The Bahamas International Film Festival announced Tuesday that the indie dramas Children of God and Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ By Sapphire will open and close its sixth annual festival, which runs Dec. 10-17 on Paradise Island and Nassau. Children of God was written, directed and produced by Bahamian filmmaker Kareem Mortimer, who shot the film locally in Nassau and Eleuthera. As the fest’s opening-night film, Children of God (originally titled “Daybreak”) will screen at the Atlantis Theatre on Paradise Island on Dec. 11. “The film is a subtle and haunting look at race, sexuality and religion in the Bahamas, which makes it a very timely and important film and also an extremely gorgeous one to look at,” Mortimer said. “We are very proud of this effort, and to open at the Bahamas International Film Festival is a dream come true.”
Precious, written by Geoffrey Fletcher and directed by Lee Daniels, will screen Dec. 17 at the Galleria JFK.
“It is important to recognize a film such as Children of God, which was mentored at the BIFF Filmmaker Residency Program two years before,” festival founder and executive director Leslie Vanderpool said. “It is truly a discovery. BIFF’s closing-night film Precious has been a buzz throughout the year. This highly anticipated film will gain so much excitement among the Bahamian and international community upon its release.”
Vanderpool added: “Some have said that BIFF has come a long way in five years, as films with homosexual subject matter or abuse would have been prevented from being shown publicly. BIFF wants to get these conversations going.”
Children of God, which follows a struggling white artist and a conservative religious woman trying to escape the prejudices of Nassau, stars Van Brown, Johnny Ferro, Mark Ford, Margaret Kemp and Stephen Tyrone Williams. Precious, which Lionsgate opened last week in the U.S., stars Gabourey Sidibe, Mo’Nique, Paula Patton and Mariah Carey in the story of an abused Harlem girl looking for a way out of a miserable situation.
The Festival will also honor actress Sophie Okonedo (nominated for a best supporting actress Oscar for Hotel Rwanda and most recently in Skins) with its Rising Star Award. Okonedo will receive the award in a special awards ceremony December 16 in Nassau. Vanderpool said the following in a press release: “Having Sophie Okonedo as the 2009 BIFF Rising Star honoree could not be any more perfect. She is one of the most talented and gracious actresses on screen today. We know the Bahamian community will embrace her and help us celebrate her past, current and, most certainly, future success. As anyone who has seen Sophie’s collection of feature film performances can attest, her star is most definitely one on a meteoric rise.”
For more on the festival go to http://www.bintlfilmfest.com/