CayFilm may not be going ahead this year, but the show must go on, as they say. Local filmmaker Pascal Pernix whose short film “Unwritten” was screened at CayFilm 2017 will be premiering his newest creation, “Canvas,” at the Camana Bay Cinema for two showings only this Saturday.
The film was produced independently and shot entirely in Grand Cayman from August to November 2017 and completed early this year. After its premiere in Cayman, it will hit the international film festival circuit.
The story of “Canvas” follows a trio of art thieves, played by Caymanian actresses Janine Martins, Maia Muttoo and Caitlin Tyson. The three come up with a plan to resell the fruit of their collective labor at high cost after stealing a prestigious painting in a trendy gallery. Mike Joseph, Danielle Watler and Alyssa Chin complete the cast of the 18-minute short film.
“I’ve always believed there was enough local talent, both in front and behind the camera to get some independent films made in Cayman,” says director Pernix, “and I feel like we pushed the envelope with this one, by taking the right time to develop the script, then have the main characters meet and rehearse together.
“Every step was thought through in a very proactive manner; we didn’t take random chances, we all knew where we were going.
“All of this is only possible, of course, with people who are willing to fully commit to the project and give it their best shot, and that’s definitely what happened.”
Pernix has written and directed four short films on island so far, and he feels like the industry is growing. “Making films on-island is hard, and we could use more financial support and infrastructure, but I don’t think this is going to stop creative people from expressing themselves. We’re really fortunate and thankful to have had some companies and individuals chip in some money for us to cover basic production costs, like feeding everyone on set, purchasing some props, etc.,” he says.
“Everything else is just hustling, but that makes the final result even more rewarding. It’s actually very comforting as a filmmaker to see how much heart and talent the cast and crew truly have; they believed in the project from the start and never looked back.”
He is hoping to encourage other local filmmakers to do the same. “I really hope some young creative people come to the premiere, walk out of there believing that making films in Cayman is possible, and get to work!” he says. “I’ll never tell anyone it’s easy, because it’s not. It takes time, patience, commitment and comes with a ton of headaches, but you get to creatively own it, and I think that alone makes the whole process worth it.”
“My stories, and this one in particular, aim at empowering women,” Pernix explains. “I’m the father of two young daughters and this has basically been my life mission since they were born. I want my daughters to recognize themselves in my characters when they grow up,” says Pernix. “The thieves in ‘Canvas’ are elegant, intelligent, organized, and they know exactly what they’re doing; they have full control over their endeavors and that’s the message I’m hoping to get through.
“I’m really lucky to have had a cast [that is] actually representing those same values in real life too!”
Parts of the proceeds from the premiere’s tickets sales will go towards the purchase of art books that will be delivered to some public schools in Grand Cayman. The premiere will also be followed by an after party at West Indies Wine Company where the public will be able to mingle with the cast and crew of the film in a casual atmosphere.
“My way to talk to people is making films. I hope people also want to talk to us, ask questions during the Q&A [after each screening] and meet with everyone involved during the after party as well. It’s important to not only talk about this film in particular but also how we go from here and help the film industry in Cayman grow,” says Pernix.
Tickets for the premiere on Saturday are $15 and available at the Visitors Center in Camana Bay (cash only). The first showing of ‘Canvas’ will be at 7 p.m. and the second at 8 p.m. Each showing will be followed by a Q&A session with the film director and members of the cast.