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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

A night at the Oscars? Well… Bda style

This article was original published in 2/20/13 edition of the Bermuda Sun; Writer Sarah Lagan

The Bermuda International Film Festival is creeping up and a host of film related events have been announced for this coming week.

The warm-up weekender launches with a special February edition of the monthly BIFFlix film series on Saturday evening, a fundraising walk on Sunday morning and a glamorous “Live from the Red Carpet” event on Sunday evening.

In celebration of the 2013 Academy Awards, BIFF has again teamed up with MEF to present this Oscars event at Margarita Grill in Hamilton.

The Oscars will be shown live from Hollywood and party guests are encouraged to come dressed as their favourite Oscar
winner.

This year’s film festival will be held from April 12 to 18 and all money raised will go towards staging BIFF 2013.

For more information about any of the events, please email info@biff.bm or call 293-3456.

The following information was supplied by the Bermuda International Film Festival:

– BIFFlix February Special Edition — Saturday, February 23 at 5:30pm:

The February instalment of The Bermuda International Film Festival’s film series, BIFFlix, is Beloved. The latest film from modern musical director Christophe Honore, the film was the closing night selection of 2011 Cannes Film Festival. The film will screen at The Tradewinds Auditorium in the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute, 40 Crow Lane, Pembroke.

Starring Catherine Deneuve and (her real-life daughter) Chiara Mastroianni, this sly and exquisitely romantic musical drama from Christophe Honoré (Love Songs, Dans Paris) spans over three decades as it follows a mother and daughter’s misadventures in love. In the 60s, Madeleine (Ludivine Sagnier) leaves Paris to re-join her Czech husband Jaromil (Rasha Bukvic) in Prague, but his infidelities and the arrival of Russian tanks in the city lead her back to France.

Thirty years later we follow the romance of Madeleine’s daughter, Vera, who falls in love with a musician (Paul Scneider) in London who is incapable of devoting himself to her. Meanwhile in Paris, a re-married Madeleine (Deneuve) has rekindled her love affair with Jaromil (Milos Forman). Louis Garrel and Paul Schneider also star in this light-hearted but ultimately moving exploration of the changing nature of relationships.

Tickets are available in advance at http://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 French and runs 139 minutes.

To view trailer, visit: http://www.biff.bm/events/bifflix.

– Argus Walks the Walk — February 24 at 8:30am:

The BIFF team is urging fans of the Bermuda International Film Festival to support its fundraising efforts by taking part in the Argus Walks the Walk 5K event on February 24. For the equivalent cost of a cinema ticket and snacks, you can support your local film festival. Money raised will go straight into putting on BIFF 2013, a week-long film extravaganza of features never seen before in Bermuda. Argus Walks the Walk is a one-of-a-kind event in that you can choose the charity you want your $25 entry fees to benefit. For everyone that walks for BIFF, there is a free BIFF t-shirt. Register online at: www.racedayworld.com.

– Live from the Red Carpet — February 24 at 7:30pm:

For the finalé, BIFF has once again teamed up with MEF to host a night of glitz, glamour and film talk at the 2013 Live From the Red Carpet event. The event is being held at Margarita Grill on Bermudiana Road in Hamilton on the night of the 85th Academy Awards. The awards will be broadcast live from LA in Margarita Grill and guests can attempt to predict the winners and play games to win prizes. The event starts at 7:30pm to allow guests to catch footage of the celebrities themselves arriving at the Oscars at 8pm local time. Join us for happy hour drinks specials, a fabulous Tapas menu, spectacular Oscar-themed cocktails, trivia, a best-dressed competition, red carpet photos and more. Tickets are priced at $35. Complimentary special drink is included in admission. Buy your ticket at www.ptix.bm. Email margaritas@mef.bm for any table reservations.

BIFFlix French Romantic Musical Drama

The February installment of The Bermuda International Film Festival’s film series, BIFFlix, will be “Beloved.” The latest film from modern musical director Christophe Honore, the film was the closing night selection of 2011 Cannes Film Festival. The film will screen on Saturday February 23, 5:30pm, at The Tradewinds Auditorium in the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute, 40 Crow Lane, Pembroke.

