Frank E. Flowers must love nights like this.
Nights where he shares his film to the world. Nights where he shakes hands and listens to how amazed people are when they learn he is only 26-years-old. Nights where he gets to stay at a place like Peter Nygard’s extravagant beach house, which has welcomed great film icons such as Robert De Niro and Sean Connery.
Flowers had to know this was his night, even as the Bahamian skies turned gray and lighting forked over the ocean in the distance. He had to comprehend the metaphor, when minutes before the thunderstorm that delayed the screening of his film ‘Haven’ hit, everything became silent. This was his calm before the storm.
And Frank E. Flowers has to be enjoying every minute of it.
Flowers first started to create a buzz in 2003 when his award-winning short film, Swallow, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. He made the leap to feature films in one try, following up Swallow with his directorial debut in Haven. He immediately noticed the transition from a 25-minute short, with relatively unknown actors, to a 100-minute feature with the likes of Orlando Bloom, Bill Paxton and Anthony Mackie.
“With short films you answer to yourself. You can be narcissistic,” Flowers said. “But, with features you bring in the professionals. Then you’re answering to producers and actors.”
Flowers’ film talents started to bloom when he attended the University of Southern California and majored in film. He wasn’t sure he could make a living at it, so he safely minored in business. Fast-forward a few years and he is kicking off a fundraiser for the second annual Bahamas International Film Festival. With his first feature film, he is now being looked at as one of the rising stars of the Caribbean film movement.
“The Bahamas is at a very exciting forefront for film making,” Flowers said. “Potential is a huge deal for our (Caribbean) culture.”
Culture is something to which Flowers has always stayed loyal. His Cayman Island roots are apparent in ‘Haven’. The film opens up on the island with the clear water splashing up onto a powdery white sand beach. Flowers has helped put the Cayman Islands on the map artistically and has been an intricate part in bringing a surge of cinematic creativity to the Caribbean while launching their newly discovered identity in film. Flowers believes the future is bright for Caribbean filmmakers.
“We can stir up the pot artistically,” Flowers said. “And in film, you’re able to look into yourself, your truth, your culture and your experiences. There is so much going on when people watch movies. You can feel it in the atmosphere.”
‘Haven’ is already being compared to other non-linear and gritty movies such as Pulp Fiction and Amores Perros. Haven, which was both written and directed by Flowers, features an extremely talented cast to compliment an extremely talented director. The shots of Flowers’ home, the Cayman Islands, are beautiful.
Both the supporting and leading acting roles are superbly done with few flaws. Orlando Bloom has transformed from a mere heartthrob to a very notable and gifted actor. Zoë Saldana, who is quickly rising to fame with her talent as much as her beauty, is both brilliant and heartbreaking, playing Bloom’s rich love interest. Their onscreen chemistry is remarkable and you can give just as much credit to Flowers’ directing as you can to the actors.
If Flowers can bring the same energy and diversity that he brought to Haven to his sophomore film The Trespasser, then we are watching Frank E. Flowers blossom into an Botanical-sized garden of talent. He will no longer be enjoying the quiet before his storm of fame and success.
Soon enough, he’ll be the eye of the storm.