The Belize International Film Festival has grown significantly in its six years of existence with the addition of workshops, the big red carpet gala on opening night and this year, the Belize comedy tour. But the movies, documentaries and film making on a whole remain at the heart of it all. And while the actors are the faces we remember, it is important to acknowledge the writers, producers, directors, videographers and everyone else that works behind the scenes to make it to the big screen. News Five’s Delahnie Bain met some of the filmmakers today at the House of culture.
Delahnie Bain, Reporting
The weekend provided movie lovers with a chance to watch breakout actors in several continents at the Belize International Film Festival 2011. But today the Belize Audio Visual Industry Association (BAVIA) put the movie makers, directors and producers in front of the camera. The filmmakers attending the festival gave some insight into their pieces.
Russel Watson, Filmmaker, A Hand Full of Dirt
“My film is called A Hand Full of Dirt. It is a family drama that looks at three generations in a family and a conflict that they have over the family’s land and how that conflict actually tears apart the relationship in the family.”
Estrella Hendrickson, Filmmaker, 3 Ladies from an Island
“My film is a documentary, a short documentary about the struggle and hope and looseness of women in an island, Cuba, and maybe of all parts of the world.”
Calvin Standifer, Filmmaker, Catastrophic Magnitude
“I have a short documentary film on Haiti, post earthquake where I spent a total of sixty-two days in Haiti just documenting the lifestyle and the culture of the people.”
Ross Jordan, Filmmaker, Road to Damascus
“The Film is about a pastor who used to be an artist and he was given an offer to go back on the road and do music again. His wife doesn’t want him to because he was wilding out a bit when he was, so he decides to do it; there’s a little bit of scandal, flirtation, betrayal, things happened.”
Michael “Big Mike” Flores, Filmmaker, Amina the Powerful
Michael “Big Mike” Flores
“Our Movie, Amina the Powerful, takes a look at ourselves, takes a look at the Belizean man’s attitude towards the Belizean woman and a little bit of the Belizean woman’s attitude towards herself so to speak.”
Cristobal Krusen, Filmmaker, The Bill Collector
“The title, The Bill Collector is in a sense, a dublon ton. There are two bill collectors in movie; Danny Trejo being the other one who’s not very nice and the main character works as a bill collector. It turns out that he owes the Danny Trejo character a lot of money; he’s been hiding from him on the run.”
Of this year’s six filmmakers, Michael “Big Mike” Flores of Hopkins Village was the only one who has previous entries with this film festival, while Ross Jordan has significantly contributed to the local music industry.
Michael “Big Mike” Flores
“Belize Liberator Productions’ movie was selected last year for the Belize International Film Festival and mina the Powerful this year so that’s two movies, one a year for us. We’re hoping that next year—we’re working on a fast action karate movie called Chino’s Story. It will be featuring a young Mayan black belt fellow with Berne Velasquez as his co-star. It’s a challenge too. I’m hoping that every year we bring something different.”
“We’ve done over thirty DVDs for the Belizean community starring Supa G, Lloyd, Reckless, Aziatic, Maime, also Road to Damascus, Maime has a guest starring appearance in it and a lot of different artists; Chico Ramos. I’ve done work with Andy P.”
And while Belize’s film industry is still young, these experienced producers and directors are optimistic that the film festival on the right path.
“I’m very enthusiastic about the progress. This is my first time at the festival but from what I understand about the progress that it has made so far and the kind of personalities that are here and the strategies that are being employed; I’m very enthusiastic about the future of this festival and participating in it.”
“I’m very honored that we were able to have the world premier here because Road to Damascus has eighty percent Belizean music in the film so to have a world premier here, it’s an honor and I wouldn’t want to do it any other way. And the LA premier can wait, the Chicago premier can wait.”
“For me, it is an honor to be here. I appreciate that you would show my film frankly and I really look forward to collaboration in the future.”
“I really don’t know in this moment whether I’m Cuban or Belizean because coming to this festival for the first time, I have part of my heart in this festival.”
The filmmakers also offered their expert advice to persons interested in video production. And hopefully we’ll see the results in next year’s festival. Delahnie Bain for News Five.
The film festival continued this evening with the screening of Amina the Powerful.