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Award-winning Actress in Belize for Film Festival

Today, the Belize International Film Festival held a press conference where they unveiled their line-up for this week’s film festival. The founder of the Belize International Film Festival, Suzette Zayden tells us more.

“Tomorrow the official red carpet opening, we will be screening a film called inheritance that was made in Belize, it was shot in Belize last year. It features a few Belizean actors as the main cast. Sharmira Gilcard and Mirna Manzenares. A classic coming from Trinidad and Tobago called Green Days by the river as you all know its an adaptation of a novel that all our second form students have to read, in fact throughout the Caribbean as part of the CXC exams. So we have been getting a lot of bookings from schools who are bringing all their second formers to that so much so that we’ve had to program some extra screenings for Monday. The filmmakers are here and they are excited to bring their film to Belize and see how much the schools have embraced the fact that they’ve turned a school literature book into a novel. Pargo from the Bahamas which we are very interested in because it talks about human smuggling. As you all know we are actually considered a transshipment point for human smuggling in Belize and so we actually have two films on this topic; one Friday and one on Saturday. The from the Bahamas, Cargo, looks at the Haitians trying to reach Miami via boats and the one on Saturday is coming out of Mexico and its called Desert and it is looking at the Central Americans and Mexicans trying to reach across the border into the United States.”

Award-winning actress, Lynn Whitfield from the United States of America is in Belize for the event. Whitfield has performed in films such as Madea’s Family Reunion, a Thin Line Between Love and Hate, and her latest film is Nappily Ever After.  At this afternoon’s press conference, she shared her experience in the film industry.


Lynn Whitfield – Actress

“What I have done in my career, is continue, there is a verse in the Bible if you are a good steward of little I’ll make you ruler of much, so there is never a role, if I decide to do it, and I will decide to do something if my southern mother says something she wants to know and she’s looking to see if there is a room works or if she should add a flower or a broach on the thing and she says ‘well darling does it add? So if I can add to story, I can build a character or deepen the story then I’m excited to do it. I simply continue to try to keep myself fresh and opened and available as an artist and I continue to push.”

The film industry is in its infancy stage in Belize and needs to grow leaps and bounds and one of the discussions, at today’s press conference, was how the industry can be propelled forward.  Deborah Fairweather who works in the film industry in the US tells us more.

Deborah Fairweather

“I think Belize making itself more available as a possible location to shoot, a lot of American and even European productions went to Puerto Rico because they have the infrastructure, they had the availability and they had the tax incentive and we provide a great tax incentive, please provide a great tax incentive films will come here to work. Films will take on Belizeans as production assistants and you can be trained to work in different departments within the film industry but the biggest thing for anyone to come here to make films is the tax incentives. It is not called show business by chance it is a business.”

Tracey Bing, a producer of films in the USA, also agreed that having tax incentives make a huge difference.

Tracey Bing – Film Producer

“Just on our last film I would have loved to shoot the film in Los Angeles but unfortunately we decided to go to Georgia because there were tax credits there and it makes a huge difference. Having $7 million in LA or having $8.5 million in Georgia or whatever the number is it’s a huge difference.”