Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 25th 2017 Contents Plans to reinforce hu-
man resource and
capacity, along with
of a medium-term
strategy and the strengthening of a
competitive incentive regime, could
help position T&T's vibrant film
sector at the centre of the region's
Over the past decade, T&T has
hosted more than 320 separate in-
feature films, one-off programmes
and episodes of television series---
with interest in the country as a lo-
cation on the rise.
In January and February alone,
more than 14 overseas film crews
came to shoot in the dual-island
Caribbean nation, with teams travel-
ling from the UK, Canada, Germany,
France, Barbados and the US.
T&T's culture is also gaining trac-
tion as a film-worthy subject, with
nine international crews filming
during this year's Carnival in late
February, according to data issued
in March by the T&T Film Company
(FilmTT), the state agency responsi-
ble for developing the local film and
audio-visual sector, and for promot-
ing the country as a location through
the film commission.
Proposals to strengthen produc-
tion infrastructure and further raise
the industry's international profile
are currently in the pipeline.
In consultation with FilmTT, the
Ministry of Trade and Industry and
state investment promotion agency
InvestTT are studying the feasibility
of developing a production facility
with between three and eight sound
stages ranging in size from 2000 to
20,000 sq feet.
Along with workshops, backlot ar-
eas, equipment repositories, storage
units and offices, the proposal com-
prises post-production and anima-
tion facilities capable of supporting
the development of up to four feature
films at the same time.
The centre would be also able to
provide production support for me-
dium-scale projects, classified as
having budgets of between $3 million
and $15 million, representing a sig-
nificant boost to T&T's filmmaking
infrastructure and capacity.
FilmTT estimates that T&T cur-
rently has the facilities and pro-
fessional skills pool to support the
production of movies with budgets
of up to $5m, as well as the ability
to sustain three major features and
five smaller documentary produc-
tions a year.
At present, the domestic film and
audio-visual industry boasts only
a limited number of skilled profes-
sionals able to complete the pre-,
post- and production phases nec-
essary to develop a film or television
programme; a shortfall that officials
are keen to address.
On-the-job experience has been
the main route to acquiring industry
knowledge, according to Nneka Luke,
the general manager of FilmTT and
the country's film commissioner.
Facilitating this route has been
behind the offer of a 20 per cent re-
bate on certain labour costs incen-
tivising international productions
to hire locals.
"In the longer term, the vision is
to develop standard certification for
people working in the film industry,"
Luke told OBG.
"This would help those who have
excellent practical experience and
ability but lack formal training,
while giving assurances to incoming
producers that our crews are up to
international standards. It is part of
the strengthening of the sector that
we also move to strategically increase
the professional development of our
As well as refunding 20 per cent
of qualifying local labour costs, T&T
offers international producers a cash
rebate of up to 35 per cent on qualify-
ing local expenditures, making it the
most competitive incentive scheme
in the region after Colombia.
Productions with a total spend of
between $100,000 and $8 million
are eligible for refunds. Filmmakers
are also permitted duty-free conces-
sions on machinery and equipment
required for production.
While these incentives have helped
attract foreign film and audio-visual
producers, earlier this year FilmTT
invited proposals for the provision
of consultancy services to develop
a strategic plan for the development
of the industry over the next five to
With a submission deadline of
April 4, 2017, bidders were asked
to provide a plan to shape the local
industry into a viable, profitable and
sustainable sector by 2022.
The official document accompa-
nying the request for proposals also
set out specific targets, including de-
veloping a skilled and certified labour
force to meet the requirements of the
industry; building capacity to main-
tain consistent annual production
for both domestic and internation-
al markets; and making the sector a
significant contributor to GDP.
Regarding the latter aim, FilmTT
expects a stronger film and au-
dio-visual industry to have the
knock-on effect of encouraging
growth in ancillary services, such
as hospitality, catering, transport
and logistics, and financial services.
This T&T economic update was
produced by Oxford Business Group.
MAY 25 • 2017 guardian.co.tt BUSINESS GUARDIAN
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