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.  


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.

Screenwriters Residency Program

The Bahamas International Film Festival will collaborate with Buffalo 8 and ScreenCraft, in presenting the Screenwriters Residency Program, December 1 – 4 in Harbour Island, Bahamas. The program will select 4 winning screenwriters for an all-expenses paid trip to The Bahamas in December.  Four (4) days of screenplay development, mentorship and networking with some of Hollywood’s top professionals, set against the backdrop of The Bahamas’ breathtaking natural beauty and rich culture. 


Taylor Benzie

Literary Manager Kaplan/Perrone | Mentor for Screenwriters Program

Taylor Benzie is a talent and literary manager at Kaplan/Perrone Entertainment, where he represents writers, directors and performers in film and television. Prior to Kaplan/Perrone, Taylor spent over three years at Mosaic where he worked with a diverse group of talent from young, up and coming comedians and writers to highly established award-winning actors and directors, including Will Ferrell, Andy Samberg, Jim Carrey and Will Forte.

Sean Covel

Producer (Napolean Dynamite, Beneath, Cafe) | Mentor for Screenwriters Program

Sean Covel attended college at the University Of Nebraska, Kearney, majoring in Broadcast Management with a minor in acting. Covel then took a position as a headhunter in San Francisco, and eventually opened his own firm before ultimately turning his attention back to film making. He graduated from the University Of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts in 2002.

After graduating from college, Covel began work on the film "Think Tank." In 2003 he joined the team writing and producing "Napolean Dynamite,"  which won critical acclaim. Covel's other producing credits include "12 Dogs of Christmas," "Beneath" and "Cafe." Covel has authored three books, he teaches Independent Film Business as an adjunct professor at USC and is currently also working on his next film.

Cameron Cubbison

Co Founder Screencraft, Development Executive | Mentor for Screenwriters Program

Cameron Cubbison has worked as a freelance reader and story analyst for five years, providing development notes and continued consultation for private clients while managing a team of skilled readers as ScreenCraft's contests administrator and consulting point man. 

He has personally assessed over 4,000 screenplays for myriad contests, including ScreenCraft's suite of genre-specific contests, Fresh Voices, and more. Cameron has written full coverage and notes on well over a thousand scripts and manuscripts for companies like Lionsgate Films, Open Road Films, Resolution, Paradigm, UTA, Story Authority, The Sundance Institute, ReelFX, Icon Films, The Dan Jinks Company, and others.

Vince Gerardis

Producer (HBO Games Of Thrones) | Mentor for Screenwriters Program

Vince Gerardis began his entertainment career as a literary agent specializing in the representation of Intellectual Property rights at The Agency, working under legendary agent Jerry Zeitman.


He formed Created By in 1998 in conjunction with publishing super-agent Ralph Vicinanza, who repped such literary giants as Stephen King, Terry Pratchett, Augusten Burroughs, George RR Martin and dignitaries including His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The aim of the Created By was to represent the film, television, game and other ancillary rights for these and other authors and package them properties toward film, TV and ancillary or derivative exploitation. Since it’s inception, the client list has grown to encompass more than 300 authors, over 8000 titles. Ralph Vicinanza died in 2010, leaving the entirety of Created By in his control.


As representative, Vince has concluded over 700 deals and pioneered new forms of copyright portioning. He was the first to get internet royalties (from Sony) and by successfully defining new rights usage, he carved out Virtual World Rights on RED MARS (from AMC Network). Vince has remained at the forefront of knowledge and contacts even as the media world has evolved in areas of digital and tech-based entertainment strategies. Vince has established a reputation among both literary communities and Hollywood as someone who can perform many tasks with a specific focus on the initial stages of development and packaging.


As producer, Vince has established relationships with dozens of A-list talent, writers, directors and other producers. He was instrumental in the packaging and development JUMPER for New Regency and Fox Studios. Released in February of 2008, Jumper has grossed more than $200 Million Dollars worldwide. In 2004, Vince signed a 2 year first look producing deal with Dreamworks. Vince packaged and sold FLASH FORWARD, written and directed by David Goyer (The Dark Knight; Batman Begins; Blade) and co-written by Brannon Braga (Star Trek: The Next Generation; 24). Flash Forward was touted as ABC’s next “Lost” at the time of its inaugural release. Vince then packaged and sold the now renown GAME OF THRONES, HBO’s flagship series, their most successful of all time, based on the New York Times Bestselling series by George R.R. Martin. Many other high-end series projects are set up at key networks including FORGE OF GOD, being developed as a high profile 10 part limited series at FX and RED MARS, being adapted by J. Michael Strazcinski (WORLD WAR Z) at Spike. PLAY, an original concept of Vince’s is now being written by superstar comedy screenwriter Michael Bacall (21 JUMP STREET, PROJECT X), and an eight year portion of Vince’s life is being developed as a series for Direct TV under the title ICE, about the diamond trade in Los Angeles.


