Bahamas International Film Festival builds buzz via industry outreach

NASSAU, BAHAMAS: The Bahamas International Film Festival (BIFF) is concentrating its PR efforts leading up to this year's event to build its international reputation and compete against other well-known film festivals around the world.

NASSAU, BAHAMAS: The Bahamas International Film Festival (BIFF) is concentrating its PR efforts leading up to this year's event to build its international reputation and compete against other well-known film festivals around the world.

The festival, which takes place December 4 to 11, is reaching out to the industry via trade publications like The Hollywood Reporter, and by inviting celebrities to attend. Laurence Fishburne, who will receive the BIFF Career Achievement Award and Sean Connery, who will present the award, are already slated to appear.

BIFF also has a presence online via its Web site (http://www.bintlfilmfest.com/) and Facebook page. The festival is celebrating its fifth year.

"We're trying to gain some international awareness," said Leslie Vanderpool, the founder and executive director of the BIFF, "but it takes some time to get to the way Cannes is."

Rogers & Cowan came on in early September to oversee PR and media relations for the festival, after having worked with the BIFF in 2007. The agency's Los Angeles office is handling industry outreach, while the New York office oversees the participation of independent films.

“[The agency will] give the festival its own voice and promote its presence around the world, with a focus on the US," said Dennis Dembia, account director with Rogers & Cowan. "We have to make sure the trade industry is taken care of because that is ultimately what will bring people to the festival."

The firm will reach out to consumer publications once the final film list is released.

The festival is also working with the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and other global tourism offices to encourage locals and visitors to attend.

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