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“Why a hurricane and a pandemic can’t dent the spirit of the Bahamas International Film Festival”
“Leslie Vanderpool, founder and executive director of the Bahamas International Film Festival (BIFF) has worked tirelessly to transform the 17th edition into an entirely online festival that is running from January 4-10, 2021.
Vanderpool, who is half Bahamian, half American, has spent more than 15 years ensuring her festival provides the local community and international visitors with a diverse lineup of films from around the world. For BIFF’s 17th edition she was inspired by this year’s online iteration of the Cannes film festival.
“Cannes was such a great experience,” she says. “As a participant I gained so much knowledge and was encouraged by how the organisers created a virtual film festival that made me feel a sense of community.”
By taking part in the online American Film Market in November and other smaller festivals Vanderpool gleaned intelligence on how to make a virtual festival and networking events work. One of her biggest challenges was having to do everything on her own.
“I have support and a smaller team but it is really trying to manage the festival with one or two people.”