Starring Catherine Deneuve and (her real-life daughter) Chiara Mastroianni, this sly and exquisitely romantic musical drama from Christophe Honoré (Love Songs, Dans Paris) spans over three decades as it follows a mother and daughter’s misadventures in love. In the ’60s, Madeleine (Ludivine Sagnier) leaves Paris to re-join her Czech husband Jaromil (Rasha Bukvic) in Prague, but his infidelities and the arrival of Russian tanks in the city lead her back to France.

Thirty years later we follow the romance of Madeleine’s daughter, Vera, who falls in love with a musician (Paul Scneider) in London who is incapable of devoting himself to her. Meanwhile in Paris, a re-married Madeleine (Deneuve) has rekindled her love affair with Jaromil (Milos Forman). Louis Garrel and Paul Schneider also star in this light-hearted but ultimately moving exploration of the changing nature of relationships.

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 French with English subtitles and runs 139 minutes.

“The music is enchantingly low-key, the fashions are gorgeous, and the emotions both tragic and real-this is one of the year’s best films.” – Bilge Ebiri, New York Magazine

007 is For Your Eyes Only in Bermuda

This article was originally published in 1/11/2013 edition of the Bermuda Sun; Writer Sarah Lagan

FRIDAY, JANUARY 11: Think you know your Licence to Kill from your View To A Kill?

Die-hard Bond fans will have the chance to really test their knowledge of the iconic spy thriller films at the screening of a new documentary next Friday.

Everything or Nothing: The Untold Story of 007, highlights the struggle between the original James Bond producers, Cubby Broccoli and Harry Saltzman in bringing the Bond books to the big screen.

It includes rare archive footage and interviews with most of the leading protagonists.

Mr Saltzman’s daughter Hillary will be at the screening as the festival’s special guest and will be on hand for a question and answer session hosted by Bruce Barritt after the film.

On the evening of the screening, BIFF is holding a fundraising cocktail reception where guests will receive a Bond cocktail (courtesy of Bacardi) and there will be a raffle at the end of the evening.

The screening and fundraiser will be in the Earl Cameron Theatre City Hall on Friday, January 18.

The reception begins at 7pm and the screening is at 7:30pm.

Tickets are $50 and are available from premierticketsglobal.com. Guests are encouraged to attend in their best black tie outfit. Proceeds from the event will go towards the Bermuda International Film Festival.

Film Foreign Language Oscar Shortlist

Nine new foreign language films are vying for the top prize in international cinema at the 85th Oscars. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences narrowed the list after receving 71 entries from various countries around the world.

The five nominees for the Foreign Language Film Award will be chosen by a committee and the nominations will be announced on January 10, 2013. The Oscars will be presented on Sunday, February 24, 2013.

Check out the shortlist below.

Austria, Amour, Michael Haneke, director
Canada, War Witch, Kim Nguyen, director
Chile, No, Pablo Larraín, director
Denmark, A Royal Affair, Nikolaj Arcel, director
France, The Intouchables, Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano, directors
Iceland, The Deep, Baltasar Kormákur, director
Norway, Kon-Tiki, Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg, directors
Romania, Beyond the Hills, Cristian Mungiu, director
Switzerland, Sister, Ursula Meier, director

Academy Narrows Live Action Short Film Race To 11

The Oscar race for best live action short film has narrowed to 11 finalists down from the 125 films that originally qualified. One of the shortlisted films is Henry which screened at BIFF 2012. Congratulations to BIFF alumni Yan England.

Full press release below.

BEVERLY HILLS, CA – The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences today announced that 11 live action short films will advance in the voting process for the 85th Academy Awards®. A tie in the nominations balloting resulted in 11 films being shortlisted. One hundred twenty-five pictures had originally qualified in the category.

