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Bermuda Film Blog

Monthly Archives: March 2013

Short Film Review: Social Butterfly

Jahsh Durrant a current Warwick Academy student and our resident BIFF Blogger reviews some of the short films screening in the Bermuda Shorts Competition. 

Social Butterfly

Lauren Wolkstein’s short film ‘Social Butterfly’ is a mystery story of an American woman who enters a French teenage girl’s birthday party with no properly given explanation. As a mystery much of the film is based around us as the audience attempts to figure what is true and false as collect the various clues which can help to know why this person has invaded this party and who exactly they truly are.

One of the best aspects of the ‘Social Butterfly’ is that the mystery of who our protagonist is remains interesting throughout the entire film as while some semblance of an explanation is given her true motivations remain vague which keeps the storyline interesting and can encourage actual discussion of the mystery from an audience. This clear focus is evident as even with other situations and characters added as the film goes on it still remains the most important and the most interesting part of the film which holds the other subplots together. This is helped through a strong performance by Anna Margaret Hollyman as the protagonist Margaret who through the use of subtle changes in facial expressions makes it hard to know whether what she is saying is true or false which allows the character to become more interesting.

However despite this the film is hurt by much weaker performances by the minor cast with all but one exception (Camille Claris as Chloe) of the other actors playing the actual teenagers at the party coming across as flat and dull in comparison to the protagonist with many of the stronger character moments coming when they were off screen. These minor characters also often resulted in situations which were irrelevant to the main plot and did little in getting a reaction out of the audience. While these didn’t take anything away from the film they also didn’t add much of importance.

Pros

  • An actually interesting mystery
  • Strong performance from main protagonist

Cons

  • Weak minor cast
  • Some unneeded moments

Overall ‘Social Butterfly’ is a thoughtful and interesting mystery story which creates a compelling enough main protagonist and storyline that it should be seen if at all possible.

Social Butterfly screens on April 16th at 4:00pm as part of Short Program: Global Visions.

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Short Film Review: Victoria Meets

 

Jahsh Durrant a current Warwick Academy student and our resident BIFF Blogger reviews some of the short films screening in the Bermuda Shorts Competition. 

Victoria Meets

Robert Bierman’s short film ‘Victoria Meets’ is set in 1874 where Queen Victoria is shown trying to cope with the recent death of Prince Albert and return to her royal activities as she is instructed to by Prime Minister William Gladstone. As such the film becomes a character study of the queen herself as we the audience learn what the prince truly meant to her and the devastation which causes her to forget her own position of power.

‘Victoria Meets’ presents itself as not a story but instead a simple conversation between the two most powerful people in Britain who are the only characters which we ever see onscreen. In order for this to be pulled off correctly you obviously need strong performances from your actors which thankfully Saskia Wickham and Oliver Ford Davies pull of incredibly with the heartbreak of the queen over her son’s death and pleas of the prime minister to the queen being perfectly expressed in the actor’s facial expressions and various changes in vocal tone. Also used to enhance the emotion impact is the use of music as the use of little music and instead a reliance on silence means that the few times which music is used have considerably more of an emotional impact in regards to the current scene.

There are however some problems which can be found within ‘Victoria Meets’ most notably is an occasionally hard to follow script which can limit how much of a connection you have to the characters (this is meant to be one of the driving forces of the film!!). While this can be understood as an attempt to emulate the upper class of the 1870’s it can still make it hard to follow for the casual viewer. Another problem is in the single set and lack of interesting camera angles which can create a boring atmosphere with a feeling of nothing really happening.

Pros

  • Strong performance from both actors
  • Limited but strong use of musical score

Cons

  • Occasionally confusing script
  • A lack of interesting sets or camera angles

Overall ‘Victoria Meets’ may not be a favorite but still stands a solid film and a strong character study of Queen Victoria.

Victoria Meets will screen on April 13th at 3:45pm as part of Short Film Program: Reel Britianna.

