Talking movie-making and Cayman’s film future with Frank E. Flowers

Travel Industry |

Caymanian screenwriter, director and producer Frank E. Flowers recently secured a deal with Netflix to make his new film, The Bluff, set in the Cayman Islands. Currently based back on Cayman Islands soil, Frank took time out to talk about the movie, his work, and the potential for the Cayman Islands to build a resilient film industry – by taking advantage of the covid-free islands. 

This is not the first time you’ve made a film set in the Cayman Islands. Do you seek out opportunities to make movies with a Caymanian presence?

I love Cayman and all the culture and the characters. So yes, I felt a calling that our stories needed to be told. 

The Bluff is part of a bigger, ambitious mission to tell an authentic Caribbean story that is accessible to audiences around the world. 

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Congratulations on the Netflix deal! What can you tell us about the movie?

Thank you, God is good! It’s a very special story with an amazing team and we cannot wait to bring it to audiences. My co-writer, Joe Ballarini is a brilliant world builder, the producers at Cinestar and AGBO are the best in the world at what they do – the perfect blend of heart and action. And of course Zoe Saldana… What can I say? She is an inspiration to any Caribbean artist and every time we collaborate it’s a privilege. 

 

When do you hope to be filming and what challenges do you anticipate filming on a remote island?

We’re still in the conceptual stage and Joe and I are working on the script. Hopefully filming will be next year. We will take the challenges as they come, Lord willing. 

When did you know you wanted a career in the movie industry?

In a lot of ways I’ve always been a dreamer and I felt like movies were unfolding all around me. As a kid I loved acting and was involved in the Harquail Theatre from a very young age. At about 12 years old we trained through the after-school programme and started working on professional productions by age 14 – doing lighting and stage crew. 

At 16, I learned basic camera work as a news videographer for CITV, and ultimately travelled to USC to study film. 

You’ve worked on all stages of production from screenwriting to producing and directing. Which do you find the toughest?

Writing is the loneliest part of the process – but it’s also the most creative, in a way, because there are no limitations. It’s where dreams can flow out of your brain in a safe atmosphere… you can make mistakes and try bold things, because you can always edit – or choose not to show the draft to others! 

 

 

Might there be opportunities for local residents to get involved in the making of the movie, if it goes ahead here?

Of course! For over a decade I have always encouraged as many Caymanians as possible to work on projects that I’m involved with. Working on set is the only way to get real experience. 

My belief is that for Cayman to have a sustainable film industry it will take a whole village. We’ve been working with the Government and building momentum with local stakeholders to promote this. There are so many stories that need to be told about our three islands, from different perspectives, time periods and genres. 

What advice would you give to young people who are considering pursuing a career in the film industry?

The key, I think, is to have a purpose for what you want to say, a mission, and to have an original voice. Beyond that, it’s a case of working hard, being  disciplined and staying humble. And you need tenacity – you have to stick with it. And then you need the opportunities – but that’s the last piece of the puzzle. 

 

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