Saturday, April 20, 2024

Call for film commission

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The growth and development of Barbados’ emerging film industry hinges on the establishment of a film commission and enactment of the Cultural Industries Bill, says Douglas Newton, director of the Bridgetown Film Academy.
Newton said a number of young actors, producers and directors were eager to showcase their work locally and worldwide but despite public interest, they were unable to access funding due to a lack of institutional awareness and confidence in the sector.
“We at the ground level have the talent and the directors and the people who are bursting with creativity and ready to roll,” he told BARBADOS BUSINESS AUTHORITY last Monday after the launch of the third CaribbeanTales Film Festival.
“The cost of production in Barbados is really high and I think that getting the relevant funding in place would help to ease things and move things forward.
“Because of the fact that the Cultural Industries Bill is not in place . . . companies are not yet that secure in terms of funding certain projects, because a lot of the relevant things that should be in place for them to benefit as an institution are not there yet,” he said, citing tax write-offs as an example.
“As as producer, you find that when you go to a location or you want to do a particular shoot, the awareness of the film industry is not that wide in certain institutions so permission and so on may take a while,” he said.
Newton noted, however, that if Barbados had a film commission, as is the case in a number of countries in the region, film-makers would have an easier time getting the permission they need.
“Companies would understand that this is something that is really going to move the industry forward and that they too can benefit when they partner with a production company,” he said.
The film-maker said he believed Government was “mindful” of the industry’s needs but “getting legislation in place is a long process”.
Among the other challenges he identified was the high cost of labour in Barbados and the high duties on imported equipment.
“We want our films to show not just locally but internationally [but] if you want a certain level of production value that would be accepted internationally, you have to pay for certain services and those special services are going “to be costly,” he said.

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