Festival organizers seek to build film industry in Cayman

Organizers of the Cayman Islands International Film Festival, known as CayFilm, have their sights set on transforming the islands into a premier filmmaking destination.

To further local film education, Canadian writer and producer Lee Chambers will join CayFilm’s schedule, June 30-July 3, with a film production workshop.

In addition to screening his action-crime mystery “The Pineville Heist,” Mr. Chambers will present a two-hour, interactive performance aimed at providing humorous insight into the film industry.

Festival director Tony Mark said he hopes the workshop will provide aspiring filmmakers a realistic look at working on a set.

Mr. Mark has a vision of developing Cayman’s film talent to support a viable, international industry. He would like to see Cayman’s short filmmakers begin to work on full feature works.

“One of the things I am working really hard on, besides the film festival, is to get films to be made down here. I really want to build a film industry here in Cayman,” Mr. Mark said.

“We’re working on building a film school that is going to be able to train locals to be the infrastructure so that if a company comes down here, they’re able to hire local filmmakers and construction, electricians, hair and makeup and costumes.”

He described Cayman as a great place to make movies, not only for its natural scenery, but for its safety and proximity to Miami.

“We’re getting close to being able to provide what Hollywood and the world needs for a film location,” he said.

Canadian director Lee Chambers will host a film production workshop at this year’s festival.

Mr. Mark expects another star-filled lineup for this summer’s festival, whose theme focuses on film, food and fashion. French chef Eric Ripert has already been confirmed to host a celebrity dinner at his Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman restaurant, Blue.

The festival will also honor Pixar co-founder Loren Carpenter during a family-oriented day.

Last year’s guests included actress Zoe Saldana, six Oscar winners, and some of the cast and crew of “Star Wars.”

Mr. Mark said the festival received more than 500 submissions for this year’s event. He encouraged budding filmmakers to apply to future festivals.

“We want to showcase local films. We have some amazing films already that we’re going to be showing and we’d love to get some more. Everyone has a story to tell. If you can get that camera or even an iPhone, you can make a movie,” he said.

This year’s festival will include daily film screenings, question-and-answer sessions with filmmakers, and a celebrity gala. Film categories include narrative, screenplay, documentary, animation, underwater film and music videos.

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