**Cinema in Paradise**
The Bahamas International Film Festival will premier in Nassau from December 9-12, 2004 and will feature a diverse presentation of independent and studio films from around the world – as well as educational programmes and cultural events.
Organisers say the event will provide Bahamian artists and future filmmakers with the opportunity to become more exposed to the art. BIFF anticipates attracting high profile industry professionals, artists and festival attendees, providing a unique and sustainable venue for networking and business opportunities.
Providing a new vista for tourism in the Bahamas, the event *”will showcase the beauty of the islands and the range of elegant and luxurious merchandise to an impressive number of celebrities and film industry professional who otherwise may not visit our shores”*, said Ms. Leslie Vanderpool, BIFF Founder and President. Craig Woods of the Bahamas Film Commission adds: * “We believe that it will allow us to build a bonafide film and television industry in the Bahamas that we all have been hoping for.”*
With an increased number of productions filming in the Bahamas, BIFF believes that branding and international recognition of the upcoming festival will germinate a wealth of opportunities for the Bahamas in the film industry and in the fields of arts, entertainment and the cultural life of the country as a whole.
BIFF’s mission is to celebrate the very best film and filmmakers from around the world. The Festival will gather the international film community and offer premiere and retrospective films programs to an audience of Bahamians, filmmakers and guests. The opening Festival will screen approximately 30 films – including features, shorts, documentaries and animation – with an emphasis on works that provide insight into a mosaic of world cultures. All films will be eligible for a Grand Prize to be presented by a jury of notable film professionals.
The educational component of BIFF will include interactive sessions conducted by accomplished artists in the film industry. These will cover topics such as filmmaking techniques, acting, directing and screenwriting – and will be available to emerging filmmakers as well as the general public.
Ms. Vanderpool firmly believes that The Bahamas will become a significant destination for films, filmmakers and audiences from around the world who are deeply passionate about quality cinema. With the help of local and international sponsors, BIFF is determined to make The Bahamas a regular destination on the world Festival circuit. It is utilising the support of festival professionals from across the globe to assist in organizing the upcoming debut.
The Bahamas International Film Festival is a non-profit organisation dedicated to providing the local community and International visitors with a diverse presentation of films from around the world.
BFSB’s CEO & Executive Director Wendy Warren participated in the Offshore Film Finance Symposium held in Las Vegas earlier this year, presenting on the topic: ***The Bahamas : A Compelling Picture for the Film Industry.***
Citing benefits such as its strategically location, limitless shooting options, developed financial services hub and growing indigenous film industry, Ms. Warren told conference participants that The Bahamas is recognised for having a sound environment for foreign direct investment.
**Bahamas Film Commission**
The Bahamas Film Commission is a key resource to Film Producers, with offices now in 7 locations.
The Commission is actively engaged in promotion of the industry, with Commissioner Craig Woods reporting that his team is looking at various options for a local “film financial incentive scheme”, similar to that offered in many jurisdictions. Investigations are being made as well into the possibility of signing a Co-Production Treaty between The Bahamas and Canada, and The Bahamas and UK/Europe. This could allow for production companies to obtain financing from institutions within the treaty countries.
**Bahamas Film Studios**
A state-of-the-art film studio and entertainment complex is being developed on Grand Bahama. The project’s creators say that the Bahamas Film Studios will bring exciting opportunities to the Bahamas and will create a domino-like effect for numerous spin-off businesses. The complex is located at the decommissioned US Air Force Missile base.
The Ministry of Tourism and The Bahamas Film Commission reportedly consider this $76 million project a major coup, as it will not only assist in the establishment of a bona fide film industry that encompasses cutting edge technology but it will improve the state of the local film industry. Mr. Woods says, *”The Bahamas Film Studios at Gold Rock Creek will continue to be a major contributor to the skill development of our film industry.”*