Courtesy of: The Morning News
By: Rosalie Klein
The patio of the Divi Links Golf Course was a congenial setting for the announcement of the winners of the Aruba International Film Festival 2013 Caribbean Spotlight Series winners, on Friday evening, July 5.
An essential part of the festival is the screening of entries by regional filmmakers, with a sub-category of short films titled the Aruba Flavor Awards. Winners are decided by jury selection and audience vote. This year, the AIFF Caribbean Spotlight Series Jury was comprised of busy film producer originally from Holland, but now living in Curaçao, Michel Drenthe, U.S. actor, Nick Holmes, known for playing Robert Grimaldi on “The Gilmore Girls,” and Venezuelan producer Delfina Catalá. This diverse and international jury brought a regional and worldly sensibility to the judging.
The winners were selected by the jury for the Best Aruba Flavor Short Film was “Back of Beyond,” directed by Leonardo Aguirre, in English. It told the story of a grieving and conflicted teenager played by Scott Smit, who is living a secluded life. A dying senile old man played by Roy d’Aguiar periodically intrudes on his solitude to teach him some life lessons.
The People’s Choice Award of the Aruba Flavor competition was “The Shadows are Shining,” an animated piece by Aruban artists and filmmaker Ken Wolff. It is described as “a visual poem about the echoes of light left behind within the shadows of our everyday lives.”
Jury Award in the Caribbean Spotlight Series went to “Brecha en el Silencio,” (Breach of Silence) by Venezuelan filmmakers Luis and Andres Rodriguez. It tells the story of Ana, an impoverished, hearing-impaired young woman played by Vanessa di Quattro, who decides to save her two younger brothers from the abusive life she suffered with a cruel stepfather and indifferent mother. Together they embark on a journey of freedom.
The People’s Choice Award of the Caribbean Spotlight Series was “Abo So” (Only You) by past Aruba Flavor winner Juan Francisco Pardo. It starred Raphaela Mahadeo and Miguel Genser, as Tatiana and Santiago. Though they do not like each other initially, they eventually fall deeply in love, and this love is severely tested. The film is a tribute to Aruba’s “Father of Culture,” Padu Lampe, as it is named for one of his most popular musical compositions and features several of them throughout the film.
This was the final red carpet premiere events, though screenings continued through Saturday, with showings of the Caribbean Spotlight Series and Aruba Flavor winners.
Friday evening also featured the world premiers of “Empire State,” from noted producer Randall Emmett, known for the acclaimed “End of Watch,” and over 80 films. It stars Liam Hemsworth and Dwayne Johnson, and is due to hit U.S. theaters soon. The other featured premiere was “The Hot Flashes” with visiting film star Virginia Madsen.
Madsen and Emmett were awarded “AIFF Ambassador Awards,” gilded statues of Aruba‘s famous Divi trees for their support and contributions to the festival. Madsen attended last year’s festival with the opening film “The Magic of Belle Isle” and Emmett announced he is already making plans to shoot a film on Aruba next year.