Local Cathy Church photographer, videographer and Emmy award-winner Tony Mark had a bright idea one day – bring an international film festival to the shores of Cayman.
Others might have had this idea, but Mark is in a unique position to turn this festival into something uniquely Cayman – for Caymanians, by Caymanians.
“I started the film group here that meets once a month, and it’s been a success,” he says. “My goal with the group has always been to bring filmmaking to Cayman. I want to share my knowledge with Caymanians because I love it here. This is my home.”
After five months of the group – Weekender wrote a story in December 2010 on this film group, Group101 – Mark decided to grow the programme and broaden the scope of filmmaking here.
He started calling some of his Hollywood contacts – household names, Oscar winners, celebrity performers, famous directors, you name it – and they were very intrigued and started asking for dates of attendance.
He’s now taking steps to secure local funding, which involves contacting local businesses for sponsorship and partnership opportunities.
“I want local businesses to be a part of this. It’s their festival,” he says. “My job as festival director is coordinating this project so that Cayman can get a taste of Hollywood.”
For the past several months, Mark has been visiting schools and talking to kids about the joys of filmmaking. And they are so happy when he tells stories of his celebrity friends.
“That’s it for me. Ultimately, I’d love to have my Hollywood contacts come to Cayman and hold workshops with as many local children as possible,” he says. “Imagine Francis Ford Coppola teaching Year 5 kids how to direct films. Or your favourite actor telling stories and holding an acting workshop. This could open up the world for these kids.”
Mark has a few local businesses that have expressed interest, but he’s looking for letters of support and, more importantly, partnership and sponsorship contracts.
“Overall, I want to educate Cayman about film and educate the world about Cayman as a film destination,” he says. “This festival will do both.”
Interested companies can visit the website at caymanfilmfest.com or contact Tony Mark at [email protected]