Hollywood comes to Cayman

This year the Cayman Islands Film Commission officially opened, bringing with it a plethora of opportunities for local talent, whether in front or behind of the camera, and a new source of income for Cayman’s economy.

Film Commission

The Cayman Islands Film Commission celebrated its opening in February with a glamorous, red-carpet event attended by actress Jennifer Coolidge, Seinfeld actor John O’Hurley and Malcolm in the Middle star Justin Berfield.

The Film Commission continued its work by hosting a series of workshops for film crews, inviting wannabe film stars, screenplay writers, directors, set designers and other talents to join the first film certification workshop that the commission would offer.

Later that month, Hollywood director John Shea flew to Grand Cayman. Mr. Shea is well-known for his role as Lex Luthor in TV’s Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, and was on island to scout for locations for a thriller, which the writer and director said he was ‘re-writing… for the Cayman Islands’.

Over summer young British filmmaker Jamie Stanton was in Grand Cayman to film his short movie Four Brothers, featuring an all-Caymanian cast. Mr. Stanton also held interviews with local media and expressed how impressed he was with the quality of acting from local talent.

Cayman on celluloid

The film Cayman Went, written and executively produced by Jim Ritterhoff, was shot on Cayman Brac and had a screening on both Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac prior to being aired in Hollywood in July.

In September Tim Kelly, a Caymanian who had been working in the television and film industry as an actor in both Los Angeles and New York for several years, screened his latest short film Here Comes the Night at the Harquail Theatre. The film featured Caymanian actors Rita Estevanovich and Brian Braggs, who are both set to appear in his next film. The director also hopes to shoot a film in Cayman in the near future.

Caymanian filmmaker Frank E. Flowers was honoured with the Rising Son award from the Institute of Caribbean Studies in Los Angeles in June, which was also Caribbean American Celebration Month. The director was grateful not only for the award but also for the congratulatory ad from the Cayman Islands government and Department of Tourism that welcomed Mr. Flowers at the awards ceremony.

The nonprofit organisation 3P launched its efforts to raise funds for the production of its film When No One’s Looking, beginning with a fashion show in January and followed by a fundraiser at Camana Bay in March. The film’s script focuses on the issues of HIV/AIDS in the community and the film aims to raise awareness of these social issues. The film is being produced by Adonza Harrison and will be directed by Judy Singh of Apex Video Solutions.

At the end of January, the Cayman Islands Tourism Association celebrated a film festival. Scuba enthusiasts and film admirers were treated to a display of photographic talents and stories from around the globe.

International films

Grand Cayman enjoyed the big box office movies that emerged this year, with hundreds appearing at Hollywood Theatres in costume to celebrate the Cayman premiere of the sixth Harry Potter movie.

In February the Hollywood film Hotel for Dogs had a special screening at Hollywood Theatres to raise funds for the Cayman Islands Humane Society.

On 28 February, Grand Cayman’s first cinema, the Marquee, closed its doors for good, leaving cinemagoers to flock to Hollywood Theatres’ six screens for the latest in blockbuster films. Douglas Graham of Palace Amusement, the Marquee cinema’s licensor, gave a simple reason for the closure: ‘The audience disappeared’.