Distinguished: Clockwise from top left - Nik Powell, Michael Frith, Dr Leslie Taubman and Keith Caesar. *Photos supplied
Distinguished: Clockwise from top left - Nik Powell, Michael Frith, Dr Leslie Taubman and Keith Caesar. *Photos supplied

FRIDAY, MAR. 9: BIFF yesterday announced a distinguished cast for this year’s competition short film jury at the 15th annual Bermuda International Film Festival being held March 16-22.

The jury’s primary role is to review the competition entries and select a winner of the Bermuda Shorts Award.

According to a press statement, BIFF is one of only 62 Academy Award qualifying festival worldwide for the Short Film (Live Action) category, so BIFF entries have the chance of going on to win an Oscar.

Two films that screened at BIFF have won the ultimate filmmaking accolade: Wasp (2004) and Toyland (2009).

The 2012 jury is headed by one of the UK’s top film producers, Nik Powell, responsible for bringing a slate of award-winning films to the screen including Mona Lisa (1986), The Crying Game (1992), Little Voice (1998) and Ladies in Lavender (2004).

During his career, Mr Powell has worked with a number of high-profile celebrities including Dame Judi Dench, Dame Maggie Smith, Michael Caine, Ewan McGregor, Forest Whitaker and Jim Broadbent.

His films have garnered many awards and nominations, including an Oscar, several Oscar nominations and a Golden Globe. Mr Powell is currently Director of the National Film and Television School in the UK.

He was one of the co-founders of Virgin Records with Richard Branson. Launched in 1972, it became one of the UK’s major recording labels.

Prior to BIFF, Mr Powell has served on the jury for a number of film festivals including Sundance, Moscow and Locarno. This is Nik’s first visit to Bermuda.

Bermudian producer, performer, writer, illustrator and designer, Michael Frith, is also flying in from his home in New York to play the role of BIFF juror.

Mr Frith is well-known for his role as executive vice president and director of creative services at The Muppets/Jim Henson Productions, where he developed many of Henson’s greatest successes. He conceived scores of the most popular characters from Sesame Street, The Muppet Show, and Saturday Night Live.

Mr Frith was also co-creator of HBO’s International Emmy Award-winning series “Fraggle Rock,” inspired by Bermuda’s Crystal Caves. Michael later became, with his wife, director, performer, writer, Kathryn Mullen, among others, co-creator of Between the Lions, a series for PBS designed to teach children to read.

Alongside them is film academic, Dr Leslie Taubman,

Dr Taubman was a Fulbright Scholar in Film Studies in Barbados and at the University of the West Indies in Barbados, she helped develop the Film Studies programme.

 In addition to teaching Film History and Appreciation at U.W.I., she was President of the Jury for the Barbados International Film Festival.

Dr Taubman earned her M.A. in Cinema Studies from New York University and her Ph.D. in Communications-Cinema from the University of Southern California.

She was a post-doctoral Visiting Fellow in International Film Studies at Harvard University in 2010.

Local film aficionado, Keith Caesar, completes the BIFF 2012 jury lineup. Keith hails from Sandys, Bermuda.

His love for this art form stems from the creation of a television show while in college. Since then he has been hooked on the craft of filmmaking.

Currently he is the host of Filmmakers’ Corner on Bermuda’s CITV. The show has been the introduction for many to local films and filmmakers through interviews with some of the island’s up and coming film talent and more established veterans.

Keith maintains that the future of filmmaking and filmmakers in Bermuda is only just beginning.

This year, the jury will preside over the largest number of competition shorts that BIFF has ever seen.

Over 50 entries will be screened this year, however, due to budget constraints only select short films will screen publicly as part of the BIFF 2012 official lineup.