Focus on Film

The Cayman Islands has served as the backdrop for several documentaries, films, videos and television shows over the past eight decades. Today, the digitisation and democratisation of filmmaking makes it easier to tell Cayman’s myriad stories. Throughout the islands, there is a strong desire to celebrate film through forums and festivals, as well as offer film arts education for all ages


This year, the country unveiled CayFilm, the Cayman International Film Festival, which garnered interest from filmmakers worldwide, bringing in 600 submissions for consideration. CayFilm is designed as an annual event to stimulate interest and excitement about the Cayman Islands as a world-class filming destination. “The vision of the Festival is to open up the Cayman Islands to the film industry around the world whilst opening up the world to Cayman’s young and aspiring filmmakers,” says Tony Mark, the festival director. The event includes daily film screenings, Q&A sessions with filmmakers, panel discussions, workshops, premiere screenings and VIP celebrity gala events. Heldin June, the event attracted actors such as Brian Cox (The Bourne Trilogy), Wes Studi (The Last of the Mohicans), Alexa PenaVega (Spy Kids Trilogy), Carlos PenaVega (Big Time Rush), Rick Gomez (Sin City), Nicky Whelan (The Wedding Ringer) and Reno Wilson (Transformers). Screenwriter James V. Hart (Dracula), filmmaker Paul Schrader (American Gigolo) and Loren Carpenter, co-founder of Pixar Animation Studios, also participated. CayFilm 2016 is set for June 16-19. CayFilm also included established film festivals produced by the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism (CIDOT), Cayman National Cultural Foundation (CNCF) and Cayman Islands Tourism Association



CITA’s International Underwater Film Festival (IUFF) has earned the support of underwater videographers and photographers over the last decade and continues to draw some of the best-known marine conservationists, Scuba Diving Hall of Fame inductees and ocean-enthusiasts from Cayman and abroad. Documentaries, underwater videography, films and shorts are screened at IUFF, showcasing the vibrant world that divers experience beneath the waves, as well as works from respected marine biologists, including Dr.


Travelling Caribbean Film Showcase, or TCFS, first toured here in 2007 when CNCF partnered with the Cuban Institute of Art and Cinematographic Industry’s (ICAIC) TCFS office in Havana. The nonprofit film festival, produced by 27 countries annually and backed by UNESCO and UNICEF, seeks to promote and develop cinema in the Caribbean. Now in its seventh year, the festival is an exciting opportunity for moviegoers who want to see award-winning animated, feature, documentary and short films from the region not readily available in cinemas, online or on DVD. Work from directors such as Rigoberto López, Bruce Paddington, Martine Chartrand, Menelik Shabazz, Perry Henzell, Luciano Blotta, Maria Govan, Frank E. Flowers and Ernesto Padrón has reached the Cayman Islands through the initiative.


Two youth filmmaking competitions that culminate in impressive red carpet premieres include CNCF’s Young Image Makers (YIM) and Cayman Through My Eyes (CTME) produced by CIDOT. In January 2010, CNCF launched Young Image Makers (YIM) Short Film Competition and Workshops with the support of the Cayman Islands Film Commission. To date, a total of 264 films have been entered into the competition, which encourages students ages 10-17 to submit one- to three-minute-long entries in any genre. The resulting smorgasbord of tales aim to shock, educate and entertain while and helping Cayman’s audiences escape the mundane. CTME is part of the Caymankind campaign that was launched in 2010. The themed competition, open to students ages 10-19, calls for original works “based on history, music, people or experiences in the Cayman community.” YIM and CTME offer filmmaking workshops to youth during the competitions. In both competitions, the public votes on the film that receives the People’s Choice Award, and film professionals determine the overall winners, who then get to attend a summer movie camp in New York. If you’re in Cayman during June, mark your calendar to attend the YIM and CTME premieres and possibly meet the next Frank E. Flowers.