The 11 films are listed below in alphabetical order by title, with their production companies:

“A Fábrica (The Factory),” Aly Muritiba, director (Grafo Audiovisual)
“Asad,” Bryan Buckley, director, and Mino Jarjoura, producer (Hungry Man)
“Buzkashi Boys,” Sam French, director, and Ariel Nasr, producer (Afghan Film Project)
“Curfew,” Shawn Christensen, director (Fuzzy Logic Pictures)
“Death of a Shadow (Dood van een Schaduw),” Tom Van Avermaet, director, and Ellen De Waele, producer
(Serendipity Films)
“Henry,” Yan England, director (Yan England)
“Kiruna-Kigali,” Goran Kapetanovic, director (Hepp Film AB)
“The Night Shift Belongs to the Stars,” Silvia Bizio and Paola Porrini Bisson, producers (Oh! Pen LLC)
“9meter,” Anders Walther, director, and Tivi Magnusson, producer (M & M Productions A/S)
“Salar,” Nicholas Greene, director, and Julie Buck, producer (Nicholas Greene)
“when you find me,” Ron Howard, executive producer, and Bryce Dallas Howard, director
(Freestyle Picture Company)

The Short Films and Feature Animation Branch Reviewing Committee viewed all the eligible entries for the preliminary round of voting at screenings held in Los Angeles.

Short Films and Feature Animation Branch members will now select three to five nominees from among the 11 titles on the shortlist. Branch screenings will be held in Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco in December.

The 85th Academy Awards nominations will be announced live on Thursday, January 10, 2013, at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater.

Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2012 will be presented on Sunday, February 24, 2013, at the Dolby Theatre™ at Hollywood & Highland Center®, and televised live on the ABC Television Network. The Oscar presentation also will be televised live in more than 225 countries worldwide.

BIFF To Screen “The Kid With A Bike”

BIFF today announces that it has secured The Kid with a Bike for the big screen in Bermuda. The film will be shown as the next instalment in BIFF’s monthly BIFFlix series on Sunday, May 27, 2012, 6.30pm at Tradewinds Auditorium at Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute (BUEI) on Crow Lane in Hamilton.

The Kid with a Bike won the Grand Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival and a Golden Globe nomination for ‘Best Foreign Language Film.’

This deeply moving new film by the Dardenne brothers (L’enfant,Rosetta) delves into the emotional life of troubled 11-year-old Cyril (newcomer, Thomas Doret). When his father (Jérémie Renier) abandons him, Cyril obsessively searches for his bicycle – placing his last bit of hope in this symbol of their relationship.

Almost by accident, he becomes the ward of a kind hairdresser (Cécile de France – Clint Eastwood’s Hereafter), who seems surprised to find herself so determined to help him. With his wild, unpredictable behaviour and his disastrous search for father figures, Cyril risks losing her – though she refuses to give up without a fight.

Full of heart-breaking betrayals and unexpected grace, The Kid with a Bike is a film about a child, abandoned to the elements, learning to become good.

Tickets are available in advance on http://www.tickets.biff.bm or at the door on the day from 5.30pm. Tickets are priced at $10 for BIFF members and $15 for non-members. For reservations or enquiries email info@biff.bm. Running time: 87 minutes. Language: French (English subtitles). Rated PG-13.

Date Change: Screening Of “The Take” Film

On Tuesday 22nd May CURB will be screening The Take, a full-length feature film, dealing with the controversial topics of crime, forgiveness, and punishment. The screening date has been changed from what was previously reported. Bernews.com has all the detaisl.

Bob Marley Documentary To Screen Tonight

A documentary on the late great Robert Nesta Marley will screen this evening [Apr.27] at the Liberty Theatre. A Cocktail Reception starts at 8pm, and the movie starts at 9:30pm. Tickets [$30] are sold at Kit n Caboodle and Liberty Theatre. You can also call 536-1999 or 705-8275 for more information.

Marley is a 2012 Documentary film that tells the story of legendary Jamaican reggae artist Bob Marley. The film charts his life from his humble beginnings in a small country village without electricity, through his rise to fame in Jamaica, to his time in London, subsequent return to his Island of birth and eventual death at the age of just 36.

See the full details on the screening on Bernews.com

Haiti Village Health Documentary Screens

On Thursday [Apr.26], the documentary Haiti Village Health, produced by award winning documentary film maker Robert Zuill, was screened at The Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute [BUEI].

The film documents work being done by Haiti Village Health which is an aid organization started by Dr. Tiffany Keenan, a doctor who works here in Bermuda. At the screening, a discussion was held on how they have built and now run a clinic in the village of Bod Me Limbe on Haiti’s north coast.

See the full details on the screening at Bernews.com