By Lindsey Turnbull
Possessing an artistic flair that has shone from an early age, 22-year-old Jazz Pitcairn is currently putting her creative talents to exciting use, having recently landed a job at Apple TV+, working as the assistant to Executive Producing Director, Silas Howard. This makes Jazz the only Caymanian since Frankie Flowers and the only Caymanian female to have achieved such success at the level she has in the industry at such a young age.
As a youngster Jazz loved to dance, travelling to perform with the Barnes Dance Academy and winning several NCFA awards for dance and piano during her early school years. A multi-talented musician, Jazz plays the piano, saxophone, clarinet, flute and violin. An early leader, Jazz participated in Model United Nations (MUN), travelling to Yale University and Budapest for MUN conferences. Her participation in the Global Young Leaders Conference in 2014 took her to Washington and New York.
A member of the Cayman Drama Society since 2009, Jazz acted in Annie, and worked as backstage crew on several productions. Graduating from Cayman Prep and High School and then Trinity College School in Canada, Jazz began her film career early on, having been nominated for Best Local Filmmaker in 2016 for her first film, Missing at the Cayman International Film Festival, and then working on Luna’s Ring (dir.Badir Awe, 2018), Tocsin (dir. Frank Flowers, 2018), and In This Moment (dir. Frank Flowers, 2020).
"From a young age, I have been in love with storytelling. Whether through dance, theatre or art and music, " she said. "I remember watching Leroy Holness in Rundown at a young age at the Harquail Theatre. He is hilarious. So talented. I was inspired to bring that same level of entertainment to mass audiences around the world. I started writing plays, which quickly turned into screenplays about life in Cayman. We live in such a vibrant, diverse, and unique community...I wanted to tell our stories.”
From 2017-2018 Jazz attended Northeastern University, and studied abroad in Rome, Italy. Attending Northeastern gave her a different perspective of filmmaking, and the ways in which movies shape culture, and vice versa. Her efforts there creating a short film, Pinion saw it being selected for the Northeastern University Campus Movie Fest. From 2018 to 2021 Jazz attended New York University (NYU), eventually earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts Film and Television Degree and a minor in Entertainment Business. She graduated Summa Cum Lade with a 3.95/4 GPA. While attending NYU she completed internships at a host of studios including CNBC, CBS, Bravo, HBO and A24, learning the ropes of her profession. During her time at NYU (one of the best film-making schools in the world), Jazz wrote/directed/produced five short films, directed two episodes of student television shows and produced nine short films, many of which were selected for student film exhibitions and awards.
“To assist my parents with the costs, I worked full time at NYU in Residence as a Resident Assistant. This experience inspired my first television pilot. It got great feedback and exposed me to producers and agents. I also interned every semester I was eligible in order to make some money and gain experience to best position me for life post-graduation,” she confirmed.
Currently, Jazz works as the assistant to Silas Howard, an executive producer, and director of the Apple TV+ show, Dickinson (starring Hailee Steinfeld and Jane Krakowski).
“This opportunity came through the recommendation of a professor who was impressed with my work,” she advised.
Silas Howard started in filmmaking with his first feature By Hook or By Crook (Sundance 2002), made with Harry Dodge. His credits include Pose, Dickinson, Transparent, This is Us, High Maintenance, and his most recent feature A Kid Like Jake. Last week, Variety predicted that Howard would be nominated for an Emmy in the Outstanding Director for a Comedy Series category this year.
“Jazz has been instrumental to my success this season on Dickinson. She’s quick, witty, smart, and talented. I rely on her to help me prep and conceptualize my vision for the show. It won’t be long before she has a television series of her own,” Silas said.
"Cayman is such an incredible community of artists and filmmakers,” Jazz said. “Frankie Flowers for example has been an incredible inspiration of mine. He left Cayman to pursue his dreams, and succeeded. He has since made it a priority to give back to the Cayman filmmaking community and has been a great mentor of mine. Other Caymanian writers and producers like Brittany Suzanne Kelly and Badir Awe have been instrumental in my development in the local filmmaking world. I can't wait to mentor other Caymanians who are interested in filmmaking.”
Jazz said her experience as a producer's assistant on the Apple TV+ show, Dickinson, has showed her that she has a knack for producing, as well as writing and directing.
“I have some exciting opportunities lined up for myself in the producing world over the next few months. I can't divulge what they are at the moment, but once I can, I will be incredibly excited to share that with Cayman,” she stated. ‘Like Frankie Flowers and Grace Gealey, my dream is to build a brand that we celebrate as Caymanian and see how this can be used to continue to grow our islands globally.”
Jazz said she was so fortunate to have her parents John and Theresa Pitcairn behind her all the way.
“I couldn’t be more grateful for such kind, supportive, and hard-working parents. Their ‘no foolishness’ attitude to parenting only inspires me to work harder every day. My siblings Jade, David and I have been fortunate to have them,” she confirmed.
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Well this was such an exciting "Read", and truly had to comment on this very smart talented Jazz, but most of all to CONGRATULATE her very proud parents Theresia n John, but to salute and encourage Jazz to keep climbing the ladder as she is on the right road, to help her fellow Young Caymanians to keep reaching for the Stars...
Congratulations to you Jazz, you make all Caymanians proud. I wish you all the success in the world, the sky is the limit. May God bless you.
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Mario Rankin21 May, 2021
It is such a pleasure reading this article as another example by a young caymanian breaking through on the international stage giving inspiration to other's to continue reaching for the stars........
Congratulations on your success and vision you have for paying it forward in the future by mentoring and helping others along their paths...this makes me feel absolutely awesome knowing we are in good hands with persons like yourself..... god bless