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.   

NEW VISIONS

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

Sponsored by Source, University Of Georgia, Hope Town Harbour Lodge, Hope Town Inn & Marina and Hope Town Coffee House

Screenwriters will be mentored by industry professionals and judged for a Grand Jury Cash Prize in Harbour Island.


 

Ian Bethell Bennett

Theorist, Poet & Photographer | Short Film Juror

Born in New Providence and raised around the colonial world, Tony is connected to Caribbean spaces and agency as a peoples of migration, displacement and creole connectivity and creativity. He has worked with Caribbean islands, mainlands and identities repeating across time and space through Benitez-Rojo’s work as well as works of Edouard Glissant, Aime Cesaire in postcolonial studies to inform his understanding of colonialism in Caribbean experiences left after the end of direct colonial rule.  

Tony's themes are photography, poetry, creative non-fiction and critical essays. His creative, academic and critical work has focused on moving beyond time-bound understandings of space, agency, time and the limited agency of sexualised subjectivity.  Currently his work focuses on traversing The Bahamas through the concept of “For Export” as a resident member at The Current Art Gallery at Baha Mar.  

Dara Cohen

Producer | Writer Residency / Grand Jury

Dara Cohen is an executive with 20 plus years of experience in development, production and programming. Her experience in the Film, TV, Music and Digital/Social Media industries provide a unique perspective and approach to maximizing creative options, outlets and strategic partnerships when creating original content. She has cultivated strong working relationships with writers/directors/producers, agencies/management/production companies, and networks/studios/financiers. Executive Experience • A+E Studios Maker Studios  Island/Def Jam Records Revolution Studios SyFy Channel USA Network Red Hour Films The Mark Gordon Company.  

Dara has been a voting member of BAFTA since 2005.

Roger Corman

Producer, Writer, Director | Writers Mentor

Roger Corman is an American director, producer, and actor. He has been called "The Pope of Pop Cinema" and is known as a trailblazer in the world of independent film. ... In 2009, he was awarded an Honorary Academy Award "for his rich engendering of films and filmmakers."

More on Roger Corman

Julie Corman

Producer, Writer | Writers Mentor

Julie Corman is a producer, known for Rebel Highway (1994), A Cry in the Wild (1990) and The Lady in Red (1979). She was the chair of the graduate film program at NYU at turn of the century and since been giving seminars in screenwriting at Yale, several Japanese Universities and around the world. Julie has also taught courses in screenwriting/creative writing at NYU.   She has been married to Roger  Corman. More on Julie Coman

Antonio D' Intino

Literary Manager | Writers Mentor / Grand Jury

 

Antonio was born and raised in rural Ohio and attended Columbia College Chicago. After stints at Gale Anne Hurd’s Valhalla Entertainment and Principato-Young Entertainment he landed at APA in the feature literary department working with clients like Mike Flanagan and John Carpenter which continued to solidify his love of genre filmmakers. After nearly three years he left APA to join Jeremy Platt as he launched Plattform. Assembling a roster with a focus on the unique and left-of-center, he also assisted in the development of studio projects like DEATH NOTE and the TV series HAP & LEONARD. He helped manage Plattform’s first look deal with Amazon Studios.

 

In 2018 he moved to Circle of Confusion, which represent clients Michael Dougherty, Lana and Lilly Wachowski and Robert Kirkman among many others. Among  Circle’s producing credits are THE WALKING DEAD, OUTCAST and DIRK GENTLY’S HOLISTIC DETECTIVE AGENCY. Antonio’s clients work across film and television, selling shows to Apple, Universal TV, eOne among others and their films have been recognized by numerous organizations and festivals including The Nicholl Fellowship, Cannes, Sundance and SXSW.

 

Circle of Confusion is a premiere management and production destination for exceptional actors, writers, directors, content creators, publishers and journalists. Circle is active in creating a broad spectrum of television series and feature films, and specializes in the discovery of original, unique and compelling voices.  We proudly support diverse artists from all backgrounds and actively encourage creative freedom. With offices in Los Angeles and New York, Circle of Confusion serves clients and productions throughout the world.

Alessandra De Tommasi

Journalist | Short Film Juror

Alessandra De Tommasi has been a freelancer for almost 20 years for currently more than 20 outlets (print, online, radio and tv, included Vanity Fair, Vogue, GQ, Wired, Glamour and Corriere della sera, the oldest newspaper in Italy). She is the author of five books for kids edited by Disney Libri and Giunti.


Before the age of two she was able to recite a poem and given the nickname “Lady No”. At 13 she wrote an historical novel about the southern insurgency and brigandage anti-sabaude in the south of Italy. As a journalism school graduate summa cum laude, she obtains a professional press card and it was official: her passion had been turned in a job. 

 

CATCH ME IF YOU CAN was her the first press conference with Steven Spielberg, Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks. Alessandra became an entertainment freelancer journalist and also worked at a press officer at CEN in Bari, Pope Benedict XVI’s first public visit.

 

She worked for publisher Press Factory, became managing editor and correspondent for Telefilm Magazine, the first Italian magazine about TV series, also the official magazine of Accademia dei Telefilm, founder of the first Italian tv series festival, called Telefilm Festival in Milan. In addition Alessandra started a partnership with Giffoni Film Festival, as an external counselor for the kids’s festival press office and while in Rome continuing as a freelancer journalist, traveling the world, being a press juror for several festivals.

 

Alessandra has been chosen as a member of fiction precommitted jury for Monte-Carlo TV Fest in Monaco. She does not know what the future holds, however her biggest wish is to keep discovering the world and writing about her travels and for this reason in 2019 she has started her entertainment blog, Airquotes.it.

