The sixth annual Cayman Islands International Underwater Film Festival took place on Friday, 30 January at the Harquail Theatre.
Scuba enthusiasts and film admirers were treated to a fantastic display of photographic talents and stories from around the globe. The Film Festival was organised by the Cayman Islands Tourism Association and was the second event in a high-profile week for scuba divers around the world, which kicked off with the annual Induction Ceremony for the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame, held at Pedro St. James the previous evening.
Each presenter at the Film Festival was a Scuba Diving Hall of Fame inductee. Howard Rosenstein launched the evening with a presentation highlighting his experiences in the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean Atolls, followed by Casey Smith speaking on behalf of his father, the late Larry Smith, showing a film featuring Larry muck diving in Indonesia and New Guinea.
Renowned underwater photographer, Geri Murphy, presented an Al Gidding’s classic film titled Silent Warrior, about divers searching for the famous I-169 submarine.
Dr. Alex Mustard, a previous Film Festival presenter, ended with a slideshow highlighting the role of the underwater photographer.
The evening also included a fundraising silent auction prior to the festival and during the intermission. A great range of items were available on auction including artwork, hotel, diving, restaurant and other exciting certificates donated by CITA members with proceeds, which amounted to approximately $2,000, set to benefit CITA marine conservation efforts.
Amateur photographers were invited to submit underwater images that best depict Cayman as a new component of the Underwater Film Festival.
The photo competition, Eyes Wide Shut, consisted of two categories: images with strong eye contact and images with no eye contact, and attracted nearly 200 entries.
All photographs submitted were shown to the audience in a slideshow, and winning photos were printed and mounted for display at the event by Cathy Church’s Underwater Photo Centre.
First place prize was a trip on the Aggressor while second prize, donated by Rum Point Restaurant, was a dinner for two.
Celebrity judges, Cathy Church and Geri Murphy, announced the winners.
‘Choosing the winners was a difficult decision as all of the photos submitted were winners in their own right,’ said Ms Church. ‘There is an incredible amount of talent on this island.’
CITA announced that the photo competition will become an annual event along with the film festival and will be hosted again next year.