Wrapping Up Successful Film Festival
There were seven winners at the just concluded Belize International Film Festival, including three Belizeans. At the closing of the successful twelfth edition, Belizeans won in Best Short Film, Most Notable Belizean Film and Best Music Video. Meanwhile, a Mexican national snagged Best Feature Documentary and a Costa Rican director took home Vest Feature Narrative. News Five's Duane Moody reports that Andy Palacio was also honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award for Music in Film.
Duane Moody, Reporting
The twelfth edition of the Belize International Film Festival concluded on Sunday night with an award ceremony at the Bliss Center for the Performing Arts. The highly anticipated event commenced with presentations from various artists, after which the winners of the festival were announced. Producers, actors, artists and directors of the respective films, documentaries and music videos waited patiently for their categories and the nail-biting announcement of the winners.
Of the three submissions made, the best short documentary title went to The Wood Thrush Connection, directed by Dayna Reggero. It was an unexpected win for Reggero who was in tears when she accepted the award.
Dayna Reggero, Director, The Wood Thrush Connection
"I am so surprised and I just thank you all so much. I wanna thank the judges and Belize; the people who work on the film; the people from the Belize Audubon Society who care so much about this bird and the people who made this film. I wanna thank Debora and Lynn and everybody who's been so welcoming, everybody that is working together around the world for these little connections that we don't realize how we are all so connected and it can sometimes take something so small to have people working together for solutions."
Meanwhile, the most notable environmental film went to Whale Shark - cruise ship and Mother Nature collide in southern Belize directed by Sean Sullivan, a first-time filmmaker. Suzette Zayden, the Director of Film and Media Arts Unit at the Institute of Creative Arts received the award and shared a statement on his behalf.
Suzette Zayden, Director, Film & Media Arts Unit, ICA
"This is my first film. The truth is I never envisioned myself a filmmaker but when I saw what was happening in southern Belize and Placencia; in particular, I was driven to act by friendships that I had forged on the water in what is one of the world's last examples of a pristine paradise. The most I can ask from this film is that it creates awareness."
Made in Bangkok directed by Flavio Florencio and the Sound of Things/El Sonido de las Cosas directed by Ariel Escalante wound go on to win Best Feature Documentary and Best Feature Narrative respectively.
Best Short Film and Most Notable Belizean Film were captured by Xavier Neal Burgin with On Time.
Lynn Whitfield, Judge, Belize International Film Festival
"It's so emotional. And in eight minute and fifty-six seconds, you go from seeing a mother and her young daughter living in a car to her decision to going for a job interview and leave her child in the car so that she can earn money to be able to take care of her. And I won’t tell you how it all ends up, but it grabs your heart, jumps into your soul and you feel every moment of it. It is a wonderful film and I congratulate Xavier Neal Burgin."
Fifteen Belizean music videos competed in the Best Music Video category. And in the end, Big Bang's Classy, directed by Jahmai Trapp came out on top.
Big Bang, Artist
"I'm thankful for that alone; that a legend give me this award. I'd like to thank everybody that supports me. I'd like to thank God for guiding me and everybody that was a part of the project. Music is also music in the business and you have to invest in yourself and you have to do the work. I'd like to thank everybody at Ignite that's my directing company and my buddy Jahmai."
Meanwhile, the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award for Music in Film was given to Belizean musical icon Andy Palacio.
Kamau Palacio, Son of Andy Palacio
"On behalf of my sisters, we would like to say thank you. This is an honor to receive this award on behalf of my father."