First Annual Bahamas International Film Festival Showcases "Oceans Twelve" and International Line Up
by Brian Brooks
The typically quiet film festival circuit in December is heating up with the arrival of the first annual Bahamas International Film Festival, which will take place in the island nation's capital of Nassau, and the Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island from December 9-12. Steven Soderbergh's latest crime feature "Oceans Twelve," starring Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Catherine Zeta-Jones and George Clooney will open the event Thursday, ushering in a slate of 75 films in seven sections representing over 25 countries.
"The Spirit of Freedom" is the theme for this year's International Competition section, including five narrative and seven non-fiction films. Recent Gotham nominee "Brother to Brother" by Rodney Evans about a gay black artist set amidst the Harlem Renaissance is among the offerings as well as Venice 2004 Digital Cinema winner, "20 Fingers" by Mania Akbari. Non-fiction titles in the section include Hamptons International Film Festival 2004 feature "Seeds" by Joseph Boyle and Marjan Safinia. The film documents the Seeds of Peace International Camp, which brings together 150 teens from war-torn countries who come together in Maine for three weeks.
Also on the list is Jim Butterworth, Aaron Lubarsky and Lisa Sleeth's story of North Koreans trying to escape their country through China in "Seoul Train." Toronto doc "Tibet: Cry of the Snow Lion" and civil rights doc "The Untold Story of Emmett Till" by Keith Beauchamp will also screen in the sidebar, which will be judged by Screen International's Michael Goodridge, Jean Roy, former director of Critics' Week at Cannes, and Miami International Film Festival director, Nicole Guillemet.
First and second-time filmmakers will be feted in BIFF's New Visions sidebar, who will compete for the 'Modern Maverick Award.' SXSW futuristic drama "After the Apocalypse" by Yasuaki Nakajima is among the eleven films in the section, along with Hamptons fest audience award-winning romantic comedy "The Breakup Artist" by Vincent Rubino. Fellow audience-award winner "Dorian Blues" by Tennyson Bardwell, a coming-of-age comedy, and Jacob Aaron Estes' drama "Mean Creek" are also among the films that will vie for the Modern Maverick.
Six films will screen in BIFF's non-competitive World Cinema sidebar, including Deborah Koons' doc taking a look at genetically engineered foods in "The Future of Food," and Newmarket Films' Danish narrative "Green Butchers" by Anders Thomas Jensen. Four films will play as Special Screenings including John Duigan's romantic drama "Head in the Clouds," Jonathan Nossiter's Cannes competition wine doc "Mondovino," Spike Lee's narrative "She Hate Me," and David Gordon Green's "Undertow," starring Jamie Bell. BIFF will also screen films in its Caribbean Sidebar, including recent Gotham winner "The Agronomist" by Jonathan Demme, and the festival's 'Family Films' section.
[ For more information and a full lineup, please visit http://www.biff2004.com. ]