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BIFF Names 2008 Festival Award Winners

“Lions Den” “Cold Lunch” “Youssou Ndour” and “Gone Fishing” Take Home Top Prizes

Three Local Bahamian Filmmakers Win $10,000 From Festival Filmmaker Residency Program


Nassau, Bahamas – December 8, 2008 – Competition winners were announced today at the awards ceremony, sponsored by Chopard, for the 5th Bahamas International Film Festival, held at the Atlantis Hotel & Resort on Paradise Island in Nassau. The announcements were made by Festival Founder and Executive Director Leslie Vanderpool at this evening’s event.

The Festival showcased 80 films from 22 different countries, including 50 features of which several are world or international premieres and nearly all Bahamian premieres. The four competition categories at BIFF are Spirit of Freedom: Narrative; Spirit of Freedom: Documentary; New Vision; and Short Film.

Below are the official competition winners at this year’s Bahamas International Film Festival:

New Vision
The New Vision Award, sponsored by JetBlue Airways, was awarded to “Cold Lunch,” directed by Eva Sorhaug from Norway.

Spirit of Freedom: Narrative

The Spirit of Freedom: Narrative Award sponsored by Chopard was awarded to the Spanish language drama “Lion’s Den” from Director Pablo Trapero.

Spirit of Freedom: Documentary

The Spirit of Freedom: Documentary Award sponsored by Chopard was awarded to “Youssou Ndour: I Bring What I Love” from director/producer/star Chai Vasarhelyi.

Short Film
The Award for Best Short Film, sponsored by Lombard Odier Darier Hentsch was awarded to “Gone Fishing” from Director Chris Jones.

Capping off the ceremony was the announcement that BIFF’s Filmmaker Residency Program, jointly sponsored by Ansbacher, will award a total of $10,000 to local Bahamian filmmakers Claire Ince, Ian Poitier and Travolta Cooper for their projects, “Scandal,” “Getting In” and “Man Made Isle,” respectively.

Sponsored by Ansbacher Ltd., BIFF’s Filmmaker Residency Program was established to award a significant cash prize to a deserving independent Bahamian and Caribbean filmmaker vying for funding on his or her project. The prize money will go directly towards the development and production of their films.

The esteemed group of Filmmaker Residency Advisors presiding over this year’s program and evaluating the candidates included Malcolm Lee, Alexander Young, Jane Schoettle, Murray McRae and Kelly Moore.

Said Leslie Vanderpool, “As the festival grows with each passing year, the Residency Program continues to provide us with outstanding artistic work from both the Bahamian and international communities. We are extremely happy for Ian, Travolta and Claire.”

Bahamian Filmmaker Maria Govan, director of RAIN has said, "BIFF offers Bahamians two very important things through the residency program -- the opportunity to get feedback on one's work so that Bahamians may become better screen writers and also the opportunity to connect with industry people who have the capacity to help realize that which is given to them on the page."


About the Winning Films:
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Cold Lunch
NORWAY / 2008 / 90 mins
Language: Norwegian
Director: Eva Sørhaug
Producers: Håkon Øverås, Aagot Skjeldal
Screenwriter: Per Schreiner
Principal Cast: Ane Dahl Torp, Aksel Hennie, Pia Tjelta, Nicolai Cleve Broch, Bjørn Floberg, Anneke von der Lippe, Jan Gunnar Røise, Ingar Helge Gimle, Kyrre Sydness, Birgitte Victoria Svendsen
Genre: Drama


A multi-plot drama about five people who all live in the same neighbourhood at Majorstua in Oslo. While Christer is down in the basement laundry room, he suddenly remembers he's got his house rent money in the shirt pocket. In an attempt to save the money, he disconnects the main fuse in order to stop the washing machine. As the caretaker puts in a new fuse, an old man is fumbling with the fuses in a fusebox upstairs and dies instantly. His daughter, Leni is now alone for the first time in her life. As the fresh mother Heidi is in the washroom to get her laundry, she discovers that the machines have stopped. She is in a hurry, and has to bring with her the wet clothes. Without being aware of it, Christer has set unavoidable processes in motion.


Gone Fishing
UK / 2008 / 13 mins
Language: English
Director: Chris Jones
Producer: Ivan Francis Clements
Screenwriter: Chris Jones
Principal Cast: Bill Paterson, Devon Murray
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Short


The touching story of a boy and an old man coming to terms with bereavement through their shared love of fishing, and the legend of Goliath, the biggest pike ever caught

Lions Den
ARGENTINA/BRAZIL / 2008 / 113 mins
Language: Spanish
Director: Pablo Trapero
Producers: Youngjoo Suh, Pablo Trapero
Screenwriters: Alejandro Fadel, Martín Mauregui
Principal Cast: Martina Gusman, Elli Medeiros, Rodrigo Santoro, Laura García, Tomás Plotinsky
Genre: Drama


Julia, a 25 year-old university student, two weeks pregnant, with no criminal record, is sent to prison. Julia murdered two men; one, the father of her child. This story addresses maternity, jail and Justice; confinement, guilt and solitude; but above all it deals with Julia and her son, Tomas, born inside an Argentinean prison.

Youssou Ndour: I Bring What I Love
USA / 2008 / 102 mins
Language: English, French, Wolof, Arabic
Director: Chai Vasarhelyi
Producer: Chai Vasarhelyi
Principal Cast: Youssou Ndour, Fathy Salama, Kabou Gueye, Peter Gabriel
Genre: Documentary


Senegalese pop sensation Youssou Ndour has spent the last 20 years in the spotlight as a world-renowned musician and the iconic representative “voice of Africa”. At the height of his career, Youssou, became frustrated by the negative perception of his Muslim faith and composed Egypt, a deeply spiritual album dedicated to a more tolerant view of Islam. It was a critical and career-defining moment. Ndour’s brave musical message was wholeheartedly embraced by Western audiences but ignited serious religious controversy in his homeland of Senegal.

Combining unprecedented images of Senegal’s most sacred Muslim rituals, vibrant concert performances filmed around the world and intimate access to Ndour and his family, I Bring What I Love chronicles the difficult journey Youssou must undertake to assume his true calling. Youssou Ndour is a voice of hope and tolerance, a modern day moral and political leader whose message transcends music but remains grounded in the universality of faith.


About the Bahamas International Film Festival:
The Bahamas International Film Festival (BIFF) is a nonprofit organization committed to providing the local community and International festival goers with a diverse presentation of films from The Bahamas and around the world. In addition to showcasing films that might not otherwise be released theatrically, BIFF provides unique cultural experiences, educational programs, and forums for exploring the past, present & future of cinema. BIFF aims to raise the level of filmmaking, participation and education throughout The Bahamas and the world.

The full BIFF program is now available in print and online at www.bintlfilmfest.com. Tickets can be booked online, over the telephone, or in person at BIFF box offices. Every year the Festival offers advance ticket deals from the date of Box opening to the first day of the Festival.

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