The opening credits of Jerrod Ephesians Flippér d’Or-winning documentary at the inaugural Blacktip Island Documentary Film Festival. Festival films will be shown at random times throughout the week at the Caribbean island’s Heritage House. (photo courtesy of Hammer Films)
Amateur filmmaker Jerrod Ephesians took top honors at the inaugural Blacktip Island Documentary Film Festival Wednesday night, receiving the coveted Flippér d’Or for his film, “What Does Dermott Do All Day?” The ceremony was the finale of the Caribbean island’s week-long event, sponsored by the Blacktip Island Filmmakers Federation.
“Local documentary buffs spent the past month filming and editing,” BIFF chairman Christina Mojarra said. “We’ve been publicly screening the films at various times all week, so everyone can see them regardless of work schedule.
“We had everything from a simple time-lapse security cam footage that condensed a night at The Last Ballyhoo Bar into five minutes, to nesting iguanas set to hip-hop, to an in-depth look at the struggles of a newly-settled expat couple,” Mojarra said. “The films truly reflected the Blacktip Island experience.”
Judges said Ephesians’ film encapsulated the reality of daily life on Blacktip Island, raising the mundane to the sublime.
“Jerrod cut the perfect slice of Blacktip life,” judge Elena Havens said. “From Dermott Bottoms’ first breakfast beer, to his rummaging through the dump, to fishing, napping, dominoes and finally passing out. Every Blacktip resident can see themselves in some aspect of the film.”
Ephesians said he eschewed a linear narrative to focus instead on evoking a mood.
“I wanted to get at the Zen of the gestalt of the entirety of whole Blacktip thing,” he said. “Plus, I got jammed for time, only had one day to shoot, looked out the window, and there was Dermott, sipping on a Heineken.”
Festival-goers were also impressed by Antonio Fletcher’s existential short, “Mais N’Enculons Pas des Mooches.”
“It was a delightful throwback to early Buñuel-esque cinema,” judge Frank Maples said. “Black-and-white footage from ‘Tonio’s cell phone that he’d strapped to a bicycle’s handlebars during a ride through the island’s resorts. Literally weaving through lobbies, around pools, everywhere. He even edited in some fake scratches to make it look more like vintage film.
“As cinema, though, it stumbled with the voiceover,” Maples said. “‘Tonio randomly repeating ‘je t’aime, je t’aime,’ in an odd, faux-Russian falsetto, well, it became a bit off-putting. Quickly.”
All festival films will continue to be screened throughout the week at the Blacktip Island Heritage House in whatever order and times strike festival organizers’ fancies. Admission is free, with proceeds go to BIFF, less an administrative fees.