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A movie buff’s dream

Thrilling comedies, intriguing documentaries, exciting dramas, animated films and short features will have you either laughing, crying or in deep thought. The Bahamas International Film Festival which runs through Sunday, December 4, will be a movie buff’s dream.

With 69 films showing from 34 countries, at no charge — outside of the opening and closing nights — at Galleria on John F. Kennedy Drive, it is clear that there is definitely something different about the eighth run of this popular fest.

“This year is such a strong line-up of films it is hard to identify which ones are must-sees from ones that aren’t,” said Dennis Dembia, public relations representative from Rogers and Cowan. “They are all stellar and every one will make you feel differently.  With so much to chose from, there has to be something [a film] for everyone’s tastes so there is no excuse for you not to get your fill on some really good cinema.  You have to catch them all.”

Dembia says the film festival will be amazing from start to finish, and is what people wait for year round since the festival was established.  He believes this year’s festival will be the best yet.

Some of the films to definitely catch include the Indian film by Gemma Atwal “Marathon Boy” that should remind viewers of the plot line from the movie “Slumdog Millionaire”, but with a different but equally charming surprise appeal.  A short film with a Caribbean flair and a cultural feel that should pique interest is the Trinidadian film “Y-ning” by Emilie Upczak which is a brief examination of “winding” as dance language as well.

The opening film, “The Rum Diary”, which will be shown again in the film festival should also be of great interest to film-goers as it is a flighty adventure staged in the Caribbean islands.

Seven Bahamian films will also be a big attraction this year from a tribute to Bahamian spiritual artist Amos Ferguson in the film “Amos” by Karen Arthur and Thomas Neuwirth, to an animated short by Jason Evans called “Tall Tale of an Accidental Tourist” which humorously examines the discovery of The Bahamas.

“Movie buffs, enthusiastics, filmmakers and actors alike will just love this year’s offerings at the festival.  There will be something for everyone and you don’t have to think twice about whether you can afford to come out to support it or not because this year, outside of the opening and closing night every screening is free.  You have so much to choose from and everyone can take full advantage of the screenings because as one movie ends you can just slip into another one for free.  There is a lot to see and every film that was chosen to be seen has gone through great scrutiny by founder of the film festival, Leslie Vanderpool.”

Dembia says the Festival will showcase quality films that aren’t Hollywood blockbuster status, but are amazing to see nonetheless.

“Unlike other film festivals that are larger and screen hundreds of films, this Festival is small and can only choose about 70 films to screen, so what you will get this weekend will be great film and great film after great film.  There will not be one film that is not of good quality or rich in other elements.”

Other highlights of this year’s festival include the staple tributes to two deserving actors in the film industry. This year’s Career Achievement honoree is Heather Graham, who is celebrated as a diverse actress whose longevity in the field and work with A-listers is acclaimed. Some of her more popular film appearances include “The Hangover”, “Scream 4”, “Boogie Nights” and “Drugstore Cowboy”.

The second award, the BIFF Rising Star, will go to Zoe Kravitz, daughter of music phenomenon Lenny Kravitz, who starred in numerous recent films like “X-Men: First Class”, “No Reservations”, “It’s Kind of a Funny Story” and “Yelling at the Sky”, a film that will be featured in this year’s festival.  Kravitz has shown diversity and given noteworthy performances in her fledging career, and there is great anticipation for her future work.

Special master classes for aspiring actors and directors will also be put on during the festival by experts Roger Guenveur Smith and Jordan Walker-Pearlman respectively. The acting class will be held in the Ares Room at Atlantis on Saturday, December 3 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and the directing class on Sunday, December 4 from 1:30 p.m. until 4:30 p.m.

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