2014 Juror Announced Soon

Competition Categories:

Spirit of Freedom: Narrative & documentary

BIFF has held Spirit of Freedom as one of its themed categories since it's very first festival.  Each film in this program explores the potential of the human spirit and how freedom affects - or is absent from - our lives.  

NEW VISIONS - Sponsored by JetBlue Airways

Our New Visions competition is a showcase for emerging artists, providing festival audiences with the opportunity to discover the next generation of visionary filmmakers. A Grand Jury Prize will be presented to the New Vision film category.  

Short Films

A short film is 31 minutes or less and often the only place where young filmmakers have the chance to explore story telling through cinema. Film Festivals are one of the few venues where multiple short films can experienced. BIFF is pleased to present one of the most interesting and diverse lineups of short films. A Grand Jury Prize will be presented to the Short film category.

Joel Zito Araujo

Juror | Spirit Of Freedom Narrative & Documentary

JOEL ZITO ARAÚJO is an award-winning Brazilian filmmaker. For over two decades, he has produced documentaries and narrative shorts dealing with social issues in Brazil, particularly the nation’s Afro-Brazilian population. His feature-documentary Cinderellas, Lobos e um Príncipe Encantado about sexual tourism in Brazil enjoyed a strong theatrical and community release. His documentary Negação do Brasil about the participation of black actors in Brazilian telenovelas won Best Documentary at the E Tudo Verdade film Festival. His feature-length narrative, Filhas do Vento brought together the largest black cast in the history of Brazilian cinema. The Gramado Festival award-winning film generated intense media attention and screened widely in Brazil and internationally including New York’s Film Forum and MoMA. Joel is the recipient of a MacArthur Foundation fellowship and has a PhD in Communications from the University of São Paulo and was a visiting scholar at the University of Texas, Austin.

Trent Berry

Juror | Spirit Of Freedom Narrative & Documentary

Trent Berry is a producer/musician and the founder of Black Ninja Fabric, a San Francisco-based global consortium specializing in creating music for emerging multimedia artists and independent filmmakers.  


BNF has provided made-to-order collaborative soundtracks and sonic installations for multimedia sites and events, including this year’s Burning Man Festival in Black Rock, Nevada and the Surge Anniversary Two Day Event in West Hollywood.  They’ve created the voiceovers and Blade Runner-inspired music for the Facebook/YouTube campaign “Hyperloop Now!,” supporting Elon Musk’s California high speed rail proposal. 


In the independent film world, Trent has become known for his voiceover work as well as for his dreamy, vast atmospheric soundscapes.  He created extensive additions to the soundtrack of the award-winning short horror film Hell Patrol (2009) mixed at George Lucas’ Skywalker Ranch.  Most recently, his band Molly Gunner had their song “Illusion” featured in the critically acclaimed postmodern Western film, Road to Paloma (2014).


Trent also writes and produces music for artists to shop at festivals, this year notably including the co-writing and production/mixing of the James Bond-meets-neo noir track “Locked in a Cage” by Serena Malkani (Sundance) and the recent album of sophisti-folk by Americana artist Richard Busch (Munich).


On a lighter note:  if you’ve ever seen Jersey Boys in a theatre, you’ve heard Trent’s playing- those are his sampled harmonica parts emanating from the speakers!


Annie Calhoun

Juror | Short Film

Annie Calhoun is blessed to split her time between acting, teaching, and writing.  She received her MFA in Acting from DePaul University’s Theatre School, and went on to teach on the faculty.  As well as acting on a number of Chicago stages, Annie studied improvisation at The Second City, iO Chicago (Improv Olympic), and LA's UCB (Upright Citizen's Brigade) and can currently be seen performing on the iO West stage in LA.  She's developed two improv troupes; Full Circle, an outreach bringing improv to mental health facilities, and Almost ATLANTA, a group who performed fully improvised plays at Chicago’s renown Steppenwolf Theatre.  Annie is also a passionate educator, and helped found Chicago’s first public arts high school in 2009, ChiArts, and now teaches at its west coast sister school LACHSA (LA's County's High School for the Arts).  She also runs the theatre program at Kipp Scholar Academy in South LA.  As a writer, Annie is currently developing a TV pilot focussing on the disparity in LA's public schools (with writing partner Mary O'Malley), as well as a novel on the same topic.  She is excited to be a part of the Bahamas International Film Festival and watch the story telling unfold onscreen!

