The Bahamas International Film Festival will be the site of the World Premiere for the New Haven-based independent film “My Brother Jack,” according to writer-director Stephen Dest. The tightly held announcement was made by Dest at New Haven’s Neighborhood Music School where he is the drama program director.
The murder mystery, which was filmed in New Haven and produced at New Haven’s Upcrown Studios, began shooting in January of this year and was completed, Dest said, in an unusually short time for a full-length feature film. Dest credited the support and film-friendliness of the City of New Haven, area businesses and the citizens of New Haven with facilitating the film’s timely production.
Serendipity also had a hand in the film’s production as events unfolded around the city that found their way into the final cut. Devil’s Gear Bike Shop owner Mathew Feiner, for example, was able to steer an already-planned bike tour on a route that guided the large biking group before cameras. The riders, unanticipated extras, were happy to provide up to six takes before pedaling off to their appointed destinations.
The acceptance of the film to the Bahamas International Film Festival marks another milestone in the film’s journey before release to the general public. The Festival, which began in 2004 as a non-profit entity, is dedicated “to the creation of a cine-literate arts community, bridging cultures, gaining knowledge, and attracting a targeted tourism sector through the film industry,” according to the Festival website. A steady stream of A-list celebrities have been part of the festival, which film critic and author Jeffrey Lyons called a “...shining light among a large field of film festivals.”
My Brother Jack will be part of the Festival’s “New Visons” competition which is a showcase for emerging artists, providing audiences with the opportunity to discover the next generation of “visionary film makers.”
The Bahamas International Film Festival is by no means the last stop for the film. Dest expects to show the film at other festivals as it is shopped around to domestic and international distributors. It will be several months before New Haven residents get to view and critique the film for themselves, most likely this coming January, after all plans have been solidified. Dest said he is proud of the film and that the end result has remained true to his original vision and script. He is presently assisting with two other films that are being shot in New Haven and hopes that more filmmakers will look to New Haven as a backdrop for their film projects. The official MBJ trailer can be viewed at the My Brother Jack Facebook page, where inquiries can also be posted.