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Nov 10, 2017

Lights, Camera, Action for International Film Festival

The 2017 Belize International Film Festival officially opened on Thursday night at the Bliss Center for the Performing Arts. Professionals in the audio and visual art industries walked the red carpet at the start of the three-day event.  The annual festival has been growing steadily and this year, there are more entries in film and music videos. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

The opening of the twelfth edition of the Belize International Film Festival was held at the Bliss Center for the Performing Arts following a red carpet even featuring producers, actors and filmmakers as well as the judges for the short films and music videos that will be presented during the next few days inside the theatre.

 

Suzette Zayden

Suzette Zayden, Director, Film & Media Arts Unit, ICA

“…an exciting film full of action; suspenseful, thought-provoking or educational…many of the films that we have for you in this year’s festival are just that and we hope that you will enjoy what we have prepared for you over the next few days.”

 

Guerrilla Hollywood Director, Michael Mihail will determine the winner in the music video category.  Meanwhile three female judges have the very hard task of choosing the winners for the festival in the categories of featured films, documentary and short films.  They are: independent filmmaker and teacher, Marian Pletcher; Production Company Owner Rebecca Ruse and producer and Emmy-award winning actress Lynn Whitfield.

 

Lynn Whitfield

Lynn Whitfield, Emmy-Award Winning Actress

“I will just say that storytelling for me is an honor. It is an honor to shine a mirror and a light on our diaspora and on our people, on interesting and textured characters. And I say to you that it is an honor to do it; it is precious subject matter and we have to be extremely responsible with our stories and keep integrity, keep the joy of it, the fun of it and know that it is so special. It is such an honor to be able to do it.”

 

Melanie Price shared some of the highlights of the festival, including workshops and symposiums.

 

Melanie Price

Melanie Price, Events & Symposium Coordinator, BIFF

“The first one is at nine a.m.; it is called pitching your project properly – your checklist. So this is for all the artists, all the filmmakers, all the writers who already have their ideas in the print form and then you want to go to the next step to find the funding and the producers and the support to make your film come to life. And then at 10:30, you need to come because we are going to have a bomb conversation about the decriminalization of that beautiful plant called the cannabis. And there is a movie that we’re spotlighting and screening called Mary Janes, the Women of Weed. Saturday right here at the symposium again is a copyright compliance conversation. So we are going to have people who know about the legislation in relation to what it means to copyright your work, what it means to make sure you’re licensed when you’re producing or when you are promoting or when you are distributing your artistry.”

 

Director of the Film and Media Arts Unit at the Institute of Creative Arts, Suzette Zayden, says that the mission is to further develop the film industry in Belize.

 

Suzette Zayden

“Here in Belize we are working very hard to nurture a welcoming environment for filmmaking and we welcome researchers who investigate culture, science, environment and who have discovered that the camera is an important investigative tool and its edited product is a means to share information with others. We also welcome the business people; those who use film to advertise their products which in turn gives jobs to those of us in the industry who are waiting to make our own personal films.”

 

Duane Moody for News Five.

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