FLIFF on Location: Grand Bahama Island
FLIFF On Location: Grand Bahama wraps 3rd year with record number of Bahamian films
By The Bahamas Weekly News Team
Nov 8, 2013 - 4:08:32 PM

Visiting FLIFF filmmakers along with organizers of the 4 day film festival gather for a group shot at Pelican Bay Hotel. Photo: David Mackey /

Freeport, Bahamas - The 3rd annual FLIFF On Location: Grand Bahama Island film festival wrapped up on Sunday, November 3rd at the Pelican Bay Hotel.  The film festival is an offshoot of FLIFF, the international festival which runs in Fort Lauderdale from October 18th through November 11th. Each year the founder, Gregory von Hausch invites a handful of international filmmakers over to Grand Bahama for the 4-day 'On Location' event to screen along with Bahamian films in the open, college and high school categories. Aside from films, this year's event provided informative film workshops led by visiting filmmakers, including Ian Strachan from Nassau.  International FLIFF guests were also given an island locations familiarization tour in hopes to encourage future film locations.

Actress Joelle Carter was this year's FLIFF Star on the Horizon honouree; and in her company was the legendary drive-in cult classics filmmaker, William Grefe; film actor, director, Diego de la Texera from Puerto Rico;  directors, Jayce and Tiffany Bartok; film distributors, Scott Mansfield and Jere Rae-Mansfield of monterey media; and naturalist and underwater photographer, Jonathan Bird.

"FLIFF On Location: Grand Bahama was unforgettable! The hospitality, atmosphere and unique experience will be one we remember forever. As filmmakers, we seldom are allowed to decompress and relax in order to find our creativity again, and this is exactly what happened when we landed in the Bahamas with other like-minded individuals. We established lifelong friendships and learned from the local filmmakers and our hosts. We will not soon forget the generosity that was displayed." - Tiffany Bartok, producer/director

Kareem Mortimer won in the Bahamas Open Category for his film PASSAGE and is seen here with Craig Woods, Bahamas Film and Television Commissioner; and Betty Bethel, General Manager, Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Grand Bahama Photo: David Mackey /

This year's international films offered a rich selection of entertainment. Films featured were: A Perfect Man (Netherlands);  Jonathan Bird's Blue World series (USA);  Broche Del Oro (Puerto Rico);  Chasing Shakespeare (USA);  Free Ride (USA);  Girl on a Bicycle (France); Little One (South Africa);  Sammy 2: Escape from Paradise (USA); The Rocket (Laos); and They Came from a Swamp (USA), as well as a selection of foreign short films.

"FLIFF on Location in the Bahamas was the best film festival we've attended as it had the perfect balance of location, people and hospitality. It was great to see the Bahamas filmmaker competition and hear how it has grown over the past three years. The smiles on the faces of those at the wrap party were wonderful!" - Jonathan and Christine Bird / Jonathan Bird's Blue World

This year saw a significant increase in submissions from The Bahamas, proving that festivals such as this do nurture and encourage the growth of this industry. Two of the Bahamian filmmakers also traveled ti screen at FLIFF in Florida which is also significant for the country.

After the festival closing film, awards and congratulations were handed out by Craig Woods, Bahamas Film and Television Commissioner and Betty Bethel, General Manager,  Ministry of Tourism Grand Bahama to the following:

Open Category: Winner, Passage, directed by Kareem Mortimer; 2nd Place, Womanish Ways, directed by Marion Bethel; and 3rd Place, Crave, directed by Bruce Russell.

College Category: Winner, Rhythms of the Bahamas, Brittany Ambrister, College Of The Bahamas; 2nd place, Father May I , Sloan Smith, College Of The Bahamas; and 3rd place, Drip-Color My World , Aryana Joy Roberts, Full Sail University.

High School Category: Winner, Happy 40th Bahamas, George McInnes, Lucaya International School  2nd place, The Good Samaritan,  Joanne Petit Homme, Eight Mile Rock High School; and 3rd place, Jane Cartwright , Wiaja Hepburn, Eight Mile Rock High School.

