CayFilm’s fourth and final night ended with awards and a promise of bigger things to come for Cayman filmmakers.
Academy collaborator and screenwriter James V. Hart was named one of two Lifetime Achievement Award winners Monday at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman for his screenwriting work in “Hook,” “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” and “Muppet Treasure Island,” among other films.
He reflected on the natural draw of the Cayman Islands that has kept him returning year after year.
“All of Cayman has been magic for me. I’m a diver and I came here to dive,” Mr. Hart said. “We had a beautiful dive today with my Cayman buddies, my dive buddies, and there is a moment in every diver’s dive which you want to delay as long as possible, especially when you are at the end of your visit. And it’s that last moment where you realize you don’t have enough air to stay down any longer in this magical, pristine gift.”
Local photographer and diver Cathy Church said, “What draws me to Mr. Hart is that he also loves our oceans and that’s where I’ve really met him closely. But if you think about his last name, it really is what he has a lot of. This man is all heart. Watch him near any kids making films and he just melts.”
Pixar Animation Studios co-founder Loren Carpenter won a Lifetime Achievement Award for his revolutionary technological work for cinema.
“Animation is arguably the most difficult medium because you start with a blank slate and a blank world, blank everything and it all comes out in the end. You don’t get actors who are talented; you are the actor. You don’t get artists who can do your sets; you have to be the artist,” Mr. Carpenter said.
Describing his motivation to develop animation technology, he said, “I wanted to see what was in others’ imaginations because there are a lot more imaginations than mine.”
The evening’s décor honored Mr. Carpenter with a Pixar-themed backdrop and Pixar-inspired desserts. He was introduced with a surprise appearance by young actress Saniyya Sidney of “Fences” and “Hidden Figures.”
Local filmmakers made a strong showing during the festival with dozens of shorts and feature films on display. Six Caymanian directors competed for the Frank E. Flowers Local Filmmaker Award, including Trevor Murphy, Malcolm Ellis, Grace Ruby, Heather Harris, Pascal Pernix and Tanya Streeter.
“Hotel” director Trevor Murphy, who has lived in Cayman since 2007, took home the accolade. He described a promising outlook for local cinema.
“It’s thanks to Tony and creating CayFilm in 2015 that I believe local filmmakers are thriving. Twenty films this year and it gets better every year,” he said.
“I’ve watched your films over the weekend and I am scared for next year already,” he added.
Support for film industry in Cayman
Addressing a full ballroom of international and local talent, festival director Tony Mark described the third annual event as a stepping stone for the islands’ film industry.
“This is phase one of the film festival, to get awareness, and guess what, we’re getting aware. The world knows now about the Cayman International Film Festival,” Mr. Mark said.
“The next phase is to build a media academy here. We’ve had meetings this weekend with some of the VIPs who have come down about starting workshops and some really intensive, week-long courses. Pretty much everyone I’ve talked to is ready to come back.”
Mr. Hart encouraged support of young filmmakers, noting that the creation of a film academy would allow CayFilm to uniquely promote film beyond what is typically offered by other festivals.
Best Feature Film – “D-Love” directed by Elena Beuca
Best Animated Film – “White Tunnel” directed by Chien Lan-Chi
Frank E. Flowers Best Local Film – “Hotel” directed by Trevor Murphy
Best Feature Documentary – “Out of State” directed by Ciara Lacy
Best Documentary Short – “Disney Cartoon Camera” directed by Dave Bossert
Best Short Film – “All The Marbles” directed by Michael Swingler
Best Environmental Film – “Straws” directed by Linda Booker
The Paul Schrader Best Screenplay Award – “The King’s Inn” written by Lorraine Portman
Best Music Video – “Dan Sultan – Magnetic” directed by Jonathan Chong
Best Underwater Film – “Dive To Be Alive” directed by Florian Fisher
Best First Film – “Sea Of Life” directed by Julia Barnes
48-Hour Film Project – “The Last Act” directed by Cassandra Shea
Lifetime Achievement Awards – James V. Hart and Loren Carpenter