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2004-12-07 16:57:40

Bahamas International Flim Festival Highlights Caribbean

Nearly 10% of films being presented in the Festival are of Bahamian origin and almost 15% of the overall number of films are of Caribbean origin.

Nassau, Bahamas – The Bahamas International Film Festival (BIFF) is pleased to announce the Opening and Closing Night Galas for its first annual Festival from two directors originally discovered on the film festival circuit.   BIFF will kick off its inaugural Festival on Thursday, December 9, 2004 at 7:30 PM with the International Premiere of Steven Soderbergh's OCEAN'S TWELVE and close the Festival with the International Premiere of Wes Anderson's THE LIFE AQUATIC WITH STEVE ZISSOU, on Sunday, December 12, 2004 at 7:00 PM.  The Galas will take place at the Atlantis Paradise Island Resort & Casino.  “It means a great deal to both the Festival and the nation to be presenting these premieres by two of the world's top filmmakers,' states Festival Director Leslie Vanderpool.  “It is an affirmation of what BIFF is trying to do for our community and Hollywood's endorsement of our efforts.'  


Warner Brothers' OCEAN'S TWELVE follows Danny Ocean (George Clooney) as he gathers the original gang of con artists and thieves from OCEAN'S ELEVEN to pull off three separate heists in Amsterdam, Rome, and Paris.  Dealing with increasing pressure from a very mad Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia), a dedicated Europol agent, and a mysterious French rival simply called the Dinner Jacket, the Ocean's crew attempts to reach their full potential and become the greatest thieves the world has ever known without falling victim to Benedict's revenge.  Whatever the outcome, all bets are off. The film stars Brad Pitt, Catherine Zeta-Jones, George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Matt Damon, Andy Garcia, Bernie Mac, Don Cheadle, Peter Fonda, Casey Affleck, and Scott Caan. OCEAN'S TWELVE will screen at the Atlantis Theatre with an introduction by The Honorable Perry G. Christie, Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas followed by a Champagne dessert  Reception at Five Twins at the Atlantis Casino.  


Touchstone Pictures's THE LIFE AQUATIC WITH STEVE ZISSOU will screen as part of the Closing Night Gala, preceded by the Awards Ceremony on Sunday, December 12, 2004 at 7:00 PM at the Atlantis Theater.  Wes Anderson's latest follows the exploits of internationally famous oceanographer, Steve Zissou (Bill Murray) and his crew.  Their mission: to hunt down the mysterious, elusive, possibly non-existent Jaguar Shark that killed Zissou's partner during the documentary filming of their latest adventure.  Oscar-nominated Wes Anderson (RUSHMORE, THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS) has assembled an all-star cast in this wildly original adventure comedy including Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Cate Blanchett, Angelica Houston, Willem Dafoe, and Jeff Goldblum.  

At the Festival Awards ceremony, BIFF will present awards to the winner of the Spirit of Freedom film competition as well as the winner of the Modern Maverick Award from the Festival's New Visions competition, presented by legendary filmmaker Roger Corman.  Both winners will receive hand-blown glass awards, made by our own Sydney Pratt and commissioned by BIFF.


BIFF is proud to present a regional spotlight showcasing recent Bahamian and Caribbean cinema as well as the culture of the nation.  Out of 460 films submitted from around the world, BIFF has programmed 50% of all Bahamian submissions.   Nearly 10% of films being presented in the Festival are of Bahamian origin and almost 15% of the overall number of films are of Caribbean origin.  The admissions for the festival are very high considering the festival's international scope.  The Caribbean Spotlight will show five Bahamian films, including one feature and four shorts.  BIFF Founder and Festival Director Leslie Vanderpool says, “As a first time Festival located in the Caribbean, BIFF is proud to showcase the abundance of talent found within The Bahamas and all of our Caribbean island neighbors.'  

Film selections for the Caribbean Spotlight include:

(Note: Bahamian Films are noted by an *)

THE AGRONOMIST by Jonathan Demme, Documentary, USA

From Academy-Award winning filmmaker Jonathan Demme, THE AGRONOMIST tells the story of Haitian national hero, journalist, and freedom fighter Jean Dominique, whom Demme first met and filmed in 1986.  As owner and operator of his nation's oldest and only free radio station, Dominique was frequently at odds with his country's various repressive governments and spent much of the 80's and early 90's in exile in New York, where Demme continued to interview him over the years.  Dominique fought tirelessly against his country's overwhelming injustice, oppression, and poverty, but it was Dominique's shocking and still-unsolved assassination in April of 2000 that gave the director the impetus to assemble more than a decade's worth of material into a celebration of this dynamic man and his legacy.  THE AGRONOMIST, a portrait of a remarkable man, his extraordinary wife, and their beloved nation, represents a labor of love for Demme and is his return to the non-fiction arena, joining an extensive body of documentaries that includes STOP MAKING SENSE, SWIMMING TO CAMBODIA, COUSIN BOBBY, and HAITI: DREAMS OF DEMOCRACY. The versatile filmmaker won his Best Director Oscar for the 1991 thriller, SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, one of the rare films to win the Academy Award for Best Picture, Actor, and Actress.  Demme's subsequent feature film, an updated version of Richard Condon's paranoid classic, THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE, with Denzel Washington and Meryl Streep in starring roles, was also a hit at the box office.

