The Independent caught up with Steven Beer, an entertainment attorney and artist advocate, who specializes in independent film, about his work with Kareem Mortimer, a filmmaker from the Bahamas and one of The Independent’s Ten Filmmakers to Watch in 2010.
Mortimer wrote, directed, and produced Children of God, which debuted the opening night of the Bahamas International Film Festival (BIFF) in December, 2009. The film, shot entirely in the Bahamas, exposes homophobia in the Bahamas.
In 2007, Mortimer participated in the BIFF Filmmaker Residency Program, which sponsors independent Bahamian and Caribbean filmmaker both financially and artistically towards the development and production of their films.
How did you come to know Kareem Mortimer?
Steven Beer: I’m his producer’s rep and distribution counsel. I’m one of the founding members and on the Advisory Awards of the Bahamas International Film Festival, which is in its 6th year.
He identified you as a mentor. How have you worked with and mentored him?
Beer: It was through a formal mentorship program with the BIFF. I gave him feedback on his film throughout his process. I celebrated with him when he finished it – not only because he completed the work, but [also] because he didn’t compromise [his vision]. It’s a gorgeous film.
Tell me about film in the Bahamas and how Mortimer navigates within it.
Beer: In some ways, it’s an emerging country when it comes to film. He’s a leader of this emerging film community. And it’s a strong film; it exceeds expectations in many ways. The way Kareem coaches his actors, the way he relates to them and the crew, and the cinematic look and feel of it impresses me. You almost forget that it didn’t have a substantial budget. He’s well beyond his years. He’s almost too young to be a leader in the way that his is. He’s truly a big fish in this growing small pond.