Zoe Saldana is no stranger to Caribbean life, as her family moved to the Dominican Republic when she was 10 and spent seven years there before moving back to her home country of America. She was therefore an excellent choice to play the part of Andrea in Frank E. Flowers’s film “Haven,” which celebrates its 10-year anniversary this year. Ms. Saldana returned to Cayman this week to attend CayFilm 2016 and the director’s cut screening of “Haven,” scheduled for

the opening night gala on Friday at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman.

Zoe Saldana

Her passion for dancing and acting has put her on a fast track to success in the film industry, and with the recurring roles of Lieutenant Uhura in the new “Star Trek” films, Neytiri in the upcoming “Avatar” sequels, and Gamora in “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” due out in 2017, it seems that Ms. Saldana is set for work for at least the next decade.

“I will say that my ‘Avatar’ (2009) character, Neytiri, has been the most challenging of my entire career – physically, mentally and spiritually,” said Ms. Saldana. “It’s the first time I played a non-human, I had to learn a different language, and it was hard to part with her at the end. No matter how intense other characters have been, I’ve only been in their skins for at most four months – never a year and a half.”

According to imdb.com, Zoe Saldana was born on June 19, 1978 in Passaic, New Jersey, to Asalia Nazario and Aridio Saldana. She was raised in Queens, New York.

Frank E. Flowers and Bill Paxton on the set of 'Haven.'
Frank E. Flowers and Bill Paxton on the set of ‘Haven.’

When she was 10, she and her family moved to the Dominican Republic where they lived for the next seven years. While there, Zoe discovered a keen interest in performance dance and began her training at the ECOS Espacio de Danza Dance Academy where she learned ballet as well as other dance forms. Not only did her training provide an excellent outlet for the enthusiastic and energetic youngster, it would also prove to be a fortunate precursor for the start of her professional acting career. At 17, Zoe and her family moved back to the United States where her love of dance followed, and an interest in theater performance became stronger.

She began performing with the Faces theater troupe which put on plays geared to provide positive messages for teens, with themes dealing with issues such as substance abuse and sex. These performances not only gave her valuable experience, but also a source of great pride knowing that she was making a difference in the lives of young people like herself. While performing with the Faces troupe and the New York Youth Theater, Zoe was recruited for a talent agency, and her dance training coupled with her acting experience helped her land her first big screen role as Eva Rodriguez, the headstrong ballet dancer in the film “Center Stage” (2000).

Since her professional career began several years ago, Zoe’s talent and determination have allowed her to be involved in blockbuster films and act with major actors, actresses and industry insiders at a pace that very few young professionals have experienced.

Victor Rasuk
Victor Rasuk

‘Haven’ reunion

Native son and filmmaker Frank E. Flowers will join Ms. Saldana, Victor Rasuk and Anthony Mackie in Cayman for the anniversary screening of “Haven.”

In a recent interview with What’s Hot magazine, Mr. Flowers expressed his interest in seeing the film once again after a long break.

“I haven’t watched the movie for quite some time, especially this cut,” he said. “I am sure when we do the transfer back from 35mm film, right before the CayFilm screening, that it will bring back a flood of emotions, memories and ‘Oh, I should have done that with this scene’ moments.”

He also emphasized the importance of the CayFilm festival and how it could benefit the Cayman Islands.

“Cayman is a special place, with a lot to offer. If the time and effort is put in to make sure that the festival continues to grow, then it will become something special. Quality films, fun events and some Caymankind for our overseas guests will go a long way. There are so many festivals around the world that thrive for different reasons, Cayfilm will continue to carve out its niche and people will discover it,” he concluded.

Tickets for CayFilm are available at www.cayfilm.com.