Lisa Chanoff

Juror | New Visions / sponsored by JetBlue Airways

Lisa Kleiner Chanoff is co-founder of Catapult Film Fund (catapultfilmfund.org), which awards development grants to help launch documentary film projects covering a broad spectrum of issues, topics, and perspectives. Lisa, together with filmmaker Bonni Cohen, started Catapult in 2010 to provide impactful funding for documentary filmmakers with compelling stories to tell, and who are ready to begin fundraising for their projects. Catapult grants enable filmmakers to develop their films at an early but crucial stage, where funding can be otherwise hard to find.


Catapult grantees include: E-TEAM, Cinematography Award winner at Sundance 2014; THE OVERNIGHTERS, winner of the Special Jury Award for Intuitive Filmmaking at Sundance 2014; THE LAST SEASON, winner of the Golden Gate Award at the San Francisco International Film Festival; CALL ME KUCHU, which took top prizes at Berlinale; Oscar-winner Freida Mock's ANITA, which premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival; THE GENIUS OF MARIAN, which premiered at the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival; REMOTE AREA MEDICAL, which premiered at the Full Frame Documentary Festival; and THE KILL TEAM, winner of the award for Best Documentary Feature at the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival and the Golden Gate Award at the San Francisco International Festival. With Bonni Cohen, Chanoff Executive Produced ART AND CRAFT, which premiered at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival. Lisa is a Co-Executive Producer of FRUITVALE STATION, which won both the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award for U.S. Dramatic Film at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, and is an Executive Producer of the documentary WATCHERS OF THE SKY.


Before founding Catapult, Lisa practiced law in San Francisco and with the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice in Washington, DC. After leaving law practice, Lisa received a master’s degree in Museum Studies and worked with several museums in the San Francisco Bay Area, including the Contemporary Jewish Museum, to design exhibitions and education programs.


Lisa has a long history of philanthropic involvement in education and the arts, as well as health and poverty issues. Lisa’s passion for early venture support has led to pivotal first funding of projects, ranging from poverty alleviation and education work in the San Francisco area to a school for girls and community center in the Kibera slum of Nairobi.


Lisa currently serves on the boards of Working Films and the San Francisco Film Society.


Bruno Chatelin

Filmmaker Residency Program

Bruno Chatelin’s background: Business School, Ad Agencies Director, Film Distributor, and digital pioneer and entrepreneur. Founder of filmfestivals.com  


Bruno Chatelin, HEC 1977 alumni, began his marketing career with large international Advertising Agencies: Intermarco - Publicis, DMM Masius and JWT. He became a film distributor in 1985 working in France for Sony then for UGC 20 TH Century Fox from 1995  (Marketing Director and Managing Director) he has launched over 200 films. 

He co founded filmfestivals.com web portal and social network listing festivals worldwide anc connecting film to festivals. He runs a consulting boutique Major Buzz Factory specialized in online and festival marketing for film.  Prior to this he ran a Film School and Film Studio in Cherbourg, a TV production company in Tunisia where he produced “Who wants to be a Millionaire”, for ENTV the national TV in Algeria.


Pilar Colome

Juror | Spirit Of Freedom Narrative & Documentary

Pilar Colomé (1970). Salvadorian-Spanish. Degree in communications and journalism, has a specialization in documentaries, production of educational videos from the Secretary of Education of Mexico and a specialization in Postproduction from the Film Training Centre of Mexico (CCC). She has 17 years of experience in management, production and post-production of documentaries, social videos and short films and long feature films, both in Guatemala and El Salvador. With her short documentary “Jocelyn and the Coyote”, the story of a minor migrant, just won the first prize for best documentary at “The Americas Film Festival of New York 2014”. She also works as professor and design video production workshops mostly for young and people in social risk, and was Vice-president and founder of ASCINE (Salva­dorian Film and Television Association).

Luis Dorati

Juror | Short Film

A lover of film the magic hour that is at dawn and dusk, born in the Republic of Panama, started his audiovisual career 12 years ago, incurring market trading Television, taking into account the ideas of creative the requirement for the directors and the needs of brands. He has been invited to speak sometimes by universities, colleges and schools in the country for talks on audio visual production relating their experiences and knowledge to future generations of the film industry. Currently working to develop the film industry in Panama. He is director of music videos for different genres and artists. He also made a video for coorporativos large companies. He has worked on major international film projects as Assistant Director and Producer such as Quantum of Solace, Paradise Lost, Indigenous, Hands of Stone (history of the world of boxing champion Roberto Duran, Prohibido Olvidar to name a few.

