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Bahamian Film Maker Kareem Mortimer Premiers Passage at the Bristol Encounters Short Film and Animation Festival

: Bahamian Film Maker Kareem Mortimer at the Encounters Short Film and Animation Festival in Bristol

Five short films commissioned by Commonwealth Writers premiered at the Encounters Short Film and Animation Festival in Bristol, UK on Thursday 19 September 2013. The films, four dramas and one documentary focus on the themes of relationships, and explore migration, indigenous rights, barrel children, and same-sex relationships and are the culmination of the Commonwealth Shorts scheme to develop the craft of emerging film makers.

The film makers, from The Bahamas, Barbados, Canada, Kenya and New Zealand, have created work highlighting issues that affect them and their communities and will find striking parallels worldwide. Their films are produced in partnership with B3 Media and The Commonwealth Broadcasting Association/Worldview.

"As a committed supporter of emerging talent from around the globe, we are excited to be welcoming the Commonwealth Shorts to our 2013 programme," said Liz Harkman, Managing Director of Encounters Short Film and Animation Festival. "Commonwealth Writers and B3 Media have been doing great work with upcoming writers and directors, giving them opportunities to create new work, providing a platform for debate about global issues affecting communities worldwide."

'Passage' by Mortimer is about a group of Haitian refugees who are smuggled on a Bahamian fishing vessel from the Bahamas into North America.  The screenings were followed by a Q&A Session with film makers Oscar Kightley, Jules Koostachin and Kareem Mortimer, where  Mortimer recounted his childhood memory of a bloated body on the beach which formed part of the inspiration for the film, but also that the story took shape during the development process.  Kareem considers himself an emerging Director, in a relatively small film industry in The Bahamas, and hopes that support will continue to grow for this creative industry.

The premier is part of a bigger strand of activity at Encounters which includes Untold Stories, Global Voices, a panel discussion chaired by Rosie Goldsmith exploring how international organisations can best support less-heard voices in reaching a wider audience.

This session is presented in partnership with the British Council. Both provide opportunities for emerging film makers from across the globe to make films based on 'local' stories which have universal appeal.