A Guide to Caribbean Film Festivals

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[Many thanks to Peter Jordens for bringing this item to our attention.] Dan Mirvish and Emilie Upczak (Filmmaker Magazine) offer detailed summaries of a variety of Caribbean film festivals. Although by no means an exhaustive list—with two examples each from Barbados and the Bahamas, but none from Puerto Rico or Jamaica, for example)—the article sheds light on a fairly broad selection, offering “insider” tips.

It includes the Bahamas International Film Festival (Bahamas), the Barbados Independent Film Festival (Barbados), the Barbados Visual Media Film Festival (Barbados), Belize International Film Festival (Belize), Festival Internacional del Nuevo Cine Latinoamericano (Cuba), Nouveaux Regards: Festival D’un Autre Cinema en Caraïbes (Guadeloupe), Panama International Film Festival (Panama), Rencontres Cinéma Martinique (Martinique), The Island House Film Festival (Bahamas), and the Trinidad + Tobago Film Festival (Trinidad and Tobago).

At the end of the article, they also provide links to Third Horizon Festival Miami, Curaçao International Film Festival, FEMI Guadeloupe, Green Screen Environmental Film Festival (Trinidad and Tobago), Animae Caribe Animation and Digital Media Festival (Trinidad and Tobago), Dominican Republic Global Film Festival, St. Barth Film Festival, Timehri Film Festival Guyana, Bermuda Film Festival, and Festival Internacional de Cine de Cartagena de Indias (Colombia). Mirvish and Upczak write:

Whether you’re still defrosting your nether-regions from waiting in line for a Park City shuttle, or sitting in your Bushwick studio apartment eating ramen and surviving the polar vortex, you could probably use a little time on a tropical rum-soaked beach right about now. With all the indie-film attention focused on Sundance/Slamdance (not to mention the chilly, angst-ridden fests in Rotterdam and Berlin), it’s worth remembering that there is an entire circuit of film festivals ringed around the Caribbean Sea. From internationally revered fests like Havana that focus on the biggest Latin American cinema premieres to new local upstarts in Barbados, Bahamas and other islands that support regional filmmaking from a unique cultural perspective, there’s a festival for everyone! And for industry execs and entertainment journalists looking for truly diverse new voices, the Caribbean circuit is the place to find them.

The good news is because of their remoteness, many of these festivals will pay for at least the feature filmmakers, jurors and sometimes other industry-types to fly there, and most will put you up, often in resort hotels just steps away from the beach (and if they don’t put you up, just sleep on the beach). [. . .]

Between the two of us, we’ve covered most of these fests one way or another: Emilie’s recent film, Moving Parts (which was filmed in Trinidad) has been playing on this circuit, and Emilie was the Artistic Director at the Trinidad + Tobago Film Festival for many years. Dan’s recent film Bernard and Huey had its Caribbean Premiere in Barbados, and his film Between Us won the Grand Jury Award at the Bahamas. He’s also been on festival juries and done workshops at fests in Trinidad + Tobago, Barbados, the Bahamas and Belize.

For detailed descriptions of the 10 festivals mentioned above, see: https://filmmakermagazine.com/107038-a-guide-to-caribbean-film-festivals

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