Cayman Brac’s idyllic surroundings are to be showcased to the world when it stars as the major setting for a feature film to be shot there in February.
The feature film, Cayman Went, by Cayman Went LLC in association with Working Pictures and Chowder Inc. is completely funded and produced independently and a worldwide theatrical release is anticipated, said Producer Gil Wadsworth.
Helmed by director Bobby Sheehan (Seed), executive produced by Bob Eick (The Blair Witch Project) and produced by Gil A. Wadsworth (Son of the Beach, The Burbs), the full-length feature will be set almost entirely on the island of Cayman Brac with Los Angeles and Grand Cayman serving as additional locations, explained a press release.
Described as ‘a family dramedy,’ the film has a strong environmental message. ‘Cayman Went is the story of Josh Anders, a fading Hollywood underwater action star whose life takes on new meaning when he’s forced to spend time with the eccentric, endearing inhabitants of Cayman Brac and their local dive community,’ explains the release.
Based on an original story by Jim Ritterhoff, a partner in Chowder Inc., the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism’s US ad agency Cayman West seeks to promote an understanding of the special places that still exist above and below the Caribbean waterline.
‘It’s been a passion project at Chowder for a long time,’ said Mr. Ritterhoff.
Director of Tourism Pilar Bush said, ‘It’s a unique chance for us to showcase the beauty of our islands, the authenticity of our people and the majesty of our marine environment in a way that transcends traditional advertising.’
Producer Mr. Wadsworth said they are in the process of making offers for the starring roles and until contracts have been signed those names cannot be released yet. All the background roles are to be played by island locals. There are plans to employ a number of Caymanians in all phases of production, said the release.
The casting director is Hopkins Smith Barden Casting headed up by Mr. Billy Hopkins who has cast over 200 films, as well as the television pilot for ‘Roseanne’ and the HBO series ‘Sex & The City’.
Filming, which is slated to begin this coming February, will take five weeks: one week in Los Angeles, four weeks in Cayman Brac, and a few days at the Turtle Farm at Boatswain’s Beach on Grand Cayman.
The screenplay was specifically written to be shot on Cayman Brac.
Speaking about how he is feeling in preparation for filming, Mr. Wadsworth, executive producer/head of development with Working Pictures, who is already in Cayman Brac making preparations, said, ‘I feel really good about it. Everyone I’ve met here has been very helpful and supportive.
‘There are always challenges when shooting in a remote location. Getting our equipment and personnel here, securing locations, working with the local government and Department of Tourism and having to do this on an island does present unique challenges, but so far many have reached out to help make my job as easy as possible.’
As of last week he had been on the Brac for about eight days making preparations. ‘Pre-production is a long process. I will most likely stay here until we start principle photography in mid February.’
Although only there a short time, it seemed like Mr. Wadsworth was already settling in well. ‘This is a beautiful island and the people that live here are a reflection of that beauty,’ he said.
The film Haven (2006), directed and written by Caymanian filmmaker Frank E. Flowers, was filmed on location in Grand Cayman. The movie featured a prestigious ensemble cast including Bill Paxton, Orlando Bloom, Zoe Saldana, Victor Rasuk, Joy Bryant, as well as a host of local residents as featured performers and extras.
Meanwhile the Cayman National Cultural Foundation hosted a meeting of regional filmmakers earlier this month in Grand Cayman, with one of the aims to further the development of filmmaking in the region.