News Americas Now, NEW YORK, NY, Monday, February 23, 2015: Vice President for Export and Market Development at Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), Robert Scott, says the country can reap tremendous benefits from development of the local film industry, including tapping into the trillion-dollar global movie-making market.
He said that in addition to honing local talent, the island can attract a huge chunk of the production budget, estimated at 30 per cent of the approximately US$ 1.2 trillion international film business.
“So that means if we are attracting a film here (in Jamaica), whatever is spent, 30 per cent of that could remain in the economy and we would be able to utilize our own skilled people. We know that films being shot in other places in the Caribbean, they draw on the expertise of Jamaicans whether for sound, lighting or camera work and these people get the opportunity to continue to develop their skills, which is a significant benefit,” he said.
Scott, who was addressing a recent JIS Think Tank, also pointed to opportunities for investment, employment, and the promotion of brand Jamaica.
“If you look at the element of tourism, just the virtue of having films here become a pull and a magnet for persons to come to Jamaica and experience what they are seeing on the film…when you look at the careers involved in the industry – scriptwriting, animation, directing, acting, cosmetology –there are so many other skills that are needed just for the film and several people gaining employment,” he noted.
Scott said that Jamaica is ahead of many other countries in the region in terms of the development of the film industry. “We have had over 3,000 films shot in Jamaica so we have producers, directors with over 40 years of experience,” he noted.
JAMPRO, through its Film Commission, is mandated to facilitate activities within the industry to increase investment, export, employment and foreign exchange earnings.
The agency’s next major initiative will be the staging of the inaugural Jamaica Film Festival slated for July 7-11 in Kingston.
The festival is aimed at: attracting local and international investors to boost the local film industry; encouraging more local productions and showcasing of Jamaican content; increasing the sale and distribution of local film and television content; and attracting visitors to Jamaica.