Cayman movie: Duppies haunt playhouse

Just in time for a truly spooky Halloween! The creator of the 2010 comedy horror movie, Zombie Driftwood, is set to premier his latest movie, Duppies, at the Prospect Playhouse, Tuesday, 15 November.

Penned and directed by local screenwriter and author Philip Eckstein, Duppies tells the tale of a haunted house and the nightmares that ensue when a young unsuspecting couple – Taylor and Madison Carson move in. It doesn’t take long before strange events start to occur, and upon researching the history of the house, they discover that the daughter and father from the previous owners suddenly disappeared after the mother was accidentally killed in the house.

Set in the district of North Side, Duppies was filmed in March earlier this year and features an all local cast new to a starring role in front of the cameras. Taking the lead roles are Shannon Powell as Madison Carson, Hal Ebanks as Taylor Carson and Alexandra Alvarenga as the duppy.

Mr. Eckstein, who is also the author of three published novels, said that the idea for the storyline just slowly developed over time.

“The idea came one night to me when my wife and I were sitting at home and we were thinking about how many of us have experienced a strange noise that we could not explain. As I thought about it I started to use the ‘what if?’ method to develop the story. What if the previous owners were still in the house? What if they needed a way to move on? What if the house itself needed an occupant to constantly posses the house before the previous ones could move on?”

Like Zombie Driftwood, Duppies is an independent film funded through private investors. It took approximately a month and half to shoot, with many of the actors pitching in behind the scenes too.
Mr. Eckstein’s film writing career kicked-off after the London Film Festival asked him to submit a screenplay based on his first novel, When the Forest Bleeds. Following this, he had a chance meeting with Emmy award-winning filmmaker, Bob Carruthers, at the Driftwood Bar in North Side. Mr. Carruthers’ interest was piqued by Mr. Eckstein’s success at the London Film Festival and he commissioned him to write Zombie Driftwood.

“Following on from the success of Zombie Driftwood, an award winning cinematographer, Dave Mcwhinne, said that Cayman could become the Hollywood of the Caribbean and suggested I write another movie,” Mr. Eckstein said. “Duppies is the result of that conversation. It’s not a horror or thriller. It’s just an entertaining, suspenseful movie.”

Mr. Eckstein said that through his films he hopes to encourage movie making in Cayman and foster interest in the filmmaking industry in young Caymanians.

“I really hope through this film to get the independent movie industry going in Cayman and help promote our Islands,” Mr. Eckstein explained.

His advice to young Caymanians interested in a movie career? “Just do it.”

“There are so many people out there that have stories to tell, they just need to tell it. It doesn’t have to be a blockbuster or a special effects extravaganza to be a good movie; it just needs to be an entertaining story.

“We made this movie on a budget of $2,750. It was hard work with everyone pitching in. When the actors weren’t in a scene they were working with cameras and lighting. It was a group effort.

“If anyone is interested in getting into the independent film scene I would suggest they come out to the premiere and talk to myself or any of the actors to hear what it takes to make it happen.”

Keen not to rest on his laurels, Mr. Eckstein has plans to shoot his third movie in April. The movie will be based on his second novel, The Final Rule.

Duppies, which runs for 109 minutes, will be available on DVD and Blu-Ray and is suitable for those aged eight and older.

The premiere will be held at the Prospect Playhouse on Tuesday, 15 November. Show time is 7.30pm. Tickets are $10 and available from the Cayman Box Office. Visit www.caymanboxoffice.com

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