In a robust display of style, class and culture, the Belize Film Commission held its’ 3rd Annual luncheon to connect industry executives in Hollywood with key members of the Belizean Diaspora to offer Belize as a core nucleus for the motion picture business. Producing far more than its sultry “Caribbean” flare, Belizean representatives say the Afrocentric Country is the perfect backdrop for Hollywood film production.
At the intimate gathering, held in the backyard of a swanky Pacific Palisades home, the Sentinel spoke with Belizean actor, producer, and film commissioner for Belize, Nigel Miguel. Miguel says the continued endeavor to bring Hollywood to Belize benefits its’ natives both directly and indirectly. “Belize is a production friendly county with incentives and rebates and we have what we believe is the prettiest backdrop for your story or live event,” he said.
The commissioner added that what makes Belize unique is that it’s actually not an island, as many people believe, rather a beautiful English speaking country located on the mainland of Central America. Miguel sees this as critical to eliminating communication barriers often found when shooting film in foreign countries.
The Sentinel also caught up with the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture, Hon. Patrick Faber. Faber says that his goal is not only to “engage stakeholders in the film industry so that they can know what Belize has to offer” but to help immerse visitors into the beauty of Belizean culture.
Some of Belize’s most notable cultural and environmental attractions include its diving adventures in the Barrier Reef eco system, the ancient Coracol Mayan Ruins and the impressive Great Blue Hole, an eccentric geological formation found at the Lighthouse Reef in Belize. “It’s a wonderful package, it’s a very small country, but our best resource I’d say is our people,” Faber said. “It’s a melting pot of different races of people and they’re all very friendly, very welcoming and that is why we’re so proud of Belize as a product,” he continued.
When asked how members of the Belizean Diaspora expect to maintain their culture here in the United States, Consul General of Belize Hon. Roland Yorke says the answer resides in their walk, talk, music, cuisine and style of living. “What’s interesting for us, wherever Belizeans reside, they tend to reside within an African American community in Harlem, in Chicago in Los Angeles,” Yorke said. “It’s hard to distinguish a Belizean from an American in Belize or even here. I tend to know them by other things, like the way they walk, their expressions, akimboing,” he continued.
As Consul General, Yorke’s primary responsibility at the Consulate involves providing travel assistance. As a Belizean native and U.S. Resident for nearly six decades, Yorke says that keeping the Belizean legacy alive relies upon travel access to its culture. “I’ll be contented when 60% of our population is able to say I’m going to Belize for the September celebrations, so we need to continue to the interaction, the relationships,” he declared.
For more information on the quest to bring Hollywood to Belize or collaboration between the Belize Film Commission and the National Institution of History and Culture, visit nichbelize.org. For exclusive interviews and behind the scenes footage, visit lasentinel.net.