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Bahamas International Film Festival to open with “Rain”

The Bahamas International Film Festival (BIFF), announced today that Maria Govan’s acclaimed indie drama “Rain” will be the opening film at this year’s festival, which takes place December 4-11 in Nassau. The intimate family drama is slated to screen on Thursday, December 4th. The announcement was made by BIFF Founder and Executive Director Leslie Vanderpool.

"Rain" had its World Premiere in the Discovery section of the Toronto International Film Festival last week and has since garnered tremendous praise and attention as a break out hit. The film is written, directed and produced by Maria Govan, a Bahamian filmmaker who participated in BIFF’s celebrated Filmmaker Residency Program back in 2005. Govan developed “Rain” through the Residency Program and Caribbean Development Lab, where she met the film’s co-producers Nate and Pamela Kohn. Additional producers on the film are Francis Kuzler and Molly Mayeux.

“Rain,” noted as one of the first indigenously produced films to come out of the Bahamas, is set in the rich cultural climate of Nassau’s inner city, a distinctly Bahamian world that has not yet been explored cinematically.

In the film, a Bahamian adolescent boards a local mail boat and sets sail for Nassau, determined to reconcile with the mother who abandoned her when she was just a toddler. Rain has lived a sheltered life on Ragged Island, but now the death of her grandmother has forced her to get out and explore the world on her own. Upon arriving in Nassau the young girl is overwhelmed by the sights of the big city, and soon finds her idealistic illusions shattered when she witnesses firsthand just how deviant and destructive her mother's lifestyle has truly become. Stranded in a an unfamiliar environment that fills her with dread and confronted by a mother she has never known, Rain searches deep within herself to summon the strength needed to find her own place in the world.

“Rain” stars Renel Brown, Nicki Micheaux, CCH Pounder, Irma P Hall, Calvin Lockhart, Shavante Nixon and Ron Butler.

Commented Vanderpool, “Four years ago at an art gallery I heard the reading of “Rain” and urged Maria to submit the work in progress to the BIFF residency program. The BIFF mandate is to encourage and assist in the development of filmmaking, therefore I am proud to know that BIFF is there to nurture our emerging filmmakers.”

Maria Govan said, "BIFF offers Bahamians two very important things through the residency program -- the opportunity to get feedback on one's work so that Bahamians may become better screen writers and also the opportunity to connect with industry people who have the capacity to help realize that which is given to them on the page."

BIFF 2008 begins Thursday, December 4th and runs through Thursday, December 11th. Additional announcements pertaining to the Festival will be made in the coming weeks.

About the Filmmaker Residency Program
The Bahamas International Film Festival is happy to host the fifth installment of its popular Filmmaker Residency Program, proudly sponsored by one of The Bahamas leading Off Shore banks of 51 years, Ansbacher Ltd.

This year, the best screenplay or treatment for a feature film written by a Bahamian or Caribbean artist will be awarded a $10,000 prize to aid with the development and eventual production of the film. Both Bahamian and Caribbean filmmakers have a fantastic opportunity to get funding for their dream project, whether it be a big budget spectacle or a small independent work.

In addition to the grant, the Filmmaker Residency Program seeks to nurture new filmmakers and screenwriters by allowing them an unrivaled opportunity to spend a full day with those who make a living working in the industry they wish to break into. It is the Festival’s intention that the contacts made will last beyond the time spent at the program, and that all who take part in the program will benefit from attending.

The program is not limited to the craft of filmmaking. Artists of any kind may enter their projects for consideration as well. Whatever the art form, the exposure and opportunities the residency program gives its participants are unique to our festival.

The 2008 program will take place on December 6th, where filmmaker and advisor will be introduced, followed by one-on-one meetings. Towards the end of the day all participants will come together so that each person can ask questions in a group dynamic. Finally, the advisors will meet with each other and give feedback on each project, which will provide the filmmaker with comments from an impressive cross-section of expertise.

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