British filmmaker Jamie Stanton, on Island this month to film his short movie Four Brothers, is ‘immensely impressed’ with the young talent in Cayman.
‘I got really lucky with this project,’ he said. ‘Working on films back in the UK, I’ve seen hundreds of young British actors from very professional acting schools and the kids here in Cayman are equally as talented as those.
Mr. Stanton is using two 12-year-old actors and one 15-year-old to play the three brothers who are the main characters in the film.
‘I am immensely impressed with the kids I have in my film,’ Mr. Stanton said, ‘and I think you’d be hard-pressed to find better in the UK.’
Four Brothers is, as Mr. Stanton describes it, ‘a boys’ film’ about three brothers who decide to build a raft to sail over to Sand Cay island. Citing the popular coming-of-age story Stand by Me as an inspiration, Mr. Stanton called the script, which he penned, ‘a mini adventure story’.
‘It’s based on something I tried doing at that age, me and my friends tried to build a raft to get over there and it sank, so we had to swim back and we eventually found out it was quite dangerous and got told off,’ Mr. Stanton recalled.
Although he hails from Bristol, England, Mr. Stanton has been visiting Cayman since he was 12 years old – Cayman being ‘pretty much the only place outside of England I’ve ever been, bizarrely’. His uncle lives in Caribbean Paradise on South Sound.
‘Sand Cay was a really prominent landmark [from my uncle’s place] that had palm trees and a lighthouse on it so when I was a kid it a pretty magical place so we used to try to get out there on a raft,’ said Mr. Stanton.
Choosing to set the film in Cayman was an easy decision, Mr. Stanton said.
‘People tell you that you should try to include something unique, something that not everyone else has access to, so I thought, I know this island really well and I know that most people I talk to don’t even know it exists so it would be nice to go back to England with a film shot in a place that no one’s ever seen before,’ he said. ‘It adds to the whole mystery of the film, so that’s why I wanted to come here and not anywhere else.’
Caymanian actor Brian Braggs is also a member of the film’s cast, playing the fourth, older brother to the three boys. It was through Mr. Braggs that Mr. Stanton learned about the Cayman Islands Film Commission and was able to liaise with the Commission to organise shooting in Cayman.
Mr. Braggs and Mr. Stanton were introduced through the Cayman National Cultural Foundation’s Henry Muttoo, who, together with the Foundation’s Programmes Manager Rita Estevanovich, assisted Mr. Stanton in casting his film.
‘I wrote a little two-page scene that I had been thinking of and ran it with some of the actors, and two of the guys I met then are now in the film,’ Mr. Stanton said, referring to the auditions he held last December while visiting Cayman.
Four Brothers is a short film, said Mr. Stanton, and with short films, the general rule is the shorter the better. ‘We’re aiming for 10 minutes but it might end up being a little bit longer,’ he said.
In January, the plan is for Mr. Stanton to draw up a festival schedule so he can organise which film festivals to submit the film to. He hopes to return to Cayman in January or February as well, to premiere the film locally.
‘It would be nice to show it on a big screen so the kids can see themselves,’ said Mr. Stanton. ‘I am hoping this film will open some doors for me and for the actors, hopefully, as well, because from what I’ve seen so far this could be really great for them.’
For more on Jamie Stanton and Four Brothers, see this Friday’s Caymanian Weekender.