San Pedro hosts Belize Film Festival

Thursday, July 21st, 2011

Saturday night was one of glamour and intrigue as the Belize Film Festival was once again on the island. This time Kama Lounge was host to the event – and revelers got to enjoy a wonderful Caribbean movie: A Hand Full of Dirt. Written, directed and edited by Russell Watson, A Hand Full of Dirt is a look into the lives of three men across three generations as they struggle with their lives. The eldest man, Ben, holds on to his hard-won property, refusing to acknowledge his son Archie’s desperate attempts to keep his business (hotel) afloat, while the youngest, Archie’s son (Ben’s grandson), Jay, struggles thousands of miles away. Jay is stuck in an immigration nightmare – unable to pay off a debt that would give him the leeway to work, yet unable to get a job because of the same immigration issue. His nightmare grows as his girlfriend reveals her pregnancy, and soon, history repeats itself as he is put in a situation that would secure his future by betraying his past, and his family.

Watson captures the essence of the story in a sparse, methodical way. The viewer is taken on quite the journey as scenes cut from the present to the past, observing Jay’s memories of an abusive father, his take on the breakdown of his parents’ marriage, and the weight of pending fatherhood puts him in a most precarious position. There are quite a few memorable scenes that showcase Watson’s artistic eye: in a poignant scene after the Caribbean Jay discovers his Latina girlfriend’s pregnancy, he is in the bathroom, and the double mirror shows him two faces. It is as though he now has two options – and none of them are the easy ones…

A Hand Full of Dirt is a hard look at the everyday struggles that families go through. In the Caribbean, the majority of the good properties are owned by affluent foreigners. The land that is hardly worthwhile ends up in the hands of the poorer people. They may be rich in property, but the property itself is not valuable, hence it cannot be used as an asset, nor can it be cultivated with success. Watson, with his artistic eye and feel for the subject, successfully showcases such issues in his film.

After the movie’s credits rolled, to great applause from the audience, it was time to enjoy and party. Kama put on quite the affair, with showgirl dancers, fire dancing and interviews by the ever effusive Tony Roberts for HyperdriveTV. Music was provided by Lady Luck Entertainment – DJ Nora Tones, DJ Holiday, and DJ Wikked from Canada. DJ Leo Staines of San Pedro/Miami also accompanied the special invited DJ guests. Mingling with the crowd was actor/comedian Faizon “Andre” Love, who had been invited to be a part of the celebration of the Belize Film Festival. Horacio “Chito” Guerrero, San Pedro Coordinator and Nigel Miguel, Belize’s Film Commissioner, were happy with the turnout in San Pedro. The evening was certainly a success, and that was the sentiment that resonated throughout the night.

Apart from San Pedro, the Belize International Film Festival provided entertainment in Belize City and with special screenings in Benque Viejo, Orange Walk and Dangriga as well. Kudos to everyone involved. For more information about the Belize International Film Festival, check out www.belizefilmfestival.com. For more on A Hand Full of Dirt visit their website at: www.ahandfullofdirt.com.

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