200 films chosen for June event
Behind the scenes, Cayman’s first film festival is taking shape, with organizers predicting it will be a summer blockbuster.
More than 200 films from 50 countries will be shown across 10 screens at multiple venues, with interest in the Cayfilm event far exceeding the initial expectations of the organizing committee.
A host of producers, screenwriters and actors have also signed up to be involved in panel discussions and workshops during the four-day event, scheduled for mid-June.
Loren Carpenter, the co-founder of Pixar studios, which produced major animation classics, including “Toy Story,” “Monsters Inc.” and “Finding Nemo,” and Paul Schrader, the writer of American movie classics “Raging Bull” and “Taxi Driver,” are among the panelists. Emmy-award winning actor Brian Cox, who appeared in the “Bourne” movies and “Braveheart,” is also scheduled to appear.
Festival director Tony Mark said, “The movies and the guests we are getting are way beyond expectations for a first year film festival. We had hoped to get to this stage in two or three years time. We didn’t expect it to take off so quickly.”
Mr. Mark and his team have reviewed more than 600 movies entered into the festival, whittling them down to around 200 – a mix of feature films, documentaries, shorts and animation, as well as 30 locally made movies.
“I’ve watched a lot of movies over the past few months,” he said.
Among his favorites are a pair of documentaries. “Frame by Frame” follows the efforts of four photojournalists to establish a free press in Afghanistan after the initial fall of the Taliban. “And Then We Swam” charts the exploits of two Englishmen who attempted to row across the Indian Ocean to make good on a drunken bet.
Mr. Mark said the festival would kick off with a yet-to-be announced world premiere followed by a gala opening cocktail party at Camana Bay.
“We are still finalizing some of the movies, as well as some big name guests,” he said. Around 200 filmmakers and their families are expected to arrive in Cayman for the festival between June 18 and 20.
“One of the things I don’t think people are aware of yet is the scale of this event. At any given time we could have 10 different films playing at different venues across the island,” he added.
Mr. Mark believes interest in the event so far suggests the island has the necessary glamor to be a magnet for film stars, potentially even for movie production.
“We have the infrastructure, we have the nice hotels, we have the ability to entertain A-list celebrities,” he said.
He said the event would also provide an opportunity for local filmmakers to have their work seen by industry experts and to take part in workshops on movie production.
Alexa Vega, a child star in “Spy Kids,” and her husband Carlos Pena will present awards to the winners of the Cayman Through My Eyes competition for young movie makers.
There will also be a screenwriting workshop from Jim Hart, who wrote blockbuster movies “Contact,” “Dracula” and “Hook,” while Jon Chu, the director of “GI Joe” and “Step Up,” and who was “discovered” at a film festival, will exhibit some of his early movies and give tips to would-be filmmakers.
Screenings will be hosted at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, the Harquail Theater and the National Gallery, as well as at the Regal Camana Bay movie theater.
Friday’s events at the Harquail Theater and National Gallery will be free to attend and will also feature a Red Sky at Night-type event with music and food.
The event closes with an awards ceremony and closing party at The Ritz-Carlton,
For information and ticket prices, visit www.cayfilm.com.