Young filmmakers in the spotlight

Senior category winner Grace Ruby, 17, tears up after receiving the trophy for her movie 'Crossroads.'

Ethan Spencer, 10, and Grace Ruby, 17, were chosen from among 11 finalists as the junior and senior winners of the 2016 Young Image Makers Film Competition at the Youth Film Festival.

Both finalists will attend the New York Film Academy this summer.

Junior category winner Ethan Spencer, 10, with American actor and comedian Reno Wilson
Junior category winner Ethan Spencer, 10, with American actor and comedian Reno Wilson

Junior category winner Ethan created the three-minute film “Dinosaur Rage,” which was inspired by his imagination, and his love of Legos and filmmaking. Using stop motion, “Dinosaur Rage” took two days to complete.

“This is my first time in [entering],” he said, “I did have a good experience, [and] I’m happy I won and I’m really thankful.”

Ethan, who also took first place in the earth science category of the 2015 Rotary Science Fair, is no stranger to filming. He distributes a new video every Thursday on his Youtube channel, QuadSquad, which he co-hosts with his three siblings. Ethan said QuadSqaud features segments on crafts, games, experiments and his cooking segment, “Kitchen Adventures with Ethan.” The channel has more than 1.9 million views.

First runner-up in the junior category, 10-year-old Aiden Powery, incorporated stop-motion in his film “Cleaning My Room.” Isaac Tibbetts, 13, was second runner-up with “The Robbery.”  Grace Ruby’s film “Crossroads,” which portrays the contrasting consequences of keeping the right and wrong friends, was inspired by a dream.

“When I heard about the film contest,” she said, “the dream is what I basically had in mind.”

Having taken CayFilm’s director Tony Mark’s screenwriting workshop, and getting exposure to filmmaking during and outside the competition, Grace said entering it was “life changing.”

“It made me certain of my career path. I want to major in writing and minor in directing,” said the Triple C student.

Rita Estevanovich of the Cayman National Cultural Foundation and Grace Ruby
Rita Estevanovich of the Cayman National Cultural Foundation and Grace Ruby

In addition to being the senior category winner, she is also the winner of the Department of Tourism’s “Cayman Through My Eyes” video challenge. Her submission for that was inspired by her move to Grand Cayman at age 11 and centered on how she has grown since arriving here. The award earned her an additional week at the New York Film Academy.

Her 2 minute, 49 second film “Crossroads” was chosen as the top entry among the seven senior category finalists. Fifteen-year-old Abijith Anu’s “Paradise” was first runner-up, Elijah Ebanks, 15, was second runner-up with “The Book.”

Presenting Ethan with the first-place trophy was CayFilm guest celebrity Reno Wilson and Cayman National Cultural Foundation board member Lorna Reid. Special guest Frank E. Flowers and Ms. Reid presented Grace with her trophy.

CayFilm director Tony Mark presented Isaac Tibbetts, second-runner up in the junior category, with the people’s choice award.

Winners and runners-up were awarded Caymanite trophies made by sculptor Horacio Esteban.

All finalists were treated to a private dinner before the show, joined by emcees Miss Cayman Islands 2016 Monyque Brooks and radio Z99’s Jevaughnie Ebanks.

The awards ceremony, which kicked off the CayFilm festival, was on June 30 at the Harquail Theatre.

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