As writer, Vince has sold DEMON PRINCES based on the series by legendary science fiction writer Jack Vance to Paul Allen’s Vulcan, CLEAN, a pilot for NBC which he co-wrote with Ron Bass and THE RIVIERA, an original idea of Vince’s which he co-wrote with Jeff Vintar, to be directed by Louis Leterrier (CLASH OF THE TITANS, NOW YOU SEE ME) now slated for straight to series production through Canada’s eOne for an unidentifiable high-end cable network. Vince has founded the world’s first global benefit corporation called changetheworld, inc.


Rickard Gramfors

New Visions Juror

Rickard Gramfors Project manager, film historian, DVD company CEO, journalist, musician


Background: film studies at Stockholm University. 16 years at the Swedish Film Institute; film archive, program officer at the Cinematheque, project manager for the Centenary of Cinema, head of the international department, CEO of the SFI publishing company, manager of the EU MEDIA programme in Sweden.


I have been editor-in-chief of two Swedish film magazines – Chaplin and Total Film. I was also the CEO of Sweden’s first video-on-demand-company.


Since ten years, in charge of the event cinema scheme ”Live på bio” at the Swedish organization Folkets Hus och Parker (FHP), distributing live broadcasts in HD quality and 5.1 surround sound to 180 Swedish cinemas, now expanding into Norway, Finland and Denmark. Live broadcasts in cinemas of opera, concerts, theatre, ballet, art, and more (co-operations include the Metropolitan Opera, New York, the Bolshoi Ballet, Moscow, National Theatre, London and the Berlin Philharmonics). Responsible for the event cinema content, rights negotiations, programming and presentation of the content. FHP is the market leader for event cinema in Scandinavia.


I am also the CEO of Swedish DVD distribution company/film club/film archive/research outfit Klubb Super 8. We have released 70 vintage Swedish exploitation/cult movies on DVD – from early Ingmar Bergman films to Swedish sex education films from the 60’s to Terror in the Midnight Sun…

Klubb Super 8 has a vast collection of international exploitation films (some 300 titles on 35mm and 16mm) in genres like horror, sci-fi, martial arts, spaghetti westerns, blaxploitation, sexploitation and mondo movies. We also hold a collection of approximately 5,000 vintage film posters.


As part of my Klubb Super 8 work, I’m also acting as manager for Swedish exploitation film star Christina Lindberg, famous for her role in Thriller – a Cruel Picture, one of the chief inspirations to Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill films. I have travelled with Ms. Lindberg to some twenty international film conventions and festivals during the last 10 years.


I also play the bass and write songs for the Swedish heavy metal band Father & Son. The band recently released a new album - Unholy Ghost - and one of the songs is featured in Adrián García Bogliano’s latest Mecixan film, the black comedy/thriller Scherzo Diabolico.


Dan Guando

Executive Vice President Weinstein, Acquisitions, Distribution & Development | Mentor for Screenwriters Program

Dan Guando is Senior Vice President of Acquisitions and Development at The Weinstein Company, where he has worked for over ten years. During his time at TWC, Dan has overseen the acquisition of THE ARTIST, BLUE VALENTINE, THE TILLMAN STORY, SARAH'S KEY, SUBMARINE, CORIOLANUS, UNDEFEATED, BULLY, QUARTET, THE SAPPHIRES,  CAROL, WOMAN IN GOLD and many more titles.

Matthew Helderman

co-CEO Buffalo 8 Productions and Bondit | Mentor for Screenwriters Program

Matthew Helderman 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.

Elizabeth Hunter

Producer & Writer | Mentor for Screenwriters Program

Elizabeth Hunter earned her Bachelors Degree with Honors from Stanford University and her Masters Degree from Cornell. 


Hunter began her executive career as an intern in the Walt Disney Company feature creative group and eventually rose to the position of Director of Development at Universal Pictures where she shepherded several films through production including, “Apollo 13,” “Clockers,” “Crooklyn” and “Twelve Monkeys.”  Hunter left the studio executive ranks to write.  Paramount Pictures and MTV films produced her first screenplay, “The Fighting Temptations.”  The script earned her a spot on The Daily Variety’s prestigious “Ten Screenwriters to Watch” list. 


