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Bahamas Fest Debuts in December

Nassau, Bahamas - The sunny Caribbean nation of the Bahamas will become the latest addition to the festival circuit when it launches the inaugural Bahamas International Film Festival in December. The fest, which will run from Dec. 9-12 on the island of Nassau, aims to entice the international film industry with the nation's many charms as the Bahamas tries to position itself as a hot location for feature productions.

The country might be new to fllmmaking, but two high-profile projects — Brett Ratner's action comedy "After the Sunset," star ring Pierce Brosnan, Salma Hayek and Woody Harrelson, and John Stockwell's diving drama "Into the Blue"—recently wrapped shoots in the Bahamas. Billy Zane starrer "Three" is set to begin production there in the coming months. Construction has already begun on a $75 million film studio on the island of Freeport to accommodate the expected demand.

The Bahamas' ministry of tourism, which also runs the country's 61m commission, is the main financial force behind the new festival, but festival executive director Leslie Vanderpool also has attracted a number of high-profile corporate sponsors, including U.S. Airways and British Airways, Dell computers and the Hard Rock Cafe. Santa Barbara International Film Festival executive director, Jon Fitzgerald, and former Palm Springs Festival executive director. Mitch Levine, acted as consultants to the Bahamas event.

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