It was a packed house that the Paradise Theatre during the final day of screening the movie “Di Kurse a di Xtabai” (The Curse of the Xtabai), as the Belizean production managed to capture the attention of movie goers and lure them into watching the tale of a very prominent folkloric character of Belizean culture.
The theater maxed out in capacity for the first time since its opening and director of the movie, Matthiew Klinck, could not have been more ecstatic with the response his movie received here in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye. Di Kurse of the Xtabai was featured on both Friday, August 17 and Saturday, August 18 with two showings at 7p.m. and 9p.m. on both days. Word got out during the first day about how great the movie was and then residents flocked to the theater on Saturday to catch the movie about this mystical character which is the Xtabai. Planning of future screenings for the movie at the Paradise Theater are in the works for those who missed it this first time around.
Producer Director Matthiew Klinck with Horacio Louis Guerrero, film promoter at Paradise Theater
Part of the draw of the movie is that it tells the story of such an iconic folkloric cultural character which all Belizeans can identify with. In the movie the Xtabai unleashes her curse into the village of San Antonio by infecting its inhabitants with a terrible and deadly fever. A team of students set out to escape and rid the village of the Xtabai by performing three sacred tasks deep into the bowels of the Maya underworld.
“I am beyond happy with the turnout and support from the residents of San Pedro,” commented director Matthiew Klinck to Ambergris Today. “This gives me the motivation to continue working in Belize, filming more movies and working on developing the movie industry in the country.”
And it’s not only the movie industry that Klinck is trying to develop in the country, but also in making Belize the hub of movie development in the region.
Matthiew explained that Make-Belize Films came about to existence in December 2011 as a group of students were transforming old trucks and scrap metal into filming equipment. As a producer, Matthiew was intrigued by this and learnt that the students didn’t even own a camera and yet were building such equipment. And so he began working with the group, training them and brining filming equipment to show all what is involved in the cinema arts.
With the Belize Film Festival approaching, Matthiew decided to test the waters and make a Belizean production with all-Belizean cast and crew. A total of 65 Belizeans part took in the filming of the movie, some of which had never acted before. And so the film first premiered at the Belize Film Festival in July and has been seen in other parts of the country.
“We are currently testing the market in the country; the support of the local communities is very telling whether or not the film will have potential in the international market,” commented Matthiew to Ambergris Today. “Make-Belize Films is currently working on two more productions a ‘prison drama’ and a ‘comedy film’. We are very excited and want to make all kinds of movies from love, drama, action and adventure.”
According to Matthiew, with Belize’s diversity in speaking so many languages such as Creole, English and Spanish, he believes that it will be quite easy to have movies seen in Latin America, the Caribbean and the US. He also commented that Belize has much raw talent and loves the eagerness of the people to want to get involved in filmmaking.
“I want to take Make-Belize Films to a national and international level. I know many producers and have lots of contacts in the filming industry and I know that Belize has a lot of potential in the filming industry,” stated Matthiew. “Anyone wishing to join Make-Belize Films is more than welcome to do so; we need musicians, painters, actors, script writers and much more.”
Cast and working crew of the film Curse of the Xtabai