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Aruba International Film Festival


Aruba International Film Festival Year 5 Kicks Off October 7-11 2015.

The Aruba International Film Festival (AIFF) quickly became the international film community’s “must-attend” summer event after its opening in July 2010. After 4 intensely exciting years, the festival took a break in 2014 for a complete makeover and now is back with full force to celebrate year 5 from October 7th-11th, 2015. 

The festival offers a pleasurable and inviting atmosphere for filmmakers, press and film lovers. It serves to not only develop an understanding and appreciation of the art of cinema and filmmaking, but also to inspire, educate and promote emerging local and regional filmmaking talent. This in turn has helped position Aruba as a center of art, culture and creativity, and as a viable destination for international film and commercial productions.

The AIFF was founded in 2010 by film producers Jonathan Vieira and Giuseppe Cioccarelli, with artistic direction by 30-year industry veteran Claudio Masenza. Previous editions of the festival have showcased a diverse array of critically acclaimed fiction films and documentaries from every corner of the globe, and have attracted such notable industry names as:

Hollywood leading man Richard Gere (Pretty Woman, An Officer and a Gentleman)
Multi Oscar-winning editor Thelma Schoonmaker (Raging Bull, The Aviator)
Mexican writer/director Guillermo Arriaga (The Burning Plain, Babel)...




Winners of the Caribbean spotlight


Children of God, winner of the Caribbean spotlight (Location: Gold Coast)

Winners of the Aruba International Film Festival’s Caribbean Spotlight Series (CSS) Competition were announced on Tuesday night at a special Festival event held at Gold Coast Aruba.

Encouraged by tremendous local support last year, AIFF expanded its popular "Spotlight" series this year, which was created to showcases movies from Aruban and Caribbean filmmakers. Having proved its popularity among locals, the Festival created a broader experience for the series this year – establishing an official competition, jury and award, as well an audience award.

The winner of the CSS Audience Award (and $1,500 cash prize) was “Children of God” – a Bahamian drama from director Kareem Mortimer.

The CSS Special Jury Award was VOICES FROM MARIEL – a powerful Spanish language documentary from director Jim Carleton.

The short film winner was MUHE FRIDA – an artistic Interpretation on the life of Frida Kahlo by director Felix de Rooy and producer Alydia Wever.

The CSS jury also recognized FIRE BURN BABYLON with a CSS Special Mention Award.  The Rastafarian-themed documentary was produced and directed by Sarita Siegel.

The three person CSS jury consisted of journalists Noel DeSouza and Rosalie Klein and producer Emmanuel Itier. The official Spotlight films were selected by the Director of CSS Aaron Hosé and the CSS committee. CSS competition films included:

 100,000 (Country: Puerto Rico/ Director: Juan Agustin Marquez)
 CHILDREN OF GOD (Country: Bahamas/ Director: Kareem Mortimer)
 CURACAO (Country: Netherlands/ Director: Sarah Vos and Sander Snoep)
 FIRE BURN BABYLON: (Country: Montserrat/United Kingdom/ Director: Sarita Siegel)
 VOICES FROM MARIEL: (Country: Cuba/USA/ Director: Jim Carleton)

Short Films Were:

 10 AVE MARIA (Country: Aruba/ Director: Ryan Oduber & Francisco Pardo)
 MR. HAPPY MAN (Country: Bermuda/Director: Matt Morris)
 MUHE FRIDA (Country: Aruba/ Director: Felix de Rooy)

CSS Special Screenings (not in competition) included:

 LA FUGA: (Country: Puerto Rico/ Director: Edmundo H. Rodriguez
 RISE UP: (Country: Jamaica/ Director: Luciano Blotta)

The Film Festival kicked off on Friday, June 10th with a screening of “Meet Monica Velour” starring Kim Cattrall who was in attendance and greeted fans on the red carpet at the Paseo Herencia.

