television programs coming in and using Belize as a setting.”

 

Aaron Humes reporting, for News Five.

 

Final prizes including one for Best Belizean Film will be handed out on Sunday night during a closing concert. Tickets to individual films are ten dollars general admission and half that for students and senior citizens. An all-access pass is available for seventy-five dollars at the Bliss and online at Belize film festival dot com. Stay tuned to this station for the Opening Night Red Carpet Gala and Ceremony coming up immediately following this newscast.

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