FRIDAY, MAR. 16: An educational element to the Bermuda International Film Festival aimed at students has been launched.
BIFF Kids is made up of two strands – Books to Films for primary school children and Documentary School Screenings aimed at high school students.
David O’Beirne, BIFF's Programming Director, said: “Beyond the simple sheer enjoyment factor that BIFF delivers to its adult audience, we also recognise the festival week as an opportunity to engage and inspire younger audiences. It’s our aim to create a supportive environment in which home-grown filmmaking talent can flourish, which means we hope to spark the imaginations of Bermuda’s aspiring directors, actors, writers and film technicians.
“But, at a wider level we want to actively demonstrate to each and every child that attends BIFF kids how they can use film as a learning tool. The silver screen is a powerful means of communication, full of messages, morals and metaphors that enable us all to gain knowledge about other people and places without ever leaving a cinema seat.”
Here BIFF provides details of the two strands:
Documentary School Screenings
- Friday, March 16, 1pm – “Peer Mediation” (Short) & “Poverty in Paradise”
- Wednesday, March 21, 9am – “Kei” (Short) & “My So-called Enemy”
The Documentary School Screenings are an important component of BIFF’s commitment to education. They are made available to schools at no charge, through the help of various corporate sponsors including Bank of Bermuda Foundation and Partner Re, in the hope of stirring their interest in filmmaking and in the issues that are explored in the film, to encourage creative expression, provide a new perspective and develop interpersonal skills. Split into two sessions, the screenings have been coordinated by BIFF volunteer, Toby Butterfield, for the last five years.
This year, the first part of the programme has a local flavour with both a short film and feature-length presentation directed by Bermudian filmmaker, Lucinda Spurling. “Peer Mediation” a 20-minute short film tells the story of Arielle and Trey as they seek help from the Saltus Grammar School Peer Mediation group to sort out some relationship issues. Using real students as actors, this film carries important messages for teens.
It is followed by the 58-minute documentary, “Poverty in Paradise: The Price We Pay.” This local production explores the causes and consequences of the widening wealth gap in Bermuda; the struggles families face in providing for themselves and their children and the consequential spiral in crime plaguing the community. Lucinda Spurling and Sheelagh Cooper, Founder of the Coalition for the protection of Children will introduce the films, then facilitate a Q&A following the screenings.
The second half of the School Screenings programme originates from overseas. It kicks off with “Kei,” a 25-minute short film, which follows Major League Soccer star, Kei Kamara, who became a refugee when Sierra Leone’s civil war ripped apart his family. Now, soccer brings him home in a starring role with the national team.
“My So-Called Enemy,” concludes the programme. This 89-minute documentary is the story of 22 Palestinian, Israeli and Palestinian Israeli teenage girls that travelled to the U.S. in July 2002 to participate in a women’s leadership program, Building Bridges for Peace. Through the coming-of-age narratives of participants, the film demonstrates how creating relationships across personal, political and physical borders is a first step towards resolving conflict. Director, Lisa Gossels, has done extensive youth outreach with the film and will attend a Q&A session following the film via Skype.
The schools invited this year are: CedarBridge, Berkeley, Bermuda Institute, Somersfield Academy, Bermuda High School, Warwick Academy, Impact Mentoring Academy and Saltus. The programme will reach approximately 400 students in total from a range of study areas including Social Studies, Media Arts, Drama, Theory of Knowledge, Human Georgraphy, History and English Literature class groups. In addition, five Berkeley students are being matched with BIFF volunteer shifts this year and will have the chance to go behind the scenes of the film festival to learn about its many moving parts – technical, front of house, marketing and logistics.
Books to Films
- Monday, March 19, 9am and 10.45am
- Tuesday, March 20, 9am and 10.45am
Sponsored by Montpelier Re Foundation, this part of the programme is designed for primary schools. Books are read to children and then they watch the film adapted from the book. Each of the four sessions are approximately one hour in duration and are introduced by BIFF volunteers.
This year’s programme books are: “Naked Rat Mole Gets Dressed,” “Diary of a Fly” and “Martin’s Big Words”. Themes include growth, social change, being yourself, acceptance, self-confidence, friends and empathy. Scholastic teaching materials are made available to help teachers integrate the programme into the classroom following the BIFF sessions.
Film tickets are priced at $5 for children (teachers and parents are free). Reservations are required in advance by calling 293-3456 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, with payment due on the day. Attendees are asked to arrive at least 15 minutes before the screening time.