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Jul 15, 2013

Winners announced at close of Film Festival

An award ceremony this morning brought to a close the eighth Film Festival. Close to fifty films were presented. The winner of the Best Feature Length Documentary was the Abominable Crime; in the category of the Best Short Film the winner is CEBU; the Best Short Documentary is “Agape: Story of Dream,” while Best Feature Length Narrative, went to TOOMELAH. Now, the most notable Belizean Film was “Maroons: Africans on the Move,” while the Best Music Video was a tie between Melonie Gillett’s Come Away and Tanya Carter’s Ex-Boyfriend. News Five’s Jose Sanchez was at the award ceremony and has this report.

 

Jose Sanchez, Reporting

Earlier today, the curtains closed for the Eight Annual Belize International Film Festival. It culminated with an award ceremony at the House of Culture.

 

Suzette Zayden, Founder/Director, Belize Film Festival

Suzette Zayden

“The eighth Belize International Film Festival for us was a success. It shows that for us we are growing. We had forty-nine films in the festival, but we don’t really judge ourselves by the quantity of films in the fest but the quality of the films and the interest of the filmmakers. In this instance, we had about sixteen foreigners here—many of whom came on their own expenses; travelled to come and promote their film here in Belize to our Belizean audiences. For me that signifies success because it means that they believe in the festival and an award or win at this festival would mean something to their film. It shows us that our reputation as a festival is growing.”

 

The Most Notable Belizean Film was MAROONS: Africans on the Move which was directed by Michael Flores.

 

Michael Flores

Michael Flores, Winner

“It’s a short documentary that looked at the cultural similarity and African cultural continuity between the maroons of Jamaica, the Garifuna of Central America and other maroons in the Diaspora for example Suriname and Guelageechi islands—maroons in a whole in the world as an evolution of our history as people in the world. We shot this movie in Guatemala, we shot in Jamaica and we shot in Dangriga. Very costly to make it, but it was an investment on our side. Our job really is to do work to educate our people. I do this for the love of my people, Belize people, African people, black people, people all over the world. And I hope that what we do will help to raise the consciousness level of our people at home and abroad.”

 

The Best Music Video was a tie between Melonie Gillett’s Come Away and Tanya Carter’s Ex-Boyfriend.

 

Carlo Habet

Carlo Habet, Ex-Boyfriend

“The video was a success because “Ex-boyfriend” is a hit. So I just made a video that went with the song. But at the end of the day we wanted to do something that brought the song to life and gave people an idea of what it is she was signing about and apparently we succeeded. I’m very humbled and flattered that we were picked and tied. Kudos as well to Melonie Gillett, who is another stalwart in the industry; a lot of great work behind her as well. Just great that we got picked and we are going to raise the bar from here on up.”

 

The Best Feature Length Narrative went to Australian film TOOMELAH. Special Jury Mention went to Home Again, directed by Sudz Sutherland.

 

Sudz Sutherland

Sudz Sutherland

“I’m very happy that it won. I’m very happy to be here. I’m very happy to open the festival. The eighth annual Belize international film festival and it was a very great response to a film about forced repatriation or deportee-ism. And so I know that it affects Belize as well as the rest of the region and it is something that we need to talk about. Western Democracies are becoming more aggressive in repatriating people they don’t want. So it is something we need to talk about.”

 

Rigoberto Lopez, Jury Member, Film Festival

“My hope is of course, Belize can develop a good film movement, a national movement. And I think if we can support this experience, this force, we are available.”

 

Jose Sanchez

Rigoberto Lopez

“People may not have the education, but you used the word “inconsistent” in terms of the presentation. Tell us about that.”

 

Rigoberto Lopez

“I say the representation of the Belizean film was inconsistent in terms of quality. The problem is not if the film is national or not national. The problem is that it could be a national, but also good film, good cinema. If you want to show your films for a national audience that action can be just one action for a willing action. It could be because the film is good and the people go to see the film, the subject is interesting and the narration in terms of the cinema is good. In that sense, we say it is important to develop a level of the quality of the Belizean cinema for the next edition. You can change that situation and include it in the program or the selection…to have real consistency.”

 

Suzette Zayden

“We’re trying to up the ante and encourage Belizean producers to raise the quality despite the fact that they have financial obstacles.”

 

Many of the films will continue to show in the traveling Caribbean Showcase.  Reporting for News Five, Jose Sanchez.

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