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Nov 7, 2019

2019 Film Festival Kicks off at the Bliss

The Belize International Film Festival 2019 kicked off in grand fashion on Wednesday evening with the red carpet treatment.  The opening night of the fourteenth edition of the festival, hosted by Kendis Gibson, saw a number of familiar and not-so-familiar faces grace the stage at the Bliss Center for the Performing Arts.  Here’s a snapshot of the opening ceremony.


Kendis Gibson

“What is it about this film festival that is so important to the Taiwanese/Belizean community?”


Remus Li-Kuo Chang, Taiwanese Ambassador to Belize

“Well, Kendis, as you know, this year 2019, marks the thirtieth anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between Belize and Taiwan.  So all kinds of ideas came into our mind and how are we going to celebrate this robust and long lasting friendship.  And so we definitely would never give up the idea of, you know, through cultures, through movies, through film, that maybe actually this kind of great hobby that everybody enjoys.”


Suzette Zayden

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

“We’ve seen how much this festival has impacted the filmscape of Belize, we hear speakers talk about, I was listening to one of the jurors talk about our festival being fourteen years old and that’s a feat in any Caribbean country because they come and they go.  And in fact that’s kind of one of the reasons we’re here today, we have to thank all our supporters, we need to thank all of you that came out and watched the films.  We need to thank NICH for believing in the festival and supporting it when it came there.”


Nigel Miguel

Nigel Miguel, Belize Film Commissioner

“It makes me proud to be a part of what I’ve seen and what I’ve been seeing in this industry.  This is a real chance for us to tell our stories and I hope that all the filmmakers here realize that and take advantage of that.  We’ve been tasked with the responsibility of laying out what Belize is and what Belize is about.  So every story that we tell, I hope that our filmmakers take that to heart.”


Sapna Budhrani

Sapna Budhrani, President, NICH

“We cannot just sit and wait for some foreign entity to make a decision once in a while to come and film their story or for them to create their version of our story.  Why can’t we tell our own stories?  Belize is blessed and not just with scenery but with stories and I mean a lot of stories.  Our filmmakers are humble and passionate individuals who need every ounce of encouragement from us.  We are now working toward viewing ourselves as importers of foreign films and establishing Belize as an exporter.  Many possibilities lie ahead.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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