THE AGRONOMIST screens at the Galleria 6, Theater B on Sunday, December 12 at 1:30 PM.

CHATTEL HOUSE by Gladstone Yearwood, Documentary, BARBADOS

This documentary does everything right: it is well produced and directed, with abundant expert discussion, framed in the proper context from every angle, and easily understood and appreciated.  The film is as much about the passing of an age as it is about the chattel house itself.  What is a "chattel house"?  It is a single-story wooden dwelling with one or more sections, which rests on stone or concrete blocks so that it can be lifted off its foundation, disassembled, and transported to another site for quick reassembly.  Director/Producer Gladstone Yearwood manages to elevate a structure, that most of us would consider utterly pedestrian and unremarkable in every way, into a lesson on sociology, economics, history, architecture and law.  

CHATTEL HOUSE screens at Galleria 6, Theater A on Saturday, December 11 at 1:15 PM.  Director Gladstone Yearwood to attend.  JONATHAN GREEN AT WORK precedes the film.

CUBA LIBRE by Juan Gerard, Narrative, CUBA

Cuba, 1958.  In a small country town, under the spell of his charismatic grandfather Che (Harvey Keitel) -- and with Castro's rebels drawing ever closer -- the Boy (Andhy Mendez) watches endless Hollywood movies, dreaming of adventure, wrapped in magic, his beloved grandmother Beta (Diana Bracho) at his side.  Torn between family loyalty, the painful fires of adolescent passion, a rivalry with rebel neighbor Ricky (Gael García-Bernal), and his secret friendship with the mysterious American blonde Julia (Iben Hjejle), the Boy is forced into a harsh new world of longing, loss of innocence, betrayal, disillusion and redemption.  A dangerous, marvelous world where broken dreams sometimes come true.

CUBA LIBRE screens at Galleria 6 on Saturday, December 11 at 3:30 PM.  The short film, LIONS ARE GREEN will screen before CUBA LIBRE.

*WHERE I'M FROM by Maria Govan, Bahamas/USA/Jamaica

A powerful documentary which follows three very different Bahamians living with HIV/AIDS over the course of three years.  *Director Maria Govan to attend

*WHERE I'M FROM screens at Galleria 6 on Sunday, December 12 at 1:00 PM.  Director Maria Govan to attend.   The short film Amal precedes it.

ONE LOVE by Rick Elgood, Don Letts, Narrative, JAMAICA

Kassa, a free-wheeling Rasta-man, falls for a straight laced gospel singer Serena, when they both meet as they enter a music contest. Serena's father the pastor forbids her to see him and wants her to marry one of his church members. Meanwhile the record boss organizing the contest tries to get Kassa's band to sign to his label on his terms, not theirs.  Jamaica's very own “Romeo and Juliet', One Love is set against the backdrop of the country's rich musical heritage. Ky-mani Marley is the leading actor. As our Romeo, Kassa plays a reggae musician striving to remain “conscious' amidst the corrupt commercialism of the music business.  His world is turned around by the luminescent Serena (played by singer Cherine Anderson), a church girl with an angelic vocal range who is forbidden to sing reggae or date anyone vaguely resembling a Rastafarian; besides, she is engaged to the stuffy, jealous Aaron. So when Kassa proposes to join creative forces and she feels her ardor rising, she is plunged into confusion.  Rick Elgood graduated from Nottingham Art School and launched his film career as the editor for the director Derek Jarman's   War Requiem   (88). His first feature, Dancehall Queen (co- directed with Don Letts, 97) played as a part of the Planet Africa programme in 1997. One Love (co-director, 03) is his second feature.  Don Letts was born in Britain of Jamaican parents. As a Dj and Filmmaker, he famously introduced a generation of punks to reggae in the late seventies. He has directed several documentaries since making his feature debut with The Punk Rock Movie (78). His other features, co-directed with Rick Elgood, are Dancehall Queen (97) and One Love (03).

ONE LOVE screens at the Galleria 6 on Friday, December 10 at 7:00 PM.  Producer Yvonne Deutschman to attend.


