By LAMECH JOHNSON
Tribune Staff Reporter
AWARD winning filmmaker Kareem Mortimer is seeking to take his shortfilm Passage to the next level by developing it into a feature film called Cargo.
Passage tells the story of a young woman and her brother fighting for survival while being smuggled into the United States on a fishing vessel. And Cargo depicts a white Bahamian fisherman who is approached by a security guard who suggests that he supplements his income by using his vessel as a means to transport people illegally into the United States.
Mortimer told The Tribune, however, that for the venture to be both profitable and good quality to compete with major films, would require the co-founder of the Best Ever Film company to secure funding of up to $1.5m, which he admits has not been easy.
“Investment into a film is about a lobby to have people put their trust in what we are doing to make this dream happen,” he said at the recent screening of Passage at Lyford Cay.
“Film is a very powerful tool to me. My mom had me when she was 15 and watching movies with my grandmother taught me about the world outside my immediate surroundings and that has enabled me to pursue a life that she hadn’t even imagined for me.”
“And so I feel that’s something I can do with other people, especially if they can see themselves reflect in it (film), in selling an important social message and that’s what we want to do with Best Ever Film.”
Best Ever Film was co-founded by Mortimer and Alexander I Younis, a successful Austrian entrepreneur and artist. It was in The Bahamas that Mortimer and Younis realised that they both had the desire to create content to push boundaries, communicate fresh ideas, reflect the world they live in and resonate with their audience.
The company was created to engage in the development, production and distribution of feature films, television projects and documentaries and aims to make unique, story-driven films that have appeal in both the US and foreign markets.
The name “Best Ever” was inspired by Mortimer’s paternal great-grandparents, Winifred Gibson Mortimer and Ulric Mortimer Sr, where the former, in 1928, established the Best Ever Candy Kitchen in Nassau which is still in operation today as Mortimer’s Candy Kitchen as it produces varied and diverse candies.
“Best Ever Film will continue in that tradition by developing, producing and distributing films that are competitive in the market place,” Mr Mortimer said, adding that securing the $1.5 million for the feature film would be a step in doing so.
Younis, Mortimer’s business partner, said that the concept of the company is to secure the “$1.5 million to make a film and/or a larger investment where we would produce five films in the next five years.”
“The idea is to have a partnership that comes with a whole slate of projects and the persons who partners with us will get the guarantee that we will produce five films in the next five years,” he explained.
“So whoever will help us to finance Cargo, it will go into the structure, supporting at the same time, the business concept that we have.”
Younis said that with the success of Passage he had no doubt that they can make Cargo a “profitable, good quality” film at that cost with the right backing.
The short film Passage was screened in New Zealand at the Commonwealth Writers Forum, The Aruba International Film Festival, Encounters Film Festival-Bristol, Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival, FLIFF Grand Bahama (Winner, Best Film), Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival (Winner Best Short), Portland Maine Film Festival ( Winner), and the Havana Film Festival.