The Islands of Aruba, Curacao, The Cayman Islands, Haiti, Trinidad and Tobago and The Bahamas will be represented in the Aruba International Film Festival Spotlight.

The inaugural Aruba International Film Festival, which kicks off Thursday, has unveiled a spotlight series to showcase 15 films from Caribbean film-makers.

The spotlight series will run the afternoon of June 6 at five festival cinemas. The Islands of Aruba, Curacao, The Cayman Islands, Haiti, Trinidad and Tobago and The Bahamas will be represented. Over half the films will be in Papiamento, Others in English, Spanish, Creole and Dutch. 

AIFF co-founder and executive producer Jonathan Vieira said: “Although the Film Festival will show films from the four corners of the world, it hasn’t forgotten its roots. Caribbean films have a unique outlook, and a cinematic style that differs from those in other parts of the world. We want to spotlight that singularity.”

Two films have been made by Arubans studying abroad, Aaron Hose at the University of Central Florida presents Voices in the Clouds, and Jo Henriquez from NYU presents Sunday.

Also, work will be shown from emerging filmmakers working in Aruba, including Shamira Rapaela’s Salt in My Eyes, and Mariangela Kijkhof’s Un Pida Baranca.

Other selections include Haiti project Of Men and Gods; Dutch/Aruban director Jon Karthaus’ friendship drama Heb Het Lief; Curacao-set romantic period drama Ava and Gabriel; baseball documentary Boys of Summer; and Show Me Your Motion from the Bahamas.

AIFF Artistic Director Claudio Masenza added: “I am genuinely impressed that the members of the local film community, the Caribbean Film Foundation, along with the Aruban Department of Culture, can come together to make such an important contribution to the Festival.  It shows that the development of the film industry in the Caribbean has a great future.”

As previously reported, the festival kicks off Thursday with a screening of Hachiko with festival guest Richard Gere in attendance. It will close June 11 with The Duplass Brothers’ Cyrus.