Sixty videos features at Film Festival

The annual Belize International Film Festival will not open until July, but today, a preview of what you can expect was revealed. The National Institute of Culture of History announced today that the festival is growing and that this year, more submissions were entered. All in all, there will be forty-five films and fifteen music videos featured when the festival gets underway. Duane Moody was on hand for the announcement of the calendar of events.


Duane Moody, Reporting

The media launch of the ninth annual Belize International Film Festival was held today at the House of Culture in Belize City. The event was to unveil a teaser for the film festival and to announce that of the local and international submissions, forty-five short films, featured films and documentaries were selected. Technical quality, esthetics, style and content were the criteria used to determine the selections.


Suzette Zayden, Director, Film Festival 2014

“This year we got a lot of entries, a lot of short documentaries even more than the featured films which is interesting because that is an area that we really need to start concentrating on here in Belize; encouraging people to make short films. So the more shorts they can see, the more inspired they can be to say that’s not so long so I can do that too. We had a three month submission period from January to March. Submissions came in from all over the world. We did not choose every film; we chose forty-five films. I believe we got about seventy films submitted. We are always happy to see the submissions coming from out of Belize. It is always interesting to see when they come in from Europe and from areas that are much further away than the Belizean reality. Quite frankly, we are just happy. We don’t know how they know about us; the power of the internet and help of your guys of course, but they are hearing about us and they are very pleased to be a part of our festival.”


Of those films selected, only six were of Belizean directors, producers and filmmakers. One category, however, that was extended only to Belizeans was that of music videos. Of the thirty-five entered, fifteen will be featured during the festival slated for July seventeenth through to twentieth. This year, the official opening ceremonies of the festival will be held at Robert’s Grove Resort in Placencia.


Suzette Zayden

“There is going to be an opening night gala, our red carpet arrival, official ceremony and opening night film. It all starts at five-thirty to seven-thirty…we will be televising this live. Official ceremonies are until seven-thirty. Skip Weaver who is sitting here is coordinating that event. We are looking at a beach screen and I’ve been told that we will be treated to stuff like the airplanes.”


Also used as a springboard, the film industry has gained the support of various organizations; triggering several projects including that of a three to ten minute video competition on the theme: “RICH IN RESOURCES: How to depend on Marine Resources.” Alex Ellis of OCEANA Belize, explains.


Alex Ellis, OCEANA Belize

“It is professional, but the idea of this competition…it is more of an amateur base. We want people from all walks of life so whatever video capturing device you have—whether that is a cell phone, a tablet, or a digital camera—you can submit. So we are not judging based on fancy editing or lighting. It is really about storytelling and the idea is really to paint that connection to the marine resources. So maybe you sell ceviche in Benque or you are a local jeweler in Sarteneja using Lionfish; there is no right or wrong and so someone who can submit; it is completely open. The idea is to make that connection whether it be food, work, culture. It’s gonna be three to ten minutes in length and we ask the entrants to upload it to their site of choice whether it is YouTube or Vimeo, etc.”


A new feature to the activities surrounding the film festival is a five-day film school that will see Stouffer productions out of the US carrying out a youth workshop on techniques of the film industry.


Gregg Stouffer, Stouffer Productions

“I can teach people. The film school’s primary goal is to create intensive hands-on workshops where in three to five weeks, we teach somebody everything they need to know to be an electrician, to be a gaffer, to be sound operator. And the other side of the business as well…production management, catering, set design. Once a community really cannot thrive until it has a large base of talented and experienced people in all of those fields.”


The festival concludes on July twentieth with a two-hour awards ceremony at the Ramada Belize City Princess. Duane Moody for News Five.