Belize International Film Festival back in action

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 19, No. 29            July 30, 2009

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Mister Peters and his Boom and Chime Band - one of the Three Kings of Belize

Florencio Mess, another of the Three Kings, gave a pre-show performance with his Mayan Harp on stage before the movie premiered.

Writer, Producer, Director and Cinematographer Katia Paradis and her family on the red carpet.

Film commissioner, Nigel Miguel, being interviewed on the red carpet.

After a hiatus of four years, the Belize International Film Festival launched the long awaited fourth edition of the festival with a grand opening night on Friday, July 24th. The red carpet event was hosted at the Bliss Center for the Performing Arts in Belize City with a cocktail reception prior to the screening of the opening movie, Three Kings of Belize. At the reception, stars and producers from around the world mixed and mingled with media and film aficionados, while one of the musicians featured in the Three Kings, Mr. Peters and the Boom and Chime Band entertained the party.

    Once seated in the theatre, the audience was greeted by Mr. Ernesto Vasquez who introduced another Three Kings musician, Maya harp player Florencio Mess, who performed a traditional Mayan tune on his handmade harp. Next at the podium was Festival Director Suzette Zayden who extended appreciation to all those who made the festival possible, followed by Minister of Tourism, Civil Aviation and Culture, Honorable Manuel Heredia Jr. who addressed the crowd. Lastly, Three Kings of Belize director Katia Paradis introduced the film and explained her passion behind its creation.

    Beautifully photographed, the 88 minute documentary features three Belizean musicians who share the moments of their daily lives. The aging icons include Paul Nabor, fisherman and legendary Garifuna composer who has played the same guitar for 53 years, Florencio Mess, a Maya harp player who also constructs traditional violins, guitars and harps, and Creole accordionist, Wilfred Peters, who is proud to have played for the Queen of England and is full of charm and humor. Deeply moving, the film takes an intimate look into the musical passions of these extraordinary men and leaves one with a new appreciation for the cultural, as well as historical significance of these “kings.” Paradis, who not only directed the documentary but filmed and produced it as well, has captured the very essence of these amazing men and has forever preserved their stories on film.

    The film festival runs through August 2nd and hosts daily seminars, workshops and screenings. Over forty full feature and short films and documentaries make up the roster and local festival goers get a look at highly acclaimed international films they missed during the festival hiatus, as well as the regular treat of recently released and some yet to be released films.

    According to Festival Director Suzette Zayden, the Belize International Film Festival thrives to live up to its expectations and continues in its aspirations to be an annual event that is looked forward to by both Belizeans and visitors alike for its ability to bring together films, filmmakers and film enthusiasts from all over Belize, neighboring regions and the world. The festival is supported by the Belize’s National Institute of Culture and History (NICH), the Belize Film Commission and top private sector sponsor, Traveller’s Liquors Ltd. For more information please visit their website at:
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