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Feb 4, 2015

Suzette Zayden on Training Up-and-coming Filmmakers

Suzette Zayden

While the festival will be limited to three days, the film and media arts unit has been working around the clock with young film makers and animators as well as videographers and audio-visual novices to raise the standards of Belizean films. For a second year in a row, the festival will include a week-long training on techniques of the film industry. But there are still some challenges, says Director Zayden.


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

“There are other elements that we do. We have training workshops that we try and do throughout the year. We focus a few around the festival. Last year we did a five-day film school workshop a week or so before the festival; we are going to repeat it again this year. It was very well-received. It’s pretty much an introductory course for people who are interested, don’t know so much about it and want to see a little bit and participate in making a film. The end result of that is an actual student film and it’s on Facebook right now. We are also going to do a documentary course as well this year. It will happen after the festival, but it is going to be looking more at using technology as a tool for indigenous groups or pretty much any interest groups that would like to tell their stories.  Challenge is getting people into those cinemas. It is not the biggest…Belize is still not a great audience culture. Our strategies include working with community spaces and playing films in the park. So last year we did Orange Walk (Queen Elizabeth Park), we did San Pedro, we did the Visitor’s Center in San Ignacio, we did Seine Bight Community Center; we did Memorial Park in Belize City. We are looking to expand and try and add Punta Gorda to the list, Corozal wants to be on the list. Benque says remember we are still here. So we are taking advantage of NICH’s various Houses of Culture to assist us to get this out and making it a national festival. So we are going to look at that the following weekend during the encore presentations.”


Several awards are up for grabs this year including best films in all six categories as well as best animation, most notable Belizean film and a youth audience award. The deadline for submissions is March thirty-first.

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