Cayman is haven for filmmaker Flowers

The film Haven, directed and written by Caymanian Frank E. Flowers, will premiere on the island in April.

Now based in Los Angeles, Mr. Flowers discussed the story behind his first full-length feature.

‘All the stories I grew up with are from Cayman. If I had the opportunity to make only one film in my life, Haven would be it. I wanted to do something important and personal,’ he said.

Haven first screened at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2004, but will finally be released in April. The movie, which cost about US$6 million to make, is set for US distribution on 500 screens in 20 markets.

The story, which unfolds over one weekend, involves a shady US businessman (Bill Paxton) who flees to Cayman to avoid federal prosecution. At the same time, a Romeo-and-Juliet-style love affair is chronicled between Orlando Bloom and Zoe Saldana.

Cable & Wireless is hosting the screening. The telecoms company donated phone services to the cast and crew during filming here in 2003.

In a press release, Paul Taylor, vice president, sales and marketing for Cable & Wireless Northern Area, explained the company’s involvement in the film.

‘We are very excited to host a special screening of Haven in the Cayman Islands. There was a lot of excitement in Cayman during filming, with lots of residents getting involved, and we are delighted that we will all get to see the finished movie.

‘A young Caymanian, Frankie has worked very hard to succeed in the extremely competitive movie industry and Cable & Wireless is proud to support his efforts,’ Mr. Taylor said.

The filmmaker will be spending a lot of his time promoting Haven until its release this spring, a process he said he enjoys.

‘I work alongside a marketing team, doing everything from overseeing trailers to finessing actors who sometimes have control over what images are used in the movie posters,’ Mr. Flowers said.

He is looking forward to the April screening in Cayman.

‘I am hoping to get at least a handful of the actors to come down and enjoy it with everybody local,’ he said.

Mr. Flowers is now working on a second film, The Trespasser.

‘The movie is based on an obscure Brazilian film that played at the Sundance Film Festival. I approached Laura Bickford (a producer on the Academy Award-winning film Traffic). I arranged a private screening of Haven for her and she will be producing The Trespasser,’ Mr. Flowers explained.

He is writing the screenplay for the movie and expects to be finished the first half of this year. The story takes place in Miami’s South Beach and centres on two businessmen who hire a hit man to kill their partner but find themselves being blackmailed by the killer.

Mr. Flowers does not have a cast in mind as yet.

‘I let the characters tell me who will play the part,’ he said.

‘Making a movie is a very complicated process,’ he added. ‘A lot of elements have to come together logistically. It’s been said that every movie’s a miracle.’

His first foray into moviemaking was the short film, Swallow, which was well-received. The film premiered at Sundance in 2003 and then cable giant HBO acquired it for the network.

Mr. Flowers has also branched out into the music industry. He directed the music video Road to Zion with Damian ‘Jr Gong’ Marley, featuring rapper Nas. The video premiered on MTV’s Making the Video show in November 2005. The song is from the album Welcome to Jamrock, which has been nominated for a Grammy.

He enjoyed working with the reggae star.

‘He’s a great artist and it was very flattering to have that be my first experience,’ Mr. Flowers said.

He is open to doing another video. ‘If it’s the right music and the right artist,’ he added.

Though relatively new to the movie business, Mr. Flowers seems to have embraced all aspects of filmmaking.

‘Making movies is all about finding cool stories you want to tell and working with people you want to work with. It’s a lot of fun. Anyone who says it isn’t is lying,’ he said.