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Take 6 / 2012 dBIFF Festival Report

Also available on the festival’s main website

December 25-30th, 2012 marked a momentous step for the Dawn Breakers International Film Festival (dBIFF) as the 6th edition of the event took place in the snowy city of Einsiedeln, Switzerland. dBIFF is an international traveling film festival that aims at showcasing films and filmmakers with world-changing visions.

This year’s official selection included 78 titles* from around the world and in all categories. The leading entries were Narrative-Shorts (40%) followed by Documentaries (24%), Narrative-Features (15%), Music Videos (8%), Experimental (7%), Animation (5%) and Television/Webisods (1%).

Country /Languages/Premier and Tehnical Statistics - Entries had come from all continents and in many languages. Leading languages were English, followed by German, French, Portuguese, Spanish, Russian, Arabic, Turkish, Filipino, Persian and Hindi. English was the primary language of 47% of the entries while 45% were in various noted languages and 8% had no dialogue (silent).

Leading countries, other than North American and the European nations, were India, Egypt, Israel/Palestine, Russia, Iran, Brazil and the Philippines.

While 35% of the entries were World Premiers, 21% were International Premier, 6% European Premier and 37% Swiss Premiers. Majority of these films were made in 2012 (68%) and the rest in 2011 (25%), 2010 (5%) and the remaining in 2009 and before that.

The Shooting/Original format category was led by High Definition Video (75%) followed by multiple formats (10%), Standard Definition Video (6%), 35mm Film (4%), Computer Generated (4%) and 16mm Film (1%).

Entry Associations - This year, the festival gathered data on specific association of each entry and individual filmmakers to better understand its content and the results were as follows: Around 4% of the submitted entries were by Baha’i filmmakers and 12% of them dealt directly with Baha’i topics. Each entry was also marked under special associations and they included: Women filmmaker (45%), First-time filmmaker (41%), Asian/African or Native American filmmaker (23%), Films from a developing country (19%), Collaborating Directors (15%), Youth filmmaker (9%) and Other (14%). Since entrants could choose more than one category, the percentage adds up to more than 100%.

Festival Attendance - The screenings stretched over five days from December 25-30th, 2012 in the Allegro Hotel of Einsiedeln. The audience was made-up of people from across Switzerland along with a number attending from Germany, France, Liechtenstein, Luxemburg and Italy. While the festival was mainly conducted in English, the discussions were also translated to French and German – two of the four official languages of Switzerland. There was a prominent presence of Children and Jr. Youth in every screening, which contributed to the dynamics of the festival in a very special way. This age group enjoyed the many animated and light-hearted films shown on specific time frames for them, while the general audience interacted with more of the sophisticated topics presented in other films.

dBIFF Honoree - This year, the festival honored the life and services of Charles Wolcott to the film industry and the Baha’i faith. Charles Wolcott was a four-time Academy Award nominee and is credited with composing music for films such as Bambi and Pinocchio among many others. He was the General Music Director at MGM for many years and left to serve the Baha’i community when he was elected to the Universal House of Justice and served in the Baha’i World Center for 26 years.

The ceremony of celebrating Charles Wolcott’s life, exactly on the 25th year of his passing, included a letter written to the festival by his daughter, followed by a audio-visual montage of his life and works produced for and shown during his memorial ceremony twenty-five years ago. He is the second person to receive the Dawn Breakers Int’l Film Festival Honoree title since its first recipient, William Sears. More information about his life, service, career and the ceremony are available on his dedicated webpage* and facebook.

Focus Country - In our aim to highlight and assist, as an act of community service, the people of Japan after the devastating natural occurrences, we accepted a partnership from Short Shorts Film Festival and showcased a number of Japanese films from their 2012 line-up. The festival is supported by George Lucas and many other prolific filmmakers and is named the Olympic Games of Short Films. It is hoped that by showcasing the works of local Japanese filmmakers in an international platform, we encourage resilience in the hearts and minds of its people – or at least the film community of the country.

Hueman Contest - And last but not least, the finalists of the first Hueman Photography contest, a project initiated by the dBIFF, was exhibited during the festival and was received with much excitement from the audience. There were ten finalists per category and the categories were: People, People-Group, Environment, Nature, Nature-Close, Animal, Conceptual and Altered. The finalists could be viewed here.

The 2012 film festival marked the 6th successful year for our organization, the second year-run in Europe, and a record-breaking number of entries and official selections*.

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