Events and movie screenings for the seventh annual Belize International Film Festival commenced on Friday, July 13, 2012, with the Red Carpet Gala at the Bliss Center in Belize City. Red carpet arrivals, a cocktail reception and the screening of the “Curse of the Xtabai” (filmed entirely in Belize), among other short films highlighted the evening. Screenings and gala events were not confined to Belize City, as San Ignacio, Orange Walk and San Pedro held special movie viewing and parties to celebrate the film festival.
The Paradise Theater was host to the screening of “The Exquisite Corpse Project” here in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, on Saturday, July 14, where the Belize Film festival highlighted the work of director Ben Popik. The green carpet was rolled out for guests who came to view and support Ben Popik’s award-winning documentary-comedic film.
The film was a total success among the viewers as it had everybody in the theater laughing out loud and enjoying some great scenes and friendly faces from the island. Director Ben Popik is a native of New York now living in San Pedro with his wife; they own Island Film which is a full service, HD video production company. His work includes productions with the Discovery Channel, his own company Olde English Comedy and he has been producing/editing/writing comedies and films for television for over eight years now. The Exquisite Corpse Project is his first feature length film that has already received great reviews and awards at various film festivals in the U.S.
The Exquisite Corpse Project is the first of its kind crossover comedy, where director Ben Popik brings together five comedy writers and surprises them with a challenge that involves each to write fifteen pages of a move. The twist is that they only get to read the previous five pages of the script. They agree with one stipulation: if they write the movie, he has to make it. It is a comedy, a love story, a phsycho-sexual thriller and a supernatural adventure all in one. Meanwhile, documentary footage of the writing process provides an inside look into the often-hilarious creative process, as well as the group dynamics that make collaboration between friends difficult.
Ben’s film has picked up the Audience Choice Award at the Dances with Films Festival is Los Angeles, California and Best Documentary and Best Director awards at LA’s New Wave Festival. Ben says that they are now working on doing a national tour throughout the US in the next few months as well as having the film available online for viewing. After all the promotion and work for this, his latest work, Ben stated that he would like to work on a new project that will be filmed entirely in Belize. So we can expect more great work from this talented artist who calls Belize his home and has intentions of promoting the cinematic arts in the country and promote them internationally.
Following the screening of The Exquisite Corpse Project, the film festival attendants moved to the Mayan-themed After Party that was hosted at Caprice Bar and Grill at the Holiday Hotel. There the mood got all happy as delicious food and drinks were served while everybody got the opportunity to meet Ben and his wife Joanna.
The Belize International Film Festival is in its seventh year, which has become an annual event that many are looking forward to. This year the Festival received a record number of films from all over the world that included over 120 submissions spanning over the categories: Feature Length Narrative, Feature Length Documentary, Short Narrative, Short Documentary, Short Animation, and Music Video. The official selection boasts 64 featured films from 24 different nations including Belize, Trinidad and Tobago and the USA, who all submitted the most films to be a part of this year’s festival.
In addition, for the first time ever, a Belizean feature length movie opened the festival, “2012: Kurse A Di Xtabai” produced by Make-Belize Films. The film is directed by Canadian Matthiew Klinck and features an all Belizean cast, including: Nehanda Higinio, Jim Arnold, and Robert Grieg. It was filmed entirely on location in Belize and in Belize Kriol (Creole).
The 7th Edition of this culture centric Caribbean/Central America based fusion film festival has brought top world films and filmmakers together for 5 days in Belize. This year's festivities included a tribute to indigenous films and especially those that revolve around the theme of the Mayas. The International Belize Film Festival continued on through Tuesday, July 17, when the closing and awards presentation takes place at the Government House/HOC in Belize City. (Visit the Festival’s official website to learn more)
San Pedro Mayor, Daniel Guerrero, welcomes guests at the Paradise Theater at the screening of The Exquisite Corpse Project