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Entertainment : Bahamas International Film Festival Last Updated: May 7, 2015 - 7:57:38 AM

BIFF expands educational program with help from Sandyport Beach Resort
By Serena Williams
Dec 1, 2016 - 12:01:00 PM

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Sandyport Beach Resort Desk Attendant Tonya Newry welcomes Leslie Vanderpool, Founder and CEO of BIFF and Jillian Hall, Film Program Manager at New Orleans Video Access Center who is leading a series of workshops on film for the festival.

Nassau, Bahamas -The Bahamas International Film Festival (BIFF) is expanding its public film workshop this year with a little help from award-winning Sandyport Beach Resort. The Resort is hosting international film-maker and instructor Jillian Hall of the New Orleans Video Access Center as she works with BIFF for three weeks of workshops on film-making and editing for the Bahamian public.

“I am so glad to be here, 3 weeks in the Bahamas is pretty dreamy,” said Ms. Hall. “The Bahamas has such beautiful people and it’s a beautiful country. I love staying at Sandyport Beach Resort. This is a wonderful location and is perfect for my needs. The rooms are quiet and private so I can get the work that I need done to prep for the workshops. Also, I am surrounded by beautiful nature right at my doorstep; I have walked across to the beach and its gorgeous, I couldn’t imagine a more ideal place to be staying.”

At the invitation of BIFF, Ms. Hall is in Bahamas leading five workshops over the three weeks, working with a mixture of high school, middle school, and BTVI students as well as a public workshop series held on weekends. Participants are walked through the three major stages of film-making: pre-production and planning where they will learn scripting and story boarding; filming and cinematography; and editing, where the participants will be introduced to editing software. At the end of the three weeks the program expects to have generated at least five local films.

Ms. Hall, who runs similar film education workshops says that programs like this are important for building skills in young people and developing the creative community.

“I think there are more ways than ever before to tap into content creation. The equipment is more affordable and there are more platforms for storytelling. So, I think it’s a powerful thing for people to learn the skills and to tell their own story for cultural preservation and personal and community empowerment. However, learning these skills also has direct benefits for employment. More and more we these skillsets in the workforce not only in film but also in advertising and publicity. All industries are now expected to create content as part of their promotional campaign. It’s another career path.”

The series of workshops are a part of the lead up to the 13th Annual Bahamas International Film Festival which will be held on December 5 -11, 2016. Festival founder Leslie Vanderpool said that this year is a landmark year for the program.

“We started doing the film workshops in 2005 and it is really interesting how it has grown. This is our first year expanding it to 3 weeks because we want to make sure that students and participants learn all the aspects of filmmaking and editing. For the film festival it is very important to encourage and inspire Bahamian filmmakers and to educate the Bahamian people. We will also be having a costume and makeup panel so local makeup artists, stylists and designers can learn how to break into the industry in that capacity. So we are diversifying all of the programs to fit the Bahamian audience.”

Ms. Vanderpool stated that making film and the festival accessible is high priority for BIFF and she thanked sponsors for helping to make that possible.

“This will be a huge celebratory year for the world of cinema in the Bahamas and BIFF is an event everyone can come to at just $4. It is the people’s festival! It is wonderful to know that we have persons and companies out there that support the arts such as Sandyport Beach Resort. Thanks to all of our wonderful partners we can put on these programs and highlight the Bahamas and all of the great talent in the country. We are really excited for what this year will bring.”

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