All stakeholders, from the respective Caribbean Governments to the private sector to film producers, must get involved if the region is going to build a self-sustaining infrastructure for the film industry.
This is coming from Filmmaker and CEO of Caribbean Tales Worldwide Distribution (CTWD), Frances Anne Solomon who spoke with The Barbados Advocate yesterday, in advance of the third CaribbeanTales FIlm Festival, that will take place at the Island Inn in April.
She said that people are naturally interested in hearing and seeing their own stories being told rather than imported content and the best way to cater to an eager audience is to have filmmakers from the region tell these stories as they know firsthand the issues that are relevant to their people.
Unfortunately, as the situation currently is, there is no proper avenue for filmmakers who make films to get paid or to have full time careers in this industry. This is why one of the critical components of building this infrastructure is financing so that these films can get made, said Solomon.
The film maker stated that other countries have managed to find ways of financing the audio visual industries that is suitable for them, and the Caribbean region needs to come together and do the same. In England, for example, there is a license fee where the government charges £50 per annum for every television owner. In the USA, it is funded by advertising as well as money made from the box office of persons who go to see Hollywood films; in South Africa, it is funded by government investment and advertising and in come countries in South America, money from every ticket purchased by persons who go to the cinema to see films goes back into the various aspects involved in film production such as a marketing fund, a distribution fund and production funding so that filmmakers themselves can continue to make films, explained Solomon.
She made it clear that filmmakers are not asking for handouts, but for strategic support from different parties for the development of this industry. Possible suggestions include incentives whereby the private sector supports the financing of films and the Government gives companies who do this a tax deduction; a small tax being charged on every television sold and/or a small tax charged on every movie theatre ticket purchased.
The CEO said that it is not difficult to find a suitable method as there are many existing models to draw on, but it must start with the various stakeholders showing an interest in seeing the development of this industry because they recognise that it can contribute to the GDP, and once this happens, a vision and a strategy for the sector can then be developed.
Name: CaribbeanTales 2012 @ Island Inn – FIlm Festival, Symposium, Incubator
Date: April 10 – 15 2012
Venue: Venues around Barbados: Island Inn, Aquatic Gap; Frank Collymore Hall, Bridgetown; George Washington House; Olympus Cinemas, Sheraton Mall;