Bahamas International Film Festival

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Bahamas International Film Festival
Opening film December 2004
Location Bahamas
Founded Leslie Vanderpool
Language English

Bahamas International Film Festival (BIFF) is an annual film festival held in early December in the Bahamas, founded in 2004.[citation needed].

The Bahamas International Film Festival is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing the local community and international visitors with a diverse presentation of films from around the world. In addition to offering films that might not otherwise be released theatrically in the Bahamas, BIFF provides a unique cultural experience, educational programs, and forums for exploring the future of cinema. BIFF Founder and Executive Director is Leslie Vanderpool.

The forms and genres presented are shorts, features, documentaries and animation. BIFF hosts screenings in several different programs - including "World Cinema" and "Caribbean Spotlight" and welcomes filmmakers who are either based in the Caribbean or Caribbean-born. Submissions to this genre are eligible to win the Grand Jury prize sponsored by Chopard. Submissions to the "New Visions" category are also eligible for a Grand Jury prize sponsored by Hard Rock Café. New in 2007, a grand jury prize will also be presented to the best short film.

The primary Goal of BIFF is to share the art of film with the Bahamas, the appreciation of creative talent and to promote the study and understanding of culture (both Bahamian and universal cultures). Through the making and sharing of film, BIFF hopes to increase awareness, tourism and branding of the Bahamian islands


Currently BIFF screens international, independent, short films and documentaries spanning one week in early December. After each film the filmmaker is available for discussion and questions from the audience, and gives each viewer the opportunity to enter another world. Other events throughout the week include the glamorous Opening Night Gala and Closing Night Gala, a tribute ceremony to the ‘Rising Star’ for the next up and coming actor in Hollywood, and a Career Achievement Tribute Award for an A-list actor.

As part of BIFF's educational program, panels of filmmakers for the general public discuss topics such as “Filmmaking in the Caribbean”, “How to Find Representation”, “Film Financing”, “Music and Film” and “The Art of Collaboration”, effectively bringing Bahamian filmmakers and film enthusiasts into the world of film. In reaching out to the region, the Filmmaker Residency Program is an initiative that accepts scripts and/or screenplays from filmmakers in the Caribbean. They are then judged by industry professionals and ranked for a 1st, 2nd and 3rd cash money prize along with constructive mentoring in developing or taking the next step in producing their film. The second initiative for Bahamian youth is the Reel Life film program, accepting documentaries and feature films that depict the” true story” of the Bahamas – as interpreted by the filmmaker. And thirdly, the BIFF Youth Film Workshop is a program run for six days during the festival, teaching Bahamian youth the skills and providing the tools to make a film in a day. The participants are put into groups, each enacting the role of director, producer, actor, etc. The DVDs are then returned to all participants who are proud to show family and friends their day in the life of a film professional.

BIFF has been very successful over the years providing a platform for artistic expression with the tools and resources necessary to make film and tell unique stories. BIFF brings in tourists to participate in the film festival because of its wonderful destination and film programming. Based on press coverage from the 2006 festival it received $550,000 worth of exposure for the country in that year alone, sited by Weber Shandwick and Roger & Cowan Public Relation companies in the US. In 2007, the estimate was up to $1 million.

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