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2005-09-19 15:35:55

Film Festival Kicks Off With a Splash

Several hundred people swarmed to the prestigious Nygard Cay to have a great time, support the festival and see the critically acclaimed film 'Haven'.

Bahamas International Film Festival organizers were subjected to a classic example of Murphy's Law at Saturday night's opening fund raiser, as everything that could go wrong, did. But despite a heavy downpour and some technical difficulties, the show went on. Several hundred people swarmed to the prestigious Nygard Cay to have a great time, support the festival and see the critically acclaimed film 'Haven'. Written and directed by Cayman Islander Frank E. Flowers, 'Haven' features Orlando Bloom, Zoe Saldana, Bill Paxton and Anthony Mackie.

'Haven', which is the first feature film for Flowers, is a non-linear film that follows the actions of two corrupt businessmen (Paxton and Stephen Dillane) who flee to the Cayman Islands to avoid federal prosecution. The film also follows the escalating love between a British fisherman (Bloom) and a kind, rich woman (Saldana). Flowers has already received recognition for the film by critics and audiences alike after its premiere at the Toronto Film Festival last year.

In attendance at Saturday's fund raiser were 'Haven' producer Robbie Brenner, along with Flowers and Saldana.  The latter two gave speeches before the first attempted screening of the film, in an outdoor festival setting. A rain delay, then technical difficulties forced the film screening indoors but not before festival founder Leslie Vanderpool announced that a Filmmakers Residency Programme will be added to this year's itinerary. Opening on December 9, the programme is aimed at aspiring Bahamian and Caribbean filmmakers, actors and support personnel. The Residency Programme will be chaired by Academy-Award nominated filmmaker Spike Lee, whose film 'She Hate Me' was very well received at last year's inaugural Bahamas International Film Festival.

The overflowing crowd snacked on delicious hors d' oeuvres and was generously served from at least a dozen bars scattered throughout the lavish 150,000-square-foot Mayan-themed resort home of fashion mogul Peter Nygard. Photographers flocked throughout the grand hall, snapping pictures of Mr. Nygard and his glamourous guests. Mr. Nygard's enthusiastic love for the film industry goes back decades. From 1985 to 1988, Mr. Nygard played an instrumental role on the Board of the Toronto International Film Festival. He also played a key role in raising funds for film preservation and at one time, hosted the 'Night of 100 Stars' Academy Awards celebration that benefits the Martin Scorsese Film Foundation.

The Second Annual Bahamas International Film Festival begins on December 8 and runs through the 11. For more information visit

Matt Cromwell, Bahamas B2B

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