Flowers brings Haven back to Cayman

| 06/07/2016
CNS Local Life

Haven director Frankie Flowers and Zoe Saldana (2nd from right), who starred in the movie, and her sisters Cisely and Mariel Saldana, with whom she co-founded production company, Cinestar

(CNS): Almost a decade after premiering Haven, his first feature-length film, in the Cayman Islands, Frankie Flowers returned for a special screening of the movie at a gala to open the Cayman International Film Festival on Friday, 1 July. The main ballroom at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman was packed for the screening, which comes just ahead of the film’s 10th anniversary in September. The filmmaker spoke of the differences between the two events.

“Then it was such a community effort, people worked so hard to make the movie happen, from the local government of the day to the police to the community to people who let us use their homes or who came on as extras,” he recalled.

“The first (screening) was very electric. People were like, ‘This guy’s been baking his cake for two years. What’s it going to taste like?’ Everyone was super-excited.”

The feeling was different this time around. “Now most people have seen the movie or a version of the movie. This time was less about the spectacle and more about the impact; that’s what’s really beautiful and inspiring about this weekend and this screening.”

The movie was different as well; Flowers brought his director’s cut for the screening. “This was my very, very first cut, which was restored from a print that has been in my garage for 10 years,” he said, adding this was the only remaining copy of that cut.

This version is “a little more languid, structurally it’s a little bit different. I think it also explores some of the local characters a little bit more than what was released in the theatres.”

One other change important to the filmmaker was that this version didn’t have subtitles, which the distributor added for the original movie for some of the Caymanian characters.

Flowers said that was a sensitive issue for him, so this time around, “it’s nice to be able to let it play pure for an audience that understands it”.

But he is happy with both cuts overall. “I think both versions are very beautiful and special in their own way.”

Several of the cast members from Haven made the trip to Cayman to support Flowers, participating in a panel discussion ahead of the screening. Zoe Saldana, Anthony Mackie and Victor Rasuk, whose profiles have all risen over the last 10 years, felt it important to attend the event.

Flowers spoke of their support and friendship. “Anthony and Victor and Zoe are like family to me. I consider them some of the closest people in my life. The fact that they were here is no accident. For us to be able to hang out, to celebrate our friendship, our collaboration … was a big driving force for this.”

Saldana, who over the last 10 years has starred in such blockbusters as Avatar, Star Trek and Guardians of the Galaxy, said that tight-budget movies can be difficult “when they are not organised properly, when there is not enough love in it, when the people around it don’t really believe in it and know what they’re doing”, but that wasn’t the case with Haven.

“Everybody that came here really believed in Frankie, believed in his story, not just the actors that said yes to it,” she recalled. “It just felt like a village of people that was so supportive.”

Flowers still feels that connection with the actors 10 years on. “I can’t thank them enough for coming to lend their support, not just of me, but also just to support Cayman and Cayman filmmaking.”

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Category: Arts, Film

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