Short Film Review: Asad

 

Jahsh Durrant a current Warwick Academy student and our resident BIFF Blogger reviews some of the short films screening in the Bermuda Shorts Competition. 

Asad

Bryan Buckley’s short film ‘Asad’ tells the tale of the eponymous protagonist: a Somali boy who is while wishing to join the life of a pirate is instead forced to the simple life of a fisherman. This leads him to a coming of age story where he learns of both the talent for has for fishing but also of the dangers which can be associated with the life of a pirate.

One of the most incredible things to know about ‘Asad’ is that none of the actors have had previous acting experience and are actually involved in their first (and probably last) roles in a film. Throughout the film however you will not notice this at all with the majority of the cast give incredibly convincing performances in their roles: especially of note is Harun Mohammed playing our protagonist who slowly grows more and more confident in his role as a fisherman as the film goes on. This acting is helped by a strong script and musical score which help to illustrate the destruction of the country of Somalia from the perspective of those who were directly involved while also showing the compassion which is still inhibited by its people.

If there was any problem with this film it can be found in the emotional payoff to major events towards the end as the film speeds up in pace incredibly in the final few minutes. This turns events which should be shocking or even sad into events that you will forget about quickly as the film doesn’t stay focused on them for long enough.

Pros

  • Strong acting from an inexperienced main cast
  • Script and story which show the devastation of Somali pirates
  • An emotional musical score

Cons

  • Lack of emotional impact from finale of film

Overall ‘Asad’ is a great short film with a strong understanding of its source material from its creators and should be watched by as many people as possible.

Asad screens on April 18th at 9:15pm it will proceed the feature film In the Shadow of the Sun.

One More BIFFlix Screening This Sunday Before BIFF 2013

(Hamilton, Bermuda – March 20, 2013) – BIFF today announces that the final instalment of the BIFFlix film series before the 16th annual Bermuda International Film Festival in April will take place this Sunday (March 24), 5.30pm, at The Tradewinds Auditorium in the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute.

The film screening is “Lore,” an unconventional take on the Holocaust legacy. The film is multi-award winning and nominated on the international film festival circuit. Infused with lush cinematography and an evocative, haunting mood, it centres upon 14-year old German girl Lore and five siblings left to fend for themselves after their father and mother, staunch Nazi believers, are killed by the victorious Allies at the end of World War II.

The young group undertake a harrowing journey that exposes them to the reality and consequences of their parents’ actions. They set out on a journey across a devastated country to reach their grandmother in the north.

After meeting the charismatic Thomas, a mysterious young refugee, Lore soon finds her world shattered by feelings of both hatred and desire as she must learn to trust the one person she has always been taught to hate in order to survive. Tickets are available in advance at www.ptix.bm or purchase at the door on the day from 4:30pm with cash, check, or credit card.

Tickets are priced at $15. The Film is in German with English subtitles and runs 106 minutes.

See the BIFF highlights here exclusively

This article was originally published in 3/15/2013 edition of the Bermuda Sun; Writer Sarah Lagan

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.”

Local offerings:

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

BIFF 2013 Announces Full Line-Up and Launches Interactive Online Film Guide

(Hamilton, Bermuda – March 15, 2013) – BIFF today announces the line-up for the 16th annual Bermuda International Film Festival taking place from April 12-18. Over 50 feature-length and short narratives and documentaries will be screened this year at Liberty Theatre and Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute. The BIFF 2013 programme combines the very best in world cinema with local filmmaking talent and a full cross-section of genres, styles and subject matter to ensure that there is something for all tastes.

This year BIFF has partnered with Festival Genius, the premier scheduling platform, to offer a fully searchable and interactive online film guide at: http://bermuda.festivalgenius.com/2013. The guide offers detailed synopses and trailers and you can create a log-in profile in order to add films to your personal calendar, as well as rate and review films.

