WEDNESDAY, MAR. 14: BIFF has announced a busy social schedule to accompany the jam-packed film line-up for the 15th Annual Bermuda International Film Festival, being held from March 16 to 22.

According to a press statement, the schedule includes the glamorous BIFF Unwrapped opening cocktail party, special film presentations with a local connection, BIFF Film Academy lectures, Chats with... lunchtime panel discussions, and concludes with a BIFF BTC Wrap Party.

Callee Frith, BIFF’s special events director, said: “On top of a fantastic film line-up we have a long list of events to keep BIFF 2012 attendees immersed in the world of film between screenings.

“People will get to learn from and then unwind with our visiting film pros throughout the week.

“We are so excited to be teaming up with Muse Restaurant & Skybar this year.

“As the dedicated Social Hub of the festival, you are guaranteed to meet other cinema-goers day and night at Muse to compare notes with. We are also incredibly grateful to our legacy sponsor, BTC, for supporting our Wrap Party to ensure BIFF goes out with a bang.”

BIFF Unwrapped cocktail party

The festival opens on Friday (March 16) with the BIFF Unwrapped cocktail party at Muse Restaurant & Sky bar, 17 Front Street, Hamilton, from 9pm until late.

Entry to the party is free to opening film (Darling Companion, 7pm, Liberty Theatre) ticket holders.

Alternatively, party tickets are available on the door for $10.

Rub shoulders with the prestigious jury, local and visiting filmmakers, other international film industry movers and shakers, and fellow film fans in celebration of the first night of BIFF 2012.

Light finger food will be provided and happy hour priced wine, beer and cocktails available all night.

BIFF Social Hub

Muse will act as the Social Hub for the film festival throughout the week and will be decorated with film memorabilia for the occasion.

It is open for lunch Monday through Friday, 12-3pm, and dinner Monday through Saturday, 6–10pm.

A tantalising special three-course dinner menu will be available for just $39 plus gratuities.

Dinner reservations are highly recommended, contact:  296-8788 or info@muse.bm.

BIFF Local Connections film presentations

In addition to the Liberty Theatre film line-up already announced, BIFF will be hosting two special film presentations with a local connection on Saturday (March 17) at BUEI, Crow Lane in Hamilton.

At 6pm, the World Premiere of Toni will take place. This edgy action/thriller was executive produced by Bermudian, Rotimi Martins.

This will be followed at 9pm by Because You’re Too Nice, edited by Bermudian Chris Frith. (This screening replaces the March 19, 11.30pm slot originally advertised).

BIFF Film Academy Lectures

Two members of the BIFF 2012 jurors will be serving double-duty this year as BIFF Academy lecturers.

On Monday (March 19), film academic, Leslie Taubman, Ph.D., will present, Film Appreciation: Cinema as Art, which will serve as an introduction to the history of movies.

On Tuesday (March 20), Oscar-winning film producer and director of the UK’s National Film and Television School, Nik Powell, will speak on The A to Z of story, looking at the art of storytelling from the point of view of the producer.

Both lectures are free and will be held 11am-12pm at Speciality Cinema & Grill on Church Street,

Chats with . . . lunchtime panel discussions

This year, BIFF has expanded its popular free lunchtime panel discussion series to four days.

Each event will take place 12.15 to 1.15pm at Speciality Cinema & Grill.

The schedule is as follows:

March 19, The Production Line — BIFF’s International Advisory Board member, David Poland, sits down with top British filmmaker, Nik Powell, to discuss the tricks of the trade when it comes to producing learnt from over 40 years in the business.

March 20, Rock Royalty — Local film aficionado and host of CITV’s Filmmakers’ Corner, Keith Caesar, talks with Bermudian legend, Michael Frith, about Fraggle Rock, the Emmy Award-winning show he co-created with a little local inspiration.

March 21, Making Headlines — Tim Hodgson from Bernews.com discusses film journalism in the 21st century with NPR’s Peter Rainer, Cinespect’s Carlos Segura and Filmmaker Magazine’s Lauren Wissot.

March 22, Short cuts — Peter Rainer of NPR gets the inside track from visiting short filmmakers: Logan Sandler, director of All It Will Ever Be, George Hamilton, director of Corner Shop, and Alexis Fortier Gauthier, director of Snowbound.

BIFF BTC Wrap Party

The BIFF BTC Wrap Party rounds out the festival week at Muse on Thursday, March 22, from 9pm till late where the winner will be announced for the Bermuda Shorts Award decided by the BIFF 2012 Jury.

As BIFF is a qualifying film festival for the Short Film (Live Action) category of the Academy Awards, whichever film wins will automatically be considered for the Short Film Oscar.

The winners of the two Audience Choice Awards will also be announced at the Wrap Party.

A live DJ and dancing will follow to see out another festival week in style.

Tickets are priced at $50, which includes two drinks and hors d’oeuvres, and are available from www.tickets.biff.bm.