Posted: Saturday, June 10, 2023. 4:22 am CST.
By Breaking Belize News Staff: The esteemed Royal Geographical Society in London served as the backdrop for the international premiere of “Unknown Belize,” a Belizean-made documentary, on June 7th, 2023. Feste Films produced the film, with funding from the European Nature Trust. The documentary spotlighted the seldom-seen natural wonders of Belize.
The film masterfully presented Belize’s natural splendor, its vibrant wildlife, and its distinctive cultural heritage. Its primary focus, however, was the nation’s ardent conservation efforts led by various environmental foundations and NGOs. According to the official film release, the documentary uncovered “the wild wonders of Belize, showcasing a little-known nation of immense pride and purpose.”
Feste Films, based in Belmopan, Belize, had a victorious night. Following the premiere, Tom Hinds, one of the filmmakers, spoke about the project’s unique narrative, stating, “It’s the first of its kind. Production companies have come into Belize and told our story before, but it was never by Belizeans or with a Belizean presenter or Belizean crews. That hasn’t happened before.”
Presenter Sean Kuylen echoed this sentiment of national pride. As a chef by profession, Kuylen was an ardent proponent of the documentary, underlining the perseverance of the local production team and the pride that Belizeans will undoubtedly feel for the film.
Kuylen described the experience of re-living the Mayahac ritual, performed deep in the rainforest of the Toledo District by the Ketchi and the Mopan Maya. This ritual involves burning Copal, or Copan resin, as a tribute to Mother Earth. He shared, “It was this spiritual thing that gave me chills then, and when I saw it during the screening, it gave me chills again.”
Hinds concurred with Kuylen, characterizing the filming of the Mayahac as a profound, spiritual event that moved the crew to momentarily cease filming in sheer awe. “This is something that had never been filmed before. Nobody had ever been invited to a ceremony like this before.”
The event’s proceeds, which will be channeled entirely towards the protection and promotion of Belize’s environment, promise a significant impact on Belize’s natural landscape.
As for “Unknown Belize,” it was being negotiated with several streaming platforms at the time. The filmmakers also planned to screen it at the Belize Film Festival in November, allowing Belizeans to engage with this unique celebration of their natural and cultural heritage.
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