Maria Govan

Writer, Director | Bahamian Writers Mentor

Maria Govan is of Greek, Bahamian and Scottish decent, Maria was raised on the small island of New Providence in the Bahamas. In her twenties she spent four years in Los Angeles working in production before returning home to make small, guerilla-style, local documentaries of her own. A decade of such listening and hands on work, shaped her foundation. Her first narrative feature film Rain, staring CCH Pounder and Irma P Hall, was shot in the Bahamas, and in 2008 premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. Having won numerous awards internationally, Rain, was licensed to Showtime Networks, and distributed by RLJ Entertainment.

 

Maria’s second feature, Play the Devil, was one of three films to be awarded a significant grant from Creative TT, a government arm in support of the creative arts in Trinidad and Tobago, and was shot entirely in Trinidad in the spring of 2015. The film was selected for the Caribbean spotlight at Ventana Sur, a film market in Buenos Aires, and also selected for Primera Mirada at IFFP (Panama). Play the Devil 

premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival in June, 2016 and has had garnered great success on the festival circuit. Breaking Glass is now distributing Play the Devil worldwide. In February of 2018, a new chapter began in Maria’s career, when Ava Duvernay hired her to direct the episode “No Haven In My Shadow,” from the scripted series Queen Sugar. That episode aired on the OWN network on June 20th, 2018.

 

Govan, now represented by Circle of Confusion, is currently pursuing further directing jobs in television, while also developing her own television series entitled, Brooklyn Uchedeshi - My Life in a Dojo and her next feature film Epiphany.  She is also writing a television pilot for Westward Ho Productions and Archery Pictures in the UK.

 

Nate Kohn

Producer | Writers Mentor

Dr. Nate Kohn is professor at the University of Georgia, Associate Director of the George Foster Peabody Awards, festival director of Roger Ebert's Film Festival, director of the University of Georgia MFA program in screenwriting and award-winning producer. Dr. Kohn produced Zulu Dawn starring Burt Lancaster and Peter O’Toole; the independent feature Somebodies, which premiered at Sundance (2006); Rain, the Bahamas’ first indigenous feature which premiered at Toronto (2007) and on Showtime (2010); the feature film Bottleworld (2010); he was Executive Producer on the BET television series Somebodies (2008); he was Producer on the feature length documentary Bayou Maharajah that premiered at the SXSW Festival (2013); and he was Executive Producer on The 73rd, 74th  and 75th Annual Peabody Awards Specials for PivotTV/Participant Media (2014, 2015 and 2016).  He has served on juries and mentored screenwriters at the Atlanta, Hawaii, Kerala, Hot Springs and Bahamas International Film Festivals. He is a board member of the Arkansas Cinema Society.  And he is the author of numerous scholarly articles and of the book Pursuing Hollywood: Seduction, Obsession, Dread (AltaMira Press, 2006). 

Alfred Lenarciak

Writer | Grand Jury

Canadian from Montreal, permanent resident of Nassau, Bahamas for over 20 years. Alfred has degrees in engineering and finance were the platform that allowed him to invest and work all over the world over the span of 30 years.

For the last decade, Alfred has been developing Borgo Ferri, the ancestral estate of his wife Barbara in Southern Italy, including the Baronial Palace Ferri-Lenarciak adapted to creative literature and art house.

At age of sixty he decided to devote his time publishing stories based of his life experience. Up to now, he published 6 novels distributed in more than 40 countries and has an upcoming book to be released soon.

One of these novels inspired the movie “Gold”, released in 2018. Beside literary engagement, he loves cinema, attended and participated in several international film festivals in Canada and Italy.

In 2015 he has been granted honor of Cavaliere San Silvestro (Saint Sylvester Pope’s Knight) and in 2019 awarded the Silver Cross of Merit.

 

Jib Polhemus

Producer | Writers Mentor

Mr.  Polhemus  has worked in the entertainment business for over 20 years. He recently founded the literary management company,  source   |   management   +   production  where he represents writers and directors. In addition, he is President of Simon West Productions where he produces Film and TV with British director, Simon West (Con Air, Tomb Raider, Expendables 2).  

 

As President of Simon West Productions, he has developed and sold numerous high profile projects to Warner Brothers, Universal, Fox, Paramount, Sony and others including BLACK HAWK DOWN directed by Ridley Scott.  

 

Currently he s producing The Blacklist script ,  THE LAST SON OF ISAAC LEMAY , written by Greg Johnson  starring Sam Worthington (Avatar) and ZONE #414 directed by Andrew Baird and starring Guy Pearce.

 

He just finished producing LEGEND HUNTERS for Wanda Studios (released in 2020).  In 2018 he Produced SKYFIRE for Meridian and BaseMedia (released in late 2019).  In 2017, he Produced GUN SHY starring Antonio Banderas and Olga Kurylenko and Executive Produced STRATTON starring Dominic Cooper and Connie Nielsen.  Previously, he Executive Produced WILD CARD starring Jason Statham and Stanley Tucci for Lionsgate.  H e  C o- Produced blockbuster EXPENDABLES 2, starring Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, and Executive Produced STOLEN starring Nicolas Cage.  In 2011, he co-produced The MECHANIC, starring Jason Statham and Ben Foster, and also Associate Produced Paramount s mega-blockbuster LARA CROFT: TOMB RAIDER, starring Angelina Jolie.

 

In television, he has developed and sold shows to most of the top networks including CBS, NBC, FOX, ABC, FX, TNT and WB. He is currently developing shows for e1, Lionsgate, ABC and Fox 21.

 

In his free time, Mr. Polhemus is on the advisory board of The  Bahamas International Film Festival , lectures for the Columbia College of Chicago (LA) and judges UCLA s Masters Screenplay Writing Program. He resides in Los Angeles, CA .


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