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BIFF celebrates 20th anniversary

Bermuda International Film Festival will celebrate its 20th anniversary later this year with recognised film expert Nick Roddick invited to become the Guest Artistic Director.

The festival — which runs from Monday, May 1 to Sunday, May 7 in the Earl Cameron Theatre — will also feature a special showing of films from the Austrian Awards on Sunday, April 30.

On the agenda is a Carib FilmFest (Saturday, May 6) and Bermuda Films with “Bermovies” (Sunday May 7).

“It will truly be international this year,” said a BIFF statement.

Mr Roddick will work in conjunction with noted Palm Springs and Dubai Film Festival programmer Alissa Simon.

“They are assembling an incredible line-up of world cinema and independent features, in addition to a daily Happy Hour of short films as part of the Oscar Qualifying series,” added the statement.

Roddick is an author of several books on the cinema, is a voting member of the European Film Academy, and is a recognised expert on film festivals around the globe.

He served as editor of Screen International, then founding editor of Moving Pictures International as well as a regular contributor to noted film magazine Sight & Sound and the London Evening Standard. He has written widely on Australasian, American, European and UK cinema

Ms Simon, of Cine Qua Non Film Programming and Consulting, has special expertise in independent film as well as British, Middle Eastern, Eastern European, and Scandinavian cinema.

She is also a regular contributor to Variety, Sight & Sound, and Toronto Film Festival Daily. She has an extensive list of programming and jury credits to her name and will be working closely with Roddick in “delivering a memorable film experience.”

BIFF is an Academy Award Qualifying festival for the Short Film — Live Action Oscar. To date, it has received over 500 films for pre-screening.

“Hayden Lowry of Awesome Films and Tashel Bean will be managing the pre-screening, which will be taking place over the next six weeks,” said the statement. “Bean was a 2016 Summa cuma graduate of the Film & Television at the Savannah College of Art and Design before graduating of the Savanah School of Design. Lowry has experience heading teams of people at Fanatic, Bounce as well as Riva and has worked on popular children’s shows such as Jojo’s Circus and Henry’s World for Disney and AAC Kids.

“Bean and Lowry have developed an innovative method for digital voting on the Short Films for panel participants. Pre-screening panellists are invited from community groups that are a local advisory board for BIFF and to a certain extent to the BTA in the development of a local film industry doctor with in the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce. These groups include Bermuda Community and Cultural Affairs, Bermuda College, Bermuda Economic Development Corporation, Bermuda Development Agency, and the Bermuda Tech Initiative.

“The BIFF Academy will be active this season as well. The ongoing programmes of ‘Books to Film’ for primary school students and ‘Reel to Real’ for middle schools will be held in the mornings of the May festival. The BIFF film vamps are likely to re-emerge this year with the involvement of talented animator and film teacher Mélanie Gareau and Tashel Bean. Details will be released shortly for spring break and summer camps. Previous BIFF academic initiatives have been significant in developing the local interest and encouraging careers in the industry.

“The activity will be supported on the ground in Bermuda by BIFF business manager Anne Marie Hebert. As director and general manager of ON Semiconductor Trading Ltd in Bermuda prior to relocating the company to Switzerland. Ms Hebert brings a new depth to the BIFF business management. This is complemented by new trustees, Dame Jennifer Smith as benefactor of Culture and Education, John C. Jones as US Attorney in securities and corporate law matters with related fraud investigations, as well as Joe Barbosa as treasurer and CFO providing financial oversight of the Trusts activities.

“Barbosa is the former treasurer of PartnerRe and brings over 25 years of experience in the financial services sector. They join the existing BIFF trustees and directors Rod Ferguson, Patrice Horner, and David O’Beirne, along with trustees Shelly Hamill in Aspen, Colorado, and Gary Harris, Associate at Appleby Global in Bermuda.

“The Board of Trust would like to thank all of those over the last few decades and recognise the support of dedicated volunteers and financial supporters, without whose assistance this important Bermuda Cultural Event would not have been possible.”