What comes to mind when you think about film in Cayman?
Those of us from an older generation might think of The Firm, starring Tom Cruise and Gene Hackman. We will remember the semi-chaos downtown during the filming of John Grisham’s novel.
Those of us from a younger generation would immediately think about Haven – the controversial film that took a look at the Cayman sub-culture – by homegrown Frank E. Flowers. Coincidentally, this film was released at the Toronto Film Festival on the exact same day that Hurricane Ivan hit Cayman. Many Caymanians were in Toronto that night and watched the release of Haven with a mixture of delight and anxiety as they awaited word from Cayman.
Haven is the best feature film to come out of Cayman (despite the difficulties with it’s content.) The plot was clever, the cinematography edgy, and the music stylish. It starred an amazing cast: Orlando Bloom, Bill Paxton, and Zoe Zaldana, to name a few. To our delight, it also contained many surprise actors straight from Cayman. All in all, it was a great indie film. As Haven approaches its 10-year anniversary, we may ask ourselves, what is the future of film in Cayman?
Film is not fully offered at the high school or college level in Cayman. Cayman International School and Cayman Islands Further Education Centre seem to be the only schools that teach students the basics in filmmaking. However, the idea of film in Cayman is growing. The Cayman National Cultural Foundation hosts a Young Image Makers competition every year. In 2011, they had more than 70 different kids from Cayman’s schools submit a film. That’s a lot of short films! The Cayman Film Commission was established in January 2009 to promote and develop the Cayman Islands film industry: From its lush nature to the corporate lifestyle, Cayman is a great location for shooting film. On top of all this, the Cayman Film Commission announced a Cayman Film Festival is in the works with a 2013 projection.
There are several film production companies on island: Beneficial, Flipside, Switched On, and Apex to name a few. True artists and filmmakers run these companies.
Tony Mark of Cathy Church’s Camera hosts film classes once a month at his office. Tony is an award-winning filmmaker who is keen on making Cayman his home. He has written, produced, shot and edited many Hollywood movies.
There is a group on Facebook called Caymanian Filmmakers, which is vibrant and productive. The group has a steady post of short films and scenes uploaded each week from Caymanians both on and off island. Just search Caymanian Filmmakers in Facebook.
A new hope
After Haven, the greatest hope for a feature film out of Cayman is When No One’s Looking, written by Adonza Harrison. It is an important film that has not found funding to see the light of day. This film casts the best of Cayman’s actors: Rita Estevanovich, Michael McLaughlin, Olivia Scott-Ramirez, Brian Braggs and Luigi Moxam. It is a dark, but hopeful look at the impact of AIDS and teen pregnancy in the Cayman Islands.
As Cayman’s society adjusts itself to the sudden immigration of different types of people, we remember that filmmaking is essentially a collaboration of different personalities. It requires writers, editors, producers, lawyers and accountants. Making film is a social art that contributes in helping make different types of people work together. Making film also requires money.