A man’s transformation into a woman, life as a double amputee and a scandalous betrayal are just some of the themes visited in this year’s Bermuda International Film Festival offerings.
Today the Bermuda Sun can exclusively reveal the festival highlights as well as information on the new interactive festival guide.
The 16th annual film festival takes place from April 12 to 18 and includes 50 local and international screenings.
For the first time there will be themed packages on certain days. This year’s categories include World Cinema — Narrative, World Cinema — Documentary, Local flavours, Across the Pond (foreign), Rule Britannia (British), Fantastical Moments (sci-fi fantasy), Global Visions and Festival Jewels.
This year the festival has partnered with two organizations — Chewstick and the Rainbow Alliance — in a bid to attract more young and LGBT audiences.
For the first year, the festival has a fully searchable online guide with trailers and synopses.
It was created by www.festivalgenius.com which creates the guides for the other industry film festivals around the world.
You can now search by film, category, country and date and can even plot out your own schedule to print off or transport it to your phone using iCalendar.
Festival director Andrew Stoneham told the Bermuda Sun: “It is more comprehensive than we have ever had in the past it is more interactive and easier to navigate.” See the festival database here: www.bermuda.festivalgenius.com/2013/films.
The films will also be printed in a physical guide produced by the Bermuda Sun/Island Press.
Another first for the festival is the inclusion of a Centrepiece Film to mark the middle of the festival. The idea comes from other industry film awards around the world. The centrepiece film is Unfinished Song “a touching and joyful story about overcoming despair and learning to live in the moment.
The festival has decided to screen all films after 4pm this year so more people can go along — the majority of the screenings will be at Liberty Theatre with the exception of the local offerings which will screen at BUEI.
There will be social events sponsored by MEF throughout the festival including a Wrap Party. The events will take place at Margarita Grill on Victoria Street, Hamilton.
Ginger and Rosa (Opening):
The opening film is categorized as Sweet 16 tying in with the festival’s 16th anniversary and the film being a coming of age movie to attract a younger audience.
It is by established filmmaker Sally Potter OBE and is said to have a universal appeal.
Ginger and Rosa was nominated at the British Independent Film Awards for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress.
The festival’s Alison Hicks said: “It tells the story of two teenage girls who were best friends since they were toddlers driven apart by a scandalous betrayal.
Set in 1960s London it tells of a story of friendship set against a backdrop of nuclear destruction. It is about the usual struggles with dealing with your parents when you are younger.”
Amour (World Cinema: Narrative):
Amour, by Michael Haneke, was the winner of Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars and Golden Globes and it won Oscar nominations for Best Picture, Actress in a Leading Role, Directing, Writing — Original Screen Play.
Festival director Andrew Stoneham said: “We have a huge Michael Haneke audience here — we screened his past two films here to sell out audiences.
“It’s a relationship drama about a long-married musical teachers living out their final years together when she has a stroke.
“She becomes debilitated and the husband has to care for her and it puts a great strain on their relationship. If you liked A Separation would probably come out to see this film.”
Laurence Anyways (World Cinema: Narrative):
This film won the Queer Palm and Un Certain Regard Award, Best Actress at Cannes and Best Canadian Feature Film at the Toronto Film Festival.
“I thought this film was brilliant,” said Stoneham. “It is by Quebecian filmmaker Xavier Dolan. He is only 24-years-old and all his films have premiered at Cannes.
“Set in the late 1980s and mid 1990s, it chronicles the ten-year relationship of a couple. The man realises he really wants to become a woman and how it explores how it affects the relationship.
“The woman leaves him for a little while but comes back as if nothing ever happened and goes on with her relationship with this man as he transforms into a female.
“It is shot really interestingly some scenes are really stunning. I really love it. It makes sexuality irrelevant — it never seems totally abnormal — some films make it the biggest issue of the story but not in this case — it’s no big deal really.
“That aligns with what the Rainbow Alliance stands for so they are on board. It is definitely one of the best films in the line-up.”
Rust and Bone (Festival Jewels):
This film won Golden Globe nominations for Best Foreign Language Film and Best Actress plus a slew of industry nominations.
Stoneham said: “This is the third film by Jacques Audiard we have screened to sold out audiences. The Prophet in 2010 was one.
“It is another relationship movie — it is a dramatic love story about how two people meet when they are both broken down.
“It shows how in that situation they are able to form this strange but really intimate bond and it helps them to get through the difficult times in their lives. The guy is broke — he has a kid from his first marriage and he is this underground boxer. The girl is a killer whale trainer and she loses her legs at the sea park.”
The local films include Bayard Outerbridge’s short film Checkpoint about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, Robert Zuill’s Appetite for Extinction documentary about the lionfish invasion in Bermuda’s waters and Milton Raposo’s Osbourne’s Day Out about the aquarium shark. A former Bermuda artist in residence Kev Lombard has made a documentary on Bermuda sea glass called Entry By Sea and Kara Smith has entered a “mockumentary” called Life about an urban drug addict in London. Smith has been up for numerous writing awards in LA. Lucinda Spurling’s Hour of Victory will be screened with different music than the version being shown at the current BermudaDocs festival.
Finally Dawn Zuill produced a film by director Emmanual Itier, Femme, about Bermuda’s female Premiers Dame Jennifer Smith and Dame Pamela Gordon.
The festival is still seeking sponsors and patrons to help fund this year’s coming event. For more information visit: www.biff.bm. The online guide is available at www.bermuda.festivalgenius.com/2013/films. For more stories like this follow me on Twitter @sarahlaganlife