Laurie Gordon

Filmmaker Residency Program

Laurie was born in Montreal, Canada and is of Hungarian heritage. She holds a fine arts integrative music studies with a focus on film and communication from Concordia University. Laurie is a film producer director, media entrepreneur and president of Musivision Films and director of The Montreal International Animation Film Festival – ANIMAZE.  Laurie became the "accidental" film producer while working with the late animator Oscar nominee Ryan Larkin subject of the Oscar winning film Ryan. The result was Spare Change, Ryan's first film  after 35 years  of drug addiction and homelessness. This experience is the story of Ryan’s Renaissance produced by Musivision Films for CTVBellMedia. Laurie has produced animation and documentary films and has worked with Oscar winner Co Hoedeman and 3x Oscar nominee Gerald Potterton. Laurie is a multi-media artist with a practice as music composer, writer, and film director. Laurie is a regular contributor and videographer for filmfestivals.com covering festivals such as Berlin, Annecy, Cannes and has worked as a producer and undercover reporter for Canada’s longest running investigative TV show The FIFTH ESTATE. Years as a vocal coach Laurie has mentored professional musicians and actors and ran a recording studio and has more than 246 songs in her catalogue. She is in development with her latest documentary film I Spy My Father and a documentary series The Icons of Animation while writing a treatment for feature film.


Matthew Helderman

Filmmaker Residency Program

is a media entrepreneur and film producer based in Los Angeles.  Overseeing projects ranging from micro-budgets to multi-million dollar productions, Helderman has produced 100+ hours of feature, television, commercial & music video productions.  Educated at Lake Forest College in film, philosophy, & economics - Helderman brings a wealth of academic, practical and business knowledge to each project.  In 2010, Helderman formed Buffalo 8 Productions to produce his feature film "The Alumni Chapter" which sold it's international rights to a boutique distributor and can be found on sale at Walmart, Target, Amazon and Best Buy.  From there Helderman & Buffalo 8 oversaw feature productions while developing unique distribution strategies directly with sales agents.  During this time Helderman joined Suzanne DeLaurentiis Productions at Paramount Studios as a co-producer while continuing producing a slate of independent films under Buffalo 8.  With a background in finance, technologies and entertainment - Helderman fosters development and perfected productions on a regular basis.  Buffalo 8 Productions oversees features, commercials and television productions   from development,  financing  & distribution.

Janyne Hodder

Juror | Short Film

A former President of The College of The Bahamas, Janyne Hodder is a leader in higher education, in education and in public administration. A Canadian citizen with permanent residency in The Bahamas, she began her professional career as a primary school teacher in The Bahamas, and has since effectively led institutions in Canada and in the Bahamas and worked with staff, students, community and volunteer groups, administrative boards, the private sector and governments with a focus on developing a shared vision, establishing performance goals, creating effective management teams and ensuring sound financial management.   She currently works as an independent consultant with a strong interest in strategic planning, accountability, programme evaluation and the development of a culture of philanthropy.  She has served on many boards in the sectors of education, health, arts and culture and the environment. She is the recipient of an honorary doctorate from Bishop’s University in Canada and the Queen’s Jubilee medal in recognition of her service to communities.  Throughout her career, she has maintained a major interest as hobby photographer and is an enthusiastic film viewer.  

Nate Kohn

Filmmaker Residency Program

Nathaniel Kohn, Ph.D., Panelist and Producer


Dr. Nathaniel Kohn is professor at the University of Georgia and Associate Director of the George Foster Peabody Awards, the most prestigious award in electronic media.  He directs the University of Georgia Cannes Festival Study Abroad Program and co-directs the University of Georgia Cannes Lions Advertising Festival Study Abroad Program.


He is also festival director of Roger Ebert's Film Festival, and he was co-founder and director of Robert Osborne’s Classic Film Festival. 


Dr. Kohn's credits as Producer include the Academy Award nominated Zulu Dawn starring Burt Lancaster and Peter O’Toole; the independent feature Somebodies, which premiered in competition at Sundance (2006); Rain, starring Nicki Micheaux and CCH Pounder, the Bahamas’ first indigenous feature which premiered at Toronto (2007) and on Showtime (2010); the feature film Bottleworld (2010); he was Executive Producer on the BET television series Somebodies (2008); and he is Producer on the feature length documentary Bayou Maharajah that premiered at the SXSW Festival (2013).


He has served on juries and mentored at the Atlanta International Film Festival, the Hawaii International Film Festival, the Kerala International Film Festival and the Bahamas International Film Festival. 


He is the author of numerous scholarly articles and of the book Pursuing Hollywood: Seduction, Obsession, Dread (AltaMira Press, 2006).

