The Islander, a Hollywood production filmed in Cyprus starring Harry Connick Jr, recently locked an agreement with film sales agents during its presence at the American Film Market.
This, according to Director & Head of Filming at Invest Cyprus Lefteris Eleftheriou, is a huge success for the movie.
“Right now the film is at the American Film Market (AFM), the biggest after Cannes,” he explained. “And this is the biggest success about it; that they locked an agreement with film sales agents. This is not something that all films achieve, even films produced by the big studios. This alone is a huge success for the movie.”
He added, “And of course there is the presence of Harry Connick Jr, who is a big actor. Some of the songs in the film were written especially for the film by Connick himself.”
AFM is the premier film acquisition, development and networking event where more than $1b in distribution and film financing deals are closed each year on completed films and those in every stage of development.
Filming of The Islander wrapped in the summer but the film hasn’t been released yet. It is about a down-on-his-luck rock star, who moves to a remote cliffside house on an island, only to discover his new home has an unfortunate notoriety. Through a series of charming mishaps, it turns out maybe love can be found right where he left it.
The film is written, directed and produced by Stelana Kliris under her Cyprus-based Meraki Films banner. It is also produced by Jupiter Peak Productions, Steven Shapiro, and Keith Arnold, with the support of the Cyprus Deputy Ministry of Culture, and the Cyprus Film Commission’s incentives scheme. Alongside Connick, it stars Agni Scott, Ali Fumiko Whitney and Tony Demetriou.
“We are very happy because many Cypriots worked on the film, around 70-80 Cypriots if not more,” said Eleftheriou. “This gave them a lot of experience as it was a movie of Hollywood standards. It shows a lot of our island’s beauty, it was filmed in Peyia and Kaimakli. There was a beautiful neighbourhood with stone houses. It shows beautiful scenery from our country and I believe it is going to have a lot of success as a production.”
The Cyprus Film Commission, who Eleftheriou is a member of, saw a private screening of the film to give the final seal of approval. “We enjoyed it, it’s really good,” he said.
Earlier this week, the Ministry of Finance sent a request to parliament for the release of funds to reimburse the producers of The Islander, to the tune of €664,711, in line with Cyprus’ cash rebate scheme to bolster the local audiovisual industry.
As for future productions, Eleftheriou said there is one more currently under examination, though he couldn’t reveal any details yet. Other than that, two reality shows have just been completed on the island, one by Paramount and another by Warner Bros, while a TV series based on the 1980s feature film Shirley Valentine is expected to be completed soon. “This was 100% shot in Cyprus and we are expecting it soon,” he explained.
Meanwhile, a delegation from Invest Cyprus recently returned from the Thessaloniki Film Festival, where Eleftheriou said they had some very contacts. “We saw filmmakers from Germany, Serbia, Italy, Slovenia and of course Greece, as well as others. We discussed many projects that could come to Cyprus and we showed how attractive Cyprus is as a film destination.”