HOLLYWOOD MEETS BELIZE- No Introductions Needed
Hollywood has had a long-running love affair with our beautiful country of Belize. Some of Hollywood’s finest celebrities have travelled to Belize for vacation partly due to the lack of crowds, the outstanding and genuine hospitality of our people, and the natural wonders which inspire both the eye and the soul.
Movie legends such as Francis Ford Coppola and Leonardo DiCaprio have gone even one step further and made Belize their home away from Hollywood. Both of these entertainment industry powerhouses have found a peaceful escape in Belize and both frequent as visitors and as hosts to other visitors, as owners of high end eco-resorts in Placencia, the Mountain Pine Ridge, and the Belize Cayes. Madonna even wrote a song about her love affair with our Jewel in the Caribbean, La Isla Bonita.
Even prior to independence, Belize, formerly British Honduras, was the stuff that movies are made of, with its diverse scenery, Caribbean culture, wild wild West appeal, and mysterious history deep in the jungles. The movie, “The Mosquito Coast”, although based on a book by Paul Theroux set in the Amazon, was actually filmed in Belize and shows some of the scenery of Belize City shortly after achieving independence from British rule in 1981. This movie stars legends such as Harrison Ford, Helen Mirren, Andre Gregory, and River Phoenix . It is the story of one man’s dream to overcome the forces of nature by moving his family deep to the jungle in search of a new life and is driven to near death by his unrealistic obsession to tame the jungle and build an ice factory.
The Maya culture of Belize, which back in the ancient Maya days from 2000-5000 years ago, was a flourishing civilization with a population in the millions (today the population is just close to 400,000), has inspired more recent movies such as “Apocalypto”. Filmed in neighboring Tikal and in the original Maya dialect of the region, this is a controversial movie showing the day-to-day struggles of the ancient Maya world. “The Curse of the Xtabai”, a locally produced supernatural thriller, is also based on the Maya world. Filmed in Cayo District with local actors in the Kriol language, this is a tale of the supernatural, Maya superstitions, and ancient spirits.
More recently, with the reality TV show trend booming , what better place to set a show about romance and love at first sight ? In one episode of “The Bachelor”, the contestants experience both love and adventure on the high seas and in the rainforest. Contestants enjoyed lobster diving, helicopter rides, romantic sunsets, and exciting jungle adventures as a way of bonding and getting to know eachother better. Or, how about a show about survival and the elements, such as “Naked and Afraid”? In the Belize episode, participants are forced to survive, much like the ancient Maya, with few tools and resources in the depths of the jungle.
On the darker side, some documentaries highlight the social and economic growing pains of Belize as a small Caribbean country in the heart of Central America and the Colombian drug trafficking routes. Ross Kemp made a powerful episode of the show “True Crime” about the gangs of Belize City, which attests to the real-life problems facing the society. Thankfully, eco-tourism and the amazing diversity of the country overrides this darker side. Belize is a safe destination for those coming to enjoy the reef and jungle, with a strong Belize Tourism Board and Tourism Police presence keeping the country’s visitors safe to enjoy the plethora of activities at our front doorsteps.
Belize also has a small, but growing, local film and entertainment industry and this is highlighted every year at the Belize International Film Festival which shows the best of the Caribbean in music videos, documentaries, and movies. Included is another locally-produced film, “Stranded N Dangriga”, filmed right in our neighborhood in Dangriga near our boat launch and near the airstrip where most of our Blue Marlin guests arrive at check-in. This movie was presented at the Belize International Film Festival in June, 2013. One of the judges, Erika Alexander, an American actress best known for her roles as Pam Tucker on the NBC sitcom “The Cosby Show” and as Maxine Shaw on the FOX sitcom “Living Single”, called this Belizean movie “The Hangover Comedy for Belize”, referring to the box office hit “The Hangover”.
Here at Blue Marlin Beach Resort, our iconic Caribbean location serves as a logical and natural backdrop for model and advertising shoots showcasing adventure gear, fishing gear, beach and athletic fashion, diving equipment, and outdoor life. We recently hosted a film production crew which will create a massive advertising campaign for a designer brand name adventure gear line. Stay tuned for the red carpet launch of this high end ad campaign, which partners an amazing location with amazing products!