To mark BIFF’s Sweet 16, the festival opens with “Ginger & Rosa,” a riveting coming-of- age story about two teenage girls growing up in the sixties in London. The two, played by Elle Fanning and Alice Englert, were best friends since they were toddlers until a scandalous betrayal drives them apart.

The backbone of the programme is the World Cinema category with narrative features from across Europe, the Middle East and North America. Leading the pack is this year’s Academy and Golden Globe ‘Best Foreign Language Film’ award winner, “Amour.” This universally acclaimed masterpiece paints a portrait of a Parisian couple dealing with old age that is as compassionate as it is merciless.

Other World Cinema narrative highlights include Cannes award-winners: “Beyond the Hills” (Best Screenplay, Best Actress); “The Angel’s Share” (Jury Prize); “The Hunt” (Best Actor) and “Laurence Anyways” (Queer Palm, Un Certain Regard). “The Attack,” set in Tel Aviv in the dramatic aftermath of a suicide bomb, rounds out the section.

The equally well-regarded World Cinema documentary selection covers a diverse range of subject matter: Indonesian paramilitary leader Anwar Congo and his dedicated followers in “The Act of Killing”; killer whales that kill in captivity in “Blackfish”; the persecution of albinos in Tanzania, “In the Shadow of the Sun”; the biased judicial system of West Bank, “The Law in these Parts”; Afghan television network, TOLO TV, in “The Network”; familial myths and memories in “Stories We Tell”; and gross miscarriage of justice in “West of Memphis.” BIFF 2013 ANNOUNCES FULL LINE-UP 

For the first time this year and in-keeping with a popular film festival custom, BIFF will be marking the middle of the festival with a Centrepiece Film. The touching and joyful “Unfinished Song” was selected for this honour. It brings together two icons of British cinema, Vanessa Redgrave and Terence Stamp, as a married couple struggling to cope with her terminal illness, but finding light relief and solace singing in the somewhat unconventional local seniors’ choir.

Also new this year is the Festival Jewels category for which BIFF’s programmers selected two recent big hits from the international festival circuit: “Chicken with Plums” and twice Golden Globe nominated “Rust and Bone.”

Our From the Onion Patch screening offers cinemagoers another chance to catch the latest offering from local filmmakers, Lucinda Spurling and Andrew Kirkpatrick, “In the Hour of Victory,” on the big screen. A documentary which tells a tragic love story set amid the turmoil of World War II, the film will screen for the first time at BIFF 2013 with a brand new soundtrack composed by Steve Gallant who was raised in Bermuda.

This year’s Special Presentation of “Femme: Women Healing the World” also has a local connection. Director by BIFF regular, Emmanuel Itier, it is a quest to find and interview the most important and influential women around the world. Among those interviewed are former Premiers of Bermuda, Dame Jennifer Smith and Dame Pamela Gordon (a long-time supporter of BIFF).

As BIFF is one of only a small number worldwide of Academy Award Qualifying festival for the Short Film – Live Action Oscar, there will also be a varied narrative shorts lineup screening in competition for the coveted Bermuda Shorts award presided over by an esteemed judging panel (to be announced). There will also be a number of though- provoking and highly regarded short documentaries for your viewing pleasure. The shorts will screen either in one of four themed packages or prior to feature presentations. The “Local Flavours” package comprises four short film from Bermudian filmmakers: Robert Zuill, Kara Smith, Karli Powell, Kev Lombard and Milton Raposo.

The festival will close with “Girl Most Likely,” a wildly quirky and optimistic comic comedy study featuring Kirsten Wiig, Annette Benning, Matt Dillon and Glee’s Darren Criss.

The BIFF 2013 online box office will open on March 25 and the physical box office will open on April 8. BIFF Patrons and Sponsors will be contacted directly next week and offered priority access to purchase tickets before the general public.

To keep up to date with all the BIFF 2013 news as it breaks, ‘like’ us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BIFF.bm. More information is also available on our website: www.biff.bm.