Cayman Went is showing this week in cinemas in Florida and New York.
The film, which was filmed 15 months ago on Cayman Brac, secured a theatrical distribution deal with Hollywood-based independent distributor 41 Inc. in May and is on a limited one-week run at three cinemas in Tampa, Miami and New York.
Jim Ritterhoff, the writer and executive producer of the film, said the movie run might be extended, depending on how big an audience it draws over the weekend. ‘I’m waiting to hear today [Tuesday] on what the numbers were like over the weekend. If the numbers are good, we could get an additional week,’ he said.
The three locations were chosen to coincide with Cayman Airways direct routes to the US.
Thirty-second television advertising slots, paid for by the Department of Tourism, are running on US television promoting both the film and the Cayman Islands as a holiday destination as part of its Summer Splash campaign.
‘Cayman Went is a success story, not just for Cayman Brac and the Sister Islands, but for all of Cayman,’ said Shomari Scott, acting director of tourism. ‘We at DOT believe the film presents a unique and compelling way to market our islands in an increasingly competitive arena.
‘By aiding the producers in their distribution efforts in three of Cayman Airways key US markets – New York, Miami and Tampa – we’re helping to bring Cayman’s warmth and beauty to an audience primed for travel.”
Cayman Went was filmed over 20 days on Cayman Brac in February last year and had its first screening in Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac in November last year.
The movie has also been shown at a number of film festivals and had its premier at the famed Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles on 27 May.
The movie received a less than flattering review on Friday in the New York Times, which described the film as banal. The Times, however, gave the Brac a glowing review, describing it as a ‘sun-dazzled Cayman Brac, a small Caribbean island… awash in splendid sunsets, sapphire waters, adorable fauna and underwater dives of pellucid clarity.’
Mr. Ritterhoff said he felt no sour grapes over the review.
‘It is a gentle little film; we weren’t trying to reinvent the wheel… it’s amazing that we were reviewed in the New York Times at all.’
The movie is showing this week at AMC Empire cinema in New York; in AMC Sunset Place in Miami; and in AMC Woodland Square in Tampa.
Cayman Went stars Michael Lombardi (Rescue Me) as Josh Anders, a waning underwater action star, whose life is changed when he spends time on Cayman Brac.
‘Our goal was to show the beauty of Cayman Brac, while remaining truthful to the dignity of the people and history. Everyone involved in this project put their whole heart into making a meaningful film. We’re excited now to share this journey,’ said Mr. Ritterhoff.
The film also stars Jeffrey DeMunn, Susan Misner and Franklin Ojeda Smith, and was directed by Bobby Sheehan.
The moviemakers hope that the film can next be seen on television and then on DVD and Mr. Ritterhoff said his company, Chowder Inc, an advertising agency that works with the Cayman Islands DOT, is in talks to secure TV and DVD deals.