Belize International Film Festival: Last call

The National Institute of Culture and History through the Bliss Center for the Performing Arts has issued last calls for entries for the 2014 Belize International Film Festival. While the event is slated for July, it’s coming down to the wire for those final submissions to be entered. Open calls started from January and so far, there have been numerous submissions from both local and international film makers and editors; this year, there have been a record number of Belizean music video entries…and the quality, right up there as well. According to Festival Director, Suzette Zayden, the ninth edition of the festival has brought more Belizean entries than in previous years and continues to draw international recognition. The festival is a platform for film makers and editors to showcase their productions. Zayden told News Five today that the deadline has been extended by a couple weeks to accommodate those that are applying finishing touches to their productions.

Suzette Zayden, Director, Belize International Film Festival

“So far, we’ve received about forty entries into the festival and about fifteen music videos, Belizean music videos as well. We’ve noted an increase in the quality of the local music videos and entries that are coming in. So we are very happy to see that the festival is having an impact on that level for our local film makers who do music videos. We have decided to extend the deadline for two more weeks, to March twenty-sixth, in order to get some of the embassies to send in their request because the bureaucracy is a little bit longer when it is international film makers. But we are very happy about the response we are getting. We are getting films from Central America, we’re getting from the Caribbean, we are getting from the U.S; we are getting from Europe and it is all exciting…from South America. So the interest is there and everybody is sending in. The whole purpose of having Belize International Film Festival was to provide a platform to stimulate audio visual and film creation in Belize. One of the main goals here at NICH that we have is that we want to see an increase in Belizean productions. In order for there to be a Belizean cinema, there has to be Belizean films being made. We don’t always have the resources to give handouts or what people would call incentives or production grants to local filmmakers so that they can go off and do films. So we are hoping that by at least providing this platform, those who can find the means know that at least what they are making won’t be shelved; there is a place that they can show it and other people can see their work. And it helps when people like your work and they applaud your efforts; you feel good, you’re inspired and you want to do more stuff.”

A five-day production workshop will be held prior to the festival. The workshop is with the intention to launch a private film school in the country.

Belize International Film Festival WEbsite