Lights, camera, action for Cayman film fest


The Cayman Islands is rolling out the red carpet this weekend with a host of screen stars in town for the territory’s first film festival. 

More than 200 films from 50 countries will be shown during the three-day event, which kicked off Thursday night with a launch party and movie premiere at Camana Bay. 

The event will feature veteran actor Brian Cox, who starred as a devious CIA official in the Bourne trilogy, and rising stars like Nicky Whelan of the “Wedding Ringer” and Alexa PenaVega, who starred in “Sin City 2.” 

Workshops, panels and question-and-answer sessions with award-winning writers, producers, photographers and directors are also planned. 

Among the highlights for movie buffs will be a session with Paul Schrader, the award winning writer of American classics “Raging Bull” and “Taxi Driver,” and a screenwriting workshop with sometime Cayman resident James V. Hart, the writer of “Contact” and “Hook.” 

There will also be an acting workshop with Wes Studi, who starred in “Dances with Wolves” and “Avatar.” 

Loren Carpenter, co-founder of Pixar, the animation studio that produced “Toy Story,” will host a question-and-answer session, and John Chu, who directed “GI Joe 2” and “Step Up,” will be showing some of his student films. 

On Friday night, Harquail Theatre will host a red carpet premiere for the Cayman National Cultural Foundation’s Young Image Makers film competition. Movies made by Cayman youngsters and an awards ceremony will be featured. 

The Cayman Islands Tourism Association’s Underwater Film Festival will take place at the National Gallery, also on Friday. Both events are free. 

There will be daily movies at multiple screens at four venues: Regal Cinemas, The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, the Harquail Theatre and the National Gallery. The movies include a mix of feature films, animation, shorts and documentaries. Two tipped by festival director Tony Mark to be crowd favorites are “Frame by Frame,” which follows the efforts of four photojournalists to establish a free press in Afghanistan after the initial fall of the Taliban, and “And Then We Swam,” which charts the exploits of two Englishmen who attempted to row across the Indian Ocean to make good on a drunken bet. 

Key dates and times 

  • Friday, 6 p.m. Young Image Makers premiere, Harquail Theatre 
  • Friday, 6:30 p.m. Underwater Film Festival, National Gallery 
  • Friday, 2 p.m. “Frame by Frame” documentary screening, Ritz-Carlton 
  • Friday, 2 p.m. James V. Hart, screenwriting workshop, Ritz-Carlton 
  • Saturday noon. Q&A with Paul Schrader, screenwriter of “Raging Bull” 
  • Saturday 2 p.m. Acting talk with Wes Studi, Ritz-Carlton 
  • Saturday 2 p.m. “And Then We Swam” documentary screening, Ritz-Carlton 
  • Saturday 3 p.m. Q&A with Pixar co-founder Loren Carpenter, Ritz-Carlton 
  • Saturday 6:30 p.m. Gala closing party and awards ceremony, Ritz-Carlton. 

For full schedule and ticket information, go to

Garfield Ellis of Celebrations lays down the red carpet out Regal cinema in Camana Bay on Thursday in preparation for the film festival launch and the premiere of ‘Serena.’ – PHOTO: TANEOS RAMSAY