George McInnes won in the Bahamas High School Film Competition for his film, HAPPY 40TH BAHAMAS and is seen here with his high school principal, Sharon Wilson, Lucaya International School (right) and Betty Bethel, General Manager, Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Grand Bahama (left). McInnes receives two round-trip tickets to Fort Lauderdale, complete with hotel accommodations and transportation to attend the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival; a $500.00 cash prize, and a trophy for placement in their school. Photo: David Mackey /

“My hope for Bahamian filmmaking is that people keep doing it, keep pushing the boundaries, and recognize the value in films,” said film commissioner, Craig Woods.

"'Three times is a charm' is most appropriate for this year's event as the wrap party on Sunday was symbolic of the growth of this event," said Bahamas tourism general manager, Betty Bethel. "Year 1 we crept, year 2  we took baby steps, and here we are at year 3, standing firmly on the discovery of young, talented Bahamian filmmakers, who will be the catalyst to re-introducing Grand Bahama Island to the world, as a sustainable movie destination."

Festival organizers wish to thank all those who came out to support the filmmakers and make the festival a success. There is no doubt that film development has the potential to enhance the local economy, and the Ministry of Tourism intends to build on the success of FLIFF and develop a formula that combines attracting film projects as well as leisure visitors to the island.  The increased number of local filmmakers and trained crew base present in Grand Bahama Island, and The Islands of the Bahamas, shines a favourable light to encourage more major and independent film projects.

FLIFF On Location is a collaboration between the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival, the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and Grand Bahama Island Tourism Board, and was made possible through the generous support of the Pelican Bay Hotel;; Mackey Media Ltd; Bahamas Celebration Cruises;  The Grand Bahama Port Authority Limited; Grand Bahama Island Tourism Board; FLIFF; and the Grand Bahama Ministry of Tourism.

The lovely Joelle Carter, American actor was the FLIFF 2013 Star on the Horizon honouree and was featured in the film, A PERFECT MAN. Photo: David Mackey /

More post-event remarks from the international FLIFF filmmakers:

"It's rare that a film festival can bring together such a wonderful group of international filmmakers in such a singularly beautiful place as Grand Bahama Island, but FLIFF On Location: Grand Bahama did just that. Intimate exchanges with Bahamian Filmmakers inspired and put into focus why we create. I look forward to my next visit back to Grand Bahama Island." - Jayce Bartok actor/writer/director, The Cake Eaters, Fall To Rise

"FLIFF on Grand Bahama was simply lovely. I was inspired by the Island and calmed by the laid back lifestyle. Mostly honored to be invited, and so grateful to have met so many creative artists. Thanks to Greg and Bonnie, The Ministry of Tourism, Terrance Roberts, Craig Woods and all involved for there efforts to keep independent film alive." - Joelle Carter, actor and FLIFF 2013 Star on the Horizon Honouree

"Perfection! Thank you for inviting us and showing us the wonderful hospitality of the Bahamian people. The Festival was a hugh success because of all of you." - Grace and William Grefe, director, THEY CAME FROM A SWAMP

"On behalf of Monterey Media and “Girl on a Bicycle” I wanted to extend my thanks and congratulations to the gracious Bahamian people. The beautiful Bahamas’ warm welcome was felt via our lovely accommodations at Pelican Bay Resort, colorful entertainment, thoughtful attendees and the most gracious of festival volunteers. We were honored to be included and share our comedy with a truly appreciative audience." - Jere Rae-Mansfield, CFO & Co-Managing Founder, monterey media inc

"It is the best festival in the world!!!! Thanks to all for an unforgettable sojourn in the pristine Bahamas...and especially to Greg and Bonnie, angels of hospitality..." - Diego de la Texera, actor in BROCHE DEL ORO (Puerto Rico)

"It's rare that a film festival can bring together such a wonderful group of international filmmakers in such a singularly beautiful place as Grand Bahama Island, but FLIFF On Location: Grand Bahama did just that. Intimate exchanges with Bahamian Filmmakers inspired and put into focus why we create. I look forward to my next visit back to Grand Bahama Island." - Jayce Bartok actor/writer/director

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