Is San Ignacio the Next Hollywood?
In another artistic milestone for Belize, the first ever entirely Belizean film has just been released internationally.
“Curse of the Xtabai.” an 80 minute film billed by its producers as a jungle thriller-comedy with “the distinction of being the first major movie fully produced with Belizean talent,” has a Maya theme and makes use of Belize’s rich tradition of folklore and storytelling.
And, interestingly enough, “Xtabai” (pronounced “ish-ta-by”) was shot and acted without the use of a script.
“We want movies from Belize to offer audiences something unique and special, so we’re using improvisation to bring a raw energy to the screen,” the film’s producer, Matthew Klinck said.
Klinck said that he founded the production company, Make-Belize Films, last year to encourage economic development through “a new youth-centred exportable creative industry,” and that Xtabai provided training and employment for some 65 Belizeans.
He reported that the film is attracting a growing international audience through online rental streaming of the film and Facebook marketing.
“It’s pretty awesome that our Belizean jungle thriller (is) being enjoyed as far away as Australia, India and Singapore,” says Klinck, “it’s a giant leap for Belizean artists.”
Klinck said that Make-Belize Films is also producing two new unscripted movies; an urban action-drama and a comedy.
“The goal is to build a fresh film industry that will entertain audiences worldwide by empowering Belizean people with the skills and equipment to tell their stories through cinema, he said.
We love the idea of a budding Belizean film industry and wish Klinck and his crew all the best. And we’re definitely looking forward to watching Xtabai and further offerings from Make-Belize Films.
Who know? Maybe someday we’ll see a “Walk of Fame” sidewalk in San Ignacio that will rival Hollywood’s.
(Xtabai is available for rent at xtabai.makebelizefilms.com)