In addition to Kim Cattrall, international celebrities attending this year’s AIFF have included rapper, actor and multi-tiered business mogul Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, Oscar® winning director Jonathan Demme (“The Silence of the Lambs,” “The Manchurian Candidate”), BAFTA Film Award-winning Hollywood costume designer Michael Kaplan (”Blade Runner,” “Burlesque,” “Fight Club”), Academy Award® nominated director Milcho Manchevski (“Before the Rain,” “Mothers”), Italian actress Paola Cortellesi (“Nessuno mi può ’ guidicare-Nobody Can Judge Me,” “Piano, solo”), director Sergio Sanchez Suarez (“Tequila”) and his leading actress Daniela Schmidt (“Casi divas,” “Sea of Dreams”), Mexican actress Barbara Mori (“Kites,” “La mujer de mi hermano,” “Ugly Me“), Italian actor and screenwriter Alessandro Calza (“Ciao”), and Polish director and artist Lech Majewski (“The Mill and the Cross,” “Angelus”).

The Aruba International Film Festival continues through Thursday, June 16th. The full AIFF program is available to print online at Tickets can still be booked through the website and purchased at the AIFF’s office at Paseo Herencia. Tickets are available in a variety of price ranges, from a simple movie ticket to packages of multi–event attendance, to top accreditation tickets for VIP events.

About the Winning Films:

“Voices From Mariel”

On April 1 1980, five individuals seeking political asylum crashed a bus through the gates of the Peruvian embassy in Havana, Cuba. In the following days, 10,000 people stormed that embassy's grounds, signifying wide-spread disdain for Cuba's dictatorship. Fearing that continued civil unrest might cause further violence, Fidel Castro proclaimed that any Cuban wishing to immigrate to the United States could board a boat at the nearby port of Mariel. In what some considered a bold move, Castro forced prisoners and street indigents to board these same boats. While only a small percentage of the 125,000 Mariel refugees were actually criminals, Castro succeeded in tarnishing the image of those fleeing the country. However, for the vast majority of those who left Cuba, this was the beginning of a costly journey to freedom. The exile would begin not only with a parting of personal possessions, but a separation from family that for many would last a lifetime. But for the Marielitos the cost of their mass exodus was outweighed by something previously unimaginable: a chance to pursue their dreams. Dr. Jose Garcia left through Mariel as a 13 year-old boy. His journey takes us through personal accounts of lives affected by the Mariel exodus, of those who departed and also those who stayed behind. Culminating with his long anticipated trip back to his birthplace, we see the emotional reuniting of family and friends as we explore and listen to the unheard 'Voices From Mariel'.

“Children of God”

Written, directed and produced by Kareem Mortimer, “Children of God" is the religious expression used by Christians to refer to human divinity as being all God's Children. Four Bahamian individuals who set out on a journey from the frenetic energy of Nassau to the slower-paced and open Eleuthera. The year is 2004 when the Caribbean world is rocked by the emergence of Rosie O'Donnell's gay family cruise ship. Actual documentary footage details the mass hysteria that divides the Caribbean as some fundamentalists lead widespread rallies. Jonny, a young obsessive-compulsive suicidal white Bahamian artist, faces losing his scholarship at a local University if he does not live up to the potential his professors believe he has. Jonny escapes from his gritty inner-city life in Nassau to the under populated and dramatic Bahamian island of Eleuthera. Here he decides to paint his 'masterpiece' and then kill himself. Lena Mackey is an extremely conservative forty year old anti-gay activist who upon finding out that her husband is not who he represents himself to be. She believes that the only way to fix problems in her life is to limit the rights of homosexuals. She heads to Eleuthera for the purpose of galvanizing the community to oppose gay rights. When Jonny arrives he and Lena paths cross and together these two embark on a series of physical and emotional adventures that not only inspire Jonny to paint but gives him a new zest for life.

“Muhe Frida”
MUHE FRIDA is an artistic Interpretation on the life of Frida Kahlo by director Felix de Rooy and Alydia Wever, with Ryan Oduber as director of photography and editor. Sound by Jairo Boekhoudt.

“Fire Burn Babylon”
This impactful documentary follows the fortunes of a crew of Caribbean Rastafarians who resettle in London after a volcanic eruption devastates their island home. Abandoning lives in spiritual retreat in the foothills of Montserrat, three Rasta men transform their beliefs and reinvent themselves as 'rude-boy' rappers and small time hustlers on the East End nightclub circuit. Filmmaker Sarita Siegel, who has been a part of Montserrat’s exiled Rastafarian community for several years, seamlessly blends the points of view of three charismatic Rastamen, the elders that guide them, and the women who love them... crafting a personal exploration into the transformations of culture and place.



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The official Aruba International Film festival's blog


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