Sean Nottage

Juror | Short Film

Sean is actor, professional voice artist and lawyer.  He descends from a Bahamian family that has its roots in Eleuthera.  Sean has been an active theatre actor over the years. He won a DANSA award for his role as Juror #8 in '12 Angry Men' in Ringplay Productions' presentation of this play in 1996 for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Play.  More recently, Sean performed in 'The Tempest' as part of the Shakespeare in Paradise festival in 2009.  He also performed in 'Macbeth' a forerunner production to Shakespeare in Paradise and prior to those productions appeared in 'Other People's Money' and 'A Doll's House.'  Sean has also acted in film, having appeared in the Rosetta Films' movie, 'Wind Jammers,' which was co-produced and co-directed by Bahamian film maker, Kareem Mortimer.  In addition, Sean worked on New Line Cinema's 'After The Sunset' as stand-in and photo double for Pierce Brosnan.  As a voice artist, Sean has provided the voice for numerous radio and TV commercials and promos as well as narrations and radio imaging around the world. He is the imaging voice of Y98.7 here in Nassau.  Sean also maintains his own legal practice focusing on the wealth management industry.

Jib Polhemus

New Visions / Sponsored by JetBlue Airways

Jib Polhemus has worked in the entertainment business for the past 20 years, starting his career working with the Producer of the Oscar winning film, LEAVING LAS VEGAS.  From there, he transitioned to the powerhouse agency, Creative Artists.  At CAA, he met legendary producer, Dino De Laurentiis, who hired him as a development executive where he worked on numerous films including:  Kurt Russell ‘s BREAKDOWN and The Wachowskis’ first film, BOUND.  Since then he has been the President of Simon West Productions, where he has developed and sold numerous high profile projects to Warner Brothers, Universal, Fox, Paramount, Sony and various others.  Recently, he Executive Produced  the film, HEAT written by legendary screenwriter William Goldman (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Marathon Man and Princess Bride).  HEAT stars Jason Statham, Stanley Tucci and Sofia Vergara.  Lionsgate will release the film in January 2015.  Prior to HEAT, he Co-Produced blockbuster EXPENDABLES 2, starring Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, and Jason Statham, and Executive Produced STOLEN starring Nicolas Cage and Josh Lucas.  In 2011, he Co-Produced The MECHANIC, starring Jason Statham and Ben Foster, and also Associate Produced Paramount’s mega-blockbuster Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, starring Angelina Jolie.  During his tenure at Simon West Productions, he has overseen production and development on several other films including Oscar-winning BLACK HAWK DOWN, Sony’s WHEN A STRANGER CALLS, and Paramount’s hit THE GENERAL’S DAUGHTER written by bestselling author Nelson DeMille.  In television, he has developed and sold shows to all of the top networks (CBS, NBC, FOX, ABC and WB). Most recently, he co-executive produced The Cape for NBC and Human Target for FOX. He has overseen a production deal at CBS Studios for the past 10 years and is currently Executive Producing, The Mods and Rockers at E1.  Jib resides in Los Angeles, California  and, in his spare time, he lectures at the high acclaimed, Columbia College of Chicago’s semester in Los Angeles program.

Ryan Scott Stubbs

Juror | New Vision / Sponsored by JetBlue Airways

Visual art has been a long standing passion for Duser. His distinct style is heavily influenced and rooted in street art, illustration and graphic design. While active in the graffiti world he attended Whittier College on an art scholarship, followed by a MA program at NYU and a Post Baccalaureate program at the San Francisco Art Institute. Upon completion at SFAI, Duser realized the true beauty of San Francisco. He set up a home base and studio where he continues to work. His work can be seen in many major cities through out the US, Canada, Mexico and Europe. From outdoor murals to cafe's, restaurants, nightclubs, galleries and the odd museum appearance.

for more info: www.dusermania.com

Luke Taylor

Filmmaker Residency Program

A Los Angeles based film producer and co-founder of Buffalo 8 Productions.  Taylor began his film career in 2005, at New York based Mannic Media, before moving to Los Angeles to study business, music, and film at the University of Southern California.  Having also spent time in the corporate entertainment industry at Columbia Records and Interscope Records - Taylor brings both a creative and practical approach to business.  In 2010, Taylor focused his energies to the independent film world and joined forces with Matthew Helderman to produce the feature "The Alumni Chapter" under the Buffalo 8 Productions banner, and oversaw the final distribution sale in Los Angeles.  Taylor then shifted his focus to physical production as an Assistant Director and Production Manager for independent feature films. This production track enabled him to build a firm platform of practical set knowledge leading to superior management tactics and communication skills.  Taylor's efficient, organized and passionate approach is crucial to building and maintaining innovative business models for Buffalo 8.  Overseeing projects from development through sales, Taylor continues to manage company operations and sales outreach.

T +954 281 8751


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