Bahamian Short Films in the festival include:


The first Bahamian animated cartoon, COCOMON AND THE FRUITYTOONS is the story of a musical singing group starting Cocomon the Bahamian Coconut and six fruit characters from around the world including Jamaica, Puerto Rico, China, and India.  This film embraces cultural diversity, family values, and nutritional eating.   Delano Johnson, the filmmaker, says, “I believe we need to understand how to live together, and I believe our kids need to understand the effects of globalization and how that affects us.'  

**COCOMON AND THE FRUITY TOONS screens at the Atlantis Theater on Friday, December 10 at 10:00 AM with the short film, FLY before the feature-length film, LOLITA.


A group of friends get together every Friday to have lunch, however this Friday one of the guys sees his boy's girlfriend going into a store with another man.  He rushes to tell his friends what he saw. What he actually saw unwittingly was nothing more than a girl planning a surprise party for her boyfriend. The boyfriend accepts what his friends said as truth reacts disastrously.  Charles W.V Kemp III attended Full Sail Film Institute of Orlando, Florida, where he completed in studies in Film Production and Lighting. He is the CEO of Down Home Entertainment, a local video production company in The Bahamas. His focus is to produce movies and videos with a conscious community message. Presently, he's working on a movie script to begin shooting in June 2005.      

DOMESTIC screens before Spike Lee's SHE HATE ME on Saturday, December 11 at 6:00 PM at the Atlantis Theatre


Everybody wants the best for their child, but how far will they go to get it?  Sigmund's parents adore him. God knows they had to work hard to get him.  It's only right they want him to go to the best school in the country, and they're prepared to do whatever it takes.  They move house, go to the right church, and make substantial donations to the school.  But after 'helping' Sigmund through the school exams, they're still tenth in line....until they start killing off those preceding them on the waiting list.   GETTING IN is a ten-minute dark comedy about the lengths parents will go in order to get their child into the 'right' school.

GETTING IN screens before DORIAN BLUES at the Galleria 6 on Friday, December 10 at 6:45 PM.

JONATHAN GREEN AT WORK by Charles Allan Smith, BAHAMAS, Documentary

A remarkable documentary film about a day in the life and work of the celebrated and charismatic American painter, Jonathan Green. The film allows a rare glimpse into the unique way of life of this outstanding artist—a lifestyle that integrates his work, environment, Gullah heritage and culture, bringing together Green's acute sense of space, privacy and dignity with his creative genius. The film begins with the start of Green's day, painting in the early hours of the morning while discussing his life, dreams and way of being. Following a natural rhythm of life that Green has created in his home studio, the audience is led through Green's world as the day unfolds. The documentary also includes a brief visit to Green's birthplace and the source of his inspiration, Gardens Corner, South Carolina.  Jonathan Green at Work also incorporates a photography exhibit of Smith's candid images of Green. These rich, passionate photographs are filled with the textures, simplicity and grace for which Green's work and personality is recognized throughout the world.  Charles Allan Smith was born in Nassau, Bahamas and has more than fifteen years of experience as a producer, director, photographer, writer and on-air talent. He has participated in almost every aspect of the media including print, television and film, working equally well behind the scenes and in front of the camera. Charles has created, produced, directed and hosted television shows that have aired throughout the world. Many of these photographs have been shown in museums and are in national and international collections of photography throughout the world. Smith has produced a series of photographs of Lenny Kravitz, the Bahamen (the group with the recent hit Who Let The Dogs Out); Johnny Rotten (formerly of the Sex Pistols); Philip Michael Thomas (of Miami Vice); Speech (from the group Arrested Development) and Notch (from the group Born Jamericans). Smith has also photographed album covers for Joss Stone, The Bahamen and Nathan Stone. Recently Smith has produced a suite of photographs of the American painter, Jonathan Green. These remarkable images have been featured in a series of selected museum exhibitions nationwide.

Jonathan Green at Work screens before CHATTEL HOUSE at Galleria 6 on Saturday, December 11 at 1:15 PM.

TEF directed by Cristian Young Miller, BAHAMAS

A Bahamian art thief tries to steal a famous painting from the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas.

TEF screens before DOG GONE LOVE on Friday, December 10 at 3:00 PM at the Atlantis Theatre.

Cinema in Paradise

The inaugural Bahamas International Film Festival will craft a genuine cultural experience for its guests by showcasing the nation's many tropical charms, mixing international cinema with paradise.  The Bahamas International Film Festival (December 9-12, 2004) is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing the local community and International visitors with a diverse presentation of films from around the world. In addition to offering films that might not otherwise be released theatrically in the Bahamas, BIFF will provide a unique cultural experience, educational programs, and forums for exploring the future of cinema. Founding sponsors for the 2004 Bahamas International Film Festival are the Island of the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and the Atlantis Paradise Island Resort.  Airline partners include British Airways and US Airways.

Please visit for details.

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