The Beaufort International Film Festival is an annual three-day event which draws film makers and film watchers from around the world to South Carolina. The skillful programming is guided by festival director Ron Tucker.
Upon accepting the first of the two awards, Producer/Editor Christine S. Romero, who represented the film at BIFF, stated: "Documentaries have the power to transform the world. The opening day began with Suffering Grasses and concluded with BESA: The Promise - two films highlighting moral courage in which the camera is used as a weapon of peace."
BESA: The Promise follows the parallel journeys of two men: American photographer Norman H. Gershman and Albanian toyshop owner Rexhep Hoxha. Their modern-day quests reveal the nearly unknown WWII story of thousands of Jews rescued in Albania, a majority Muslim country. The Albanian moral code of besa requires a promise of protection to anyone requesting it, and carries across generations. Rexhep Hoxha's Muslim father sheltered a Jewish family who left behind three precious Hebrew books. Kept hidden during the nearly half-century of repressive communism following the war, Rexhep must now fulfill his father's besa and return the books - if he can find the family. When Rexhep meets Norman, an unexpected drama is set in motion, uniting fathers and sons, Muslims and Jews.
Produced by JWM Productions, LLC, and supported by a National Endowment for the Humanities Bridging Cultures through Film grant, BESA: The Promise features an original score by one of the world's greatest living composers, Philip Glass. Portraits by renowned fine art photographer Norman H. Gershman are blended with animation, rare archival film, poignant interviews with witnesses and extraordinary vérité lensed by the award-winning Neil Barrett.
BIFF is the ninth festival for BESA: The Promise, which was also honored in by a Special Jury Award at the Festival of Albanian Film in Tirana, and the Audience Award for Best Documentary at the Washington (DC) Jewish Film Festival. In the coming months, the film can be seen in California, Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi and Washington.
For screening information, go to http://besathepromise.com/