Special economic zone and Cayfilm aim to develop Cayman as movie hub

Cayman Media Park, which is part of the Cayman Enterprise City Special Economic Zone, and the CayFilm international film festival have announced a closer collaboration to help develop the film industry in Cayman.

“We are very excited to be working closely with the festival as there are great synergies between our organizations. We see a significant role for us in the effort to develop the Cayman Islands into a globally significant film hub,” said CEC Chief Executive Charlie Kirkconnell. “The future of the festival and our partnership with CayFilm, we believe, is boundless.”

The CayFilm festival, launched in 2015, now includes the presentation of more than 200 films and dozens of panels and workshops on filmmaking from the initial concept to post-production and distribution. The festival is scheduled for July 1-4 at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman.

“Having stars like Zoe Saldana and dozens of Hollywood writers, directors and industry professionals is amazing,” said the festival’s director, Tony Mark. “But we also focus ‘beyond the glitz’ and are bringing so many people who do the challenging work in the trenches to move a screenplay from the creative spark to the screen. We’re particularly excited about having the Oscar-winning special effects team from the original ‘Star Wars’ trilogy who will be hosting workshops and panels. This year’s CayFilm will be a veritable film school of knowledge.”

It is that concept that has brought CayFilm and the special economic zone together, CEC said in a press statement. The festival’s organizers have also launched Cayman Media Academy, which serves as an advocate for and educator of Cayman’s young filmmakers. The academy will offer courses in film-related studies and aims to make careers in movies accessible to Cayman’s youth.

CEC said in its press release that the Cayman Media Academy has the ability to develop a talented local workforce that can eventually fill the jobs that are starting to be created within Cayman Media Park.

“The Cayman Islands is a natural fit – with a great natural setting – for this project,” Mr. Mark said.

Cayman Enterprise City said the master plan for its campus includes pre- and post-production facilities and animation studios, and the team is working toward providing a permanent home for Cayman Media Academy on the campus, with facilities including a soundstage and equipment.

“CayFilm is thrilled to be working with Cayman Enterprise City to help attract overseas filmmakers and productions into the Cayman Media Park,” Mr. Mark said. “CayFilm also hopes to develop the Cayman Media Academy in conjunction with the Cayman Media Park and its fabulous resources. We’ve already spoken to dozens of industry players about the

Cayman Islands, including a group that already has a multi-picture deal with Netflix.”
The long-term thinking is that the festival will be the central attraction for the international film community that will foster the growth of the local industry.