The Cayman Islands is planning to launch an international film festival next June, George Town MLA and Tourism Ministry Councilor Joey Hew announced this week in Legislative Assembly.
The Cayman International Film Festival or CayFilm event, the brainchild of local photographer Tony Mark, was initially planned for late April 2015 and is now on track for June 2015, Mr. Hew said.
“This is a tremendous step in promoting the Cayman Islands as an emerging force in the world of film,” Mr. Hew said.
The announcement was confirmed by CayFilm spokesman Roberta Bostock, who said that an “invitation only” launch party for the festival is scheduled for Friday, June 13, 2014, at the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman.
The launch party will include a screening of the film “The Two Faces of January,” starring Kirsten Dunst, Viggo Mortensen and Oscar Issacs, which was released last month in the U.K.
Mrs. Bostock couldn’t say whether any of the film’s marquee stars would be able to attend the screening, but she said one of Hollywood’s hottest young film directors, Jon Murray Chu, is on the guest list to attend.
The inaugural festival is set to run from June 18 through June 21, 2015.
Mr. Mark, who will be the director of the festival, has 20 years’ experience in Hollywood editing films and television shows.
In late 2013, plans for the 2015 film festival were announced at the Cayman Islands Underwater Film Festival, which is expected to be rolled into the CayFilm festival. The new festival, supported by the Cayman Islands Tourism Association and the Department of Tourism, is billed as “an annual, multi-day spectacular event designed to create new interest and excitement about the Cayman Islands as a world-class filming destination,” according to a brochure for the event.
The CayFest team, which includes Mr. Mark, Mrs. Bostock and Robyn Larkin, also seeks support to develop the Cayman Film Institute through the University College of the Cayman Islands. “We will offer classes and qualifications to students wishing to further their education in different film-related studies,” the brochure states.
Mrs. Bostock said the group, which is made up entirely of volunteers, is seeking sponsorships and will publish a full schedule of events at the website www.cayfilm.com.
“The fact that there isn’t an international film festival here is kind of a crime,” Mr. Mark said in late 2013. “Cayman does have the infrastructure for a wonderful event. I am working now with some Hollywood contacts to bring some actors and directors down here. I also want to encourage the learning aspect, which is why we have started the film institute.”
Mr. Hew has given his full backing to the project and said he hopes it will help create new opportunities for young people to work in the film industry.
“We have young, brilliant Caymanians who have to live overseas to follow their passions,” Mr. Hew said. “It is my hope in the coming years that we can invest in the infrastructure and the equipment [for] young ambitious filmmakers and music producers.”