Since then, Hunter has written and produced on many television staffs including, “ER,” “The L Word,” and “Charmed.”  She wrote Lifetime’s “Sins of the Mother,” which won an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Television Movie and “Abducted: The Carlina White Story,” which earned Hunter an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Writing - Television Movie, and a Humanitas Award nomination.  Hunter also wrote the story for “Beauty Shop,” and conceived, co-wrote and produced “Jumping the Broom.”  She is currently writing projects for Lifetime, Lionsgate and VH-1.


Elizabeth Hunter served on the Writers Guild of America/W board, is a Trustee of the Junior Statesmen Foundation and spokes-modeled for the Avon Breast Cancer walks and Los Angeles County Museum of Art.  She is married to filmmaker Jordan Walker-Pearlman.

Kate Perotti

Producer | Spirit Of Freedom Juror

CEO of Edendale Pictures LLC. Kate Perotti works in both NY and LA, continues to be integrally involved in cutting edge films, photography, mixed media, art and commerce. Called a “creative powerhouse” by UK FastMedia Magazine she is first and foremost a vision-oriented innovator who is willing to take risks, work with dogged perseverance, determination and generosity of spirit at each level. In production, she has worked in nearly every position behind the camera.

MOMz Hot ROCKs was Kate's first documentary feature which previewed at the Jacob Burns Film Center in NY as part of the Celebrating Women Filmmakers Series, won the Audience Award at the Rhode Island International Film Festival, won "Most Entertaining Documentary" at Doc'Miami, was invited as one of five Americans to ZagrebDox and was LA Weekly’s “Pick of the Week” when it screened as part of Jerry Fialka’s Documental Series. The film is partly responsible for adding “momrock” to the Urban Dictionary. MHR was also one of five films on the first slate of K-5 International’s short- lived label K-5 Independent at the Berlinale and Cannes. Praised by Gloria Steinem, it is receiving a Go-Go ReBoot for digital distribution.

Kate is a Los Angeles Emmy award winning documentarian as Cinematographer on Community of Caring, produced by the DGA Women’s Steering Committee and Santa MonicaTV for local and national non-profit organizations such as Habitat for Humanity.

Kate was an NEA recipient for an early digital public TV show called All About Madonna. She has given DIY workshops at Art Center, Pasadena and the LA Women’s Music Festival.

Billboard Magazine wrote about “community activist,” Kate Perotti when she produced a benefit music compilation, Schooloaf: Everything but the Crust Vol. 1, with original tracks by Flea, Ann Magnuson and eighteen local bands for Hilltop Nursery School in Silver Lake. It was voted one of the top ten albums of the year by Yeah Yeah magazine. As Executive Producer of track “Something to Brag About,” by Exene Cervenka and Stone Fox, it won Best Video at SXSW. The song was also second in Billboard’s New Song list, the video debuted and was featured on MTV News.

Kate has a BA cum laude in philosophy / art history / romance language and literature from Boston College. Kate attended Ecole Superiére des Beaux Arts in Paris, France for sculpture and later earned an MFA in Live Action/Experimental Film/Video from CalArts, where she produced their first ever digital graduate thesis project, Kardia Ton Cosmos which won acclaim at Taos Talking Pictures.

Ode was one of the first Pixelvision shorts made and was featured in PXL 10. In the nascence of digital video, Kate was a beta tester for Radius VideoVision and Apple digital video platforms. At Criterion Collection and its related Voyager Company, she collaborated with archivist Rick Prelinger on Call it Home: History of Suburbia amongst other classic film titles including the 50th Anniversary release of Citizen Kane. Kate was live action coordinator at Rhythm & Hues, LA and did special effects for SFX, NY. While living in Iceland, she received acclaim for a large multi media installation with local artists (and borrowed an amp from Bjork herself) for the national Digital Media Symposium.

In the late eighties, when the Living Theater returned to NYC after years of exile, Kate’s first job was both Stage Manager and Photographer. Legendary Judith Malina and Hannon Reznikov were company directors at the time. Their community-oriented philosophy continues to influence her work.

As entrepreneur, Kate created and sold original products and websites to finance her filmmaking. One product LoveHoney has its own Wikipedia page.

Kate is assembling a slate of films to seek financing at the 2015 Cannes Film Market including an untitled George Clinton project and another by longtime Indie darling Tom DICillo. Kate is honored to be working with critically acclaimed filmmakers Nina Menkes, Mike S. Ryan and Gus Van Sant on packaging both HEATSTROKE and MINOTAUR for international co-production and theatrical release. 

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