The Cannes of the Caribbean

Is Aruba turning into the Cannes of the Caribbean?  A few weeks ago, the Aruba International Film Festival wrapped with all the makings of a film festival on the rise:  movie screenings, glittering parties, rock stars, red carpets, paparazzi, fashion reports, Hollywood celebs, and location, location, location.  All the happenings were a stone’s throw from the stunning Caribbean Sea.

Aruba isn’t typically where one goes to catch a movie, but come the last week in June, the island attracts an international crowd and lots of press attention for its upstart film festival.  Aside from some pretty good new films, destined to hit a theatre a bit closer to home, Aruba is also a good place to take in some exciting people watching.  The AIFF is only three years old, but it’s attracting serious wattage.  This year, Ray Liotta was “in town.”  Mark Anthony and Juanes, too, both heartthrobs with a strong South American following.  Both were headliners for musical concerts during the week-long festival.

Divi Resorts, expert at putting out the welcome mat for guests every day of the year, rolled out the red carpet for a bevy of celebrities. The Clubhouse at the Links at Divi was the place to catch a cluster of stars the night of June 28th.  Guests included Oscar and Golden Globe-nominated Virginia Madsen, whose latest turn is in The Magic of Belle Isle, the kick-off film of the festival’s many screenings.  Xavier Samuels, hunky in The Twilight Saga:  Eclipse fame, also joined the crowd at the Divi Clubhouse, along with Juanes, for the closing event for the film festival.

I can’t wait to see what they line up next year for the fourth annual.  Mark you calendar now:  “Make your reservations for the last week in June 2013 at one of the Divi properties in Aruba!”  I hope they bring Juanes back.  Or that he just jets in.  Juanes, famous for his earlier penchant for heavy metal, has won 17 Latin Grammys.   Maybe you saw him in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade a few years ago singing from one of the floats.  Or heard him croon “The Shadow of Your Smile” with Tony Bennett.

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Does the guy in each of the photographs below look familiar?  You’ve probably seen him around Divi Resorts in Aruba.  That’s Alex Nieumyer, Managing Director, on the job for Divi for 18 years.  For all his hard work, dedication and good ideas, he’s earned every night out with the stars.

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