Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 16th 2013 Contents BG8 NEWS
BUSINESS GUARDIAN www.guardian.co.tt MAY 2013 • WEEK THREE
The T&T Film Company (TTFC), in developing
its mandate to build a national film industry,
needs the private sector s support, said chief
executive officer Carla Foderingham. The TTFC
has several finance programmes to support
"Our focus is to develop the national film industry and it
cannot be developed wholly by the injection of state funds,
it really needs the support of the private sector. We need the
buy in and support of the corporate sector," she told the
Business Guardian last Thursday at her office, Bretton Hall,
Victoria Avenue, Port-of-Spain.
Some of the main objectives of the TTFC include generating
revenue and employment within the sector, assisting local
producers to access funding for the production and distribution
of their products and the responsibility for marketing and
promotion of the T&T film industry in the international mar-
She gave options available for financing.
"The TTFC makes calls for applications from producers
and filmmakers for funding to help their production and write
their scripts. We are also responsible for incentives. There is
a 35 per cent incentive cash rebate that is for T&T filmmakers
once the money is spent in T&T. In February that was increased
by 15 per cent more. The T&T filmmaker only has to spend
$100,000 to get 35 per cent cash back," she said.
She described the relationship between banks and the creative
"The banks do not usually consider the creative industry
as solid credit as a block factory and because our films are
not seen on local channels or at the movies, we do not have
an appetite or business sense of that industry."
She spoke about collaboration with the Ministries of Trade
and Finance to boost incentives.
"The incentives that have been proposed by the state was
an incentive of 150 per cent tax incentive. This is managed
by the Ministry of Arts and Multiculturalism in terms of the
certification process. However, the TTFC is of the view that
there are certain tweaks we are making in line with the Ministry
of Trade, in association with the Ministry of Finance, to make
the incentive more robust."
The Production Assistance Development Grant Funding
Programme, started in 2004, has produced more than 100
productions: features, documentaries, many of which award
winning, she said.
Foderingham believes the industry is still at an early stage.
"T&T has not had a history of developing the creative sector.
It was only in 2007 the TTFC was staffed. So from 2007 to
now, we have been funding productions every year. Before the
TTFC, where else could they go?" she asked.
Despite the challenges of the young film industry, T&T is
being increasingly used as a site for local and international
The Canadian film Home Again, shot in T&T last year, is
a story about Jamaicans who were deported back to the land
of their birth. Filming locations included the Piarco International
Airport, Sea Lots and Long Circular Mall. More than 100 local
actors took part.
Hip hop star Nicki Minaj, who is of Trinidadian heritage,
did her Pound the Alarm music video shoot in Trinidad last
year. The 75-minute documentary Hero, on Ulric Cross, the
T&T-born World War II war fighter, has also used T&T for
An enabling environment
She pointed to the national economic benefits of a building
a strong local film industry.
"If you look at the indicators that could define development,
you are speaking about employment, foreign exchange, levels
of investment, you want to ensure there is an enabling envi-
ronment to support the growth of the industry, and you want
to ensure there is robust legislation, robust incentives to be
able to lift and carry the industry," she said.
Speaking about graduates from University of the West Indies
(UWI) BA Film programme, she raised the issue of where these
graduates would go on completion of their UWI training.
"The sector here is not as old as Hollywood. They want to
work in production companies. The goal is for us to build a
cadre of directors, producers, production managers. We want
to keep them at home and help them develop their own stories,
create their own production and animations and find all plat-
forms for the screening and exhibition of the work that would
allow them to enjoy revenue."
Foderingham spoke about the possibilities for distribution.
"Should we be speaking about having films for sale in a
place like Hi-Lo? Bookstores?" she asked.
She said Market Facts and Opinions polls indicate the T&T
television viewing public love local content.
Speaking specifically about the Danielle Dieffenthaller-pro-
duced and directed series, The Reef, Foderingham said: "Around
2008, her series was judged as the best on television over
Young and Restless, Bold and Beautiful and other foreign
She said T&T is behind bigger countries that have developed
their industries long ago---Canada, India, Mexico--- and are
now benefitting. T&T needs to catch up quickly.
"We are like entrants into this game," Foderingham said.
"It has been played out for a long time."
T&T Film Company to private sector:
Build local industry
The high-calibre speakers who will be present
at this year s Caribbean Investment Forum (CIF)
are intended to make T&T a more attractive
destination for investment, said Kelvin Mahabir,
"The distinguished speakers and panelists will
bring leading-edge thinking and practices which
allow us to further augment our investment cli-
mate and value propositions to make T&T and
the region, an attractive investment destina-
He was speaking at Tuesday s official launch
of CIF at the Hyatt Regency Trinidad hotel,
Port-of-Spain. The theme of the CIF, now in
its third year, is Caribbean Competitiveness: The
Nexus of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and
will take place on June 10 and 11 at the Hilton
Trinidad Hotel and Conference Centre, St Ann s.
Mahabir said the CIF will serve as a platform
for different business persons and investors to
"Caribbean businessmen and the industry
experts have the opportunity to showcase the
competitive advantages that their businesses
and countries have to offer the potential investor.
It is an avenue for direct engagement of inter-
national counterparts and a direct link to new
projects and investments profiles," he said.
This year s CIF will have a strong focus on
"strong Latin" economies, he said.
"CIF 2013 will allow invesTT to market the
country and the targeted sectors to potential
investors from all parts of the world."
Mahabir said foreign participation and investors
are expected from the United States, Canada,
Poland, United Emirates, India, Korea, Ghana,
South Africa, Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela and
the Caricom territories.
The Ben and Jerry success story
The feature speaker at the CIF will be Ben
Cohen, co-founder of the world-famous Ben
and Jerry s Ice Cream.
Anthony Aboud, chairman, Trade and Invest-
ment Convention (TIC), hopes other businesses
can learn from Ben and Jerry s experience.
"The founder of Ben and Jerry s ice cream,
the story of their start up, eventual success and
community-oriented approach to business will
provide a model for anyone wanting to get into
business to emulate. It will be a very rousing
two days of high energy and impactful discus-
Cohen s feature address will be entitled, Ben
and Jerry s Homemade: A Radical Business Phi-
According to information from the CIF sec-
retariat, Cohen helped to build a store front ven-
ture into a US$300 million ice cream empire
through creative management.
In 1977, Cohen left different schools and jobs
he held to fulfil his dream with his friend, Jerry
Greenfield, of building a food business. The two
eventually settled on ice cream. After a year the
duo opened the first Ben and Jerry s Homemade
ice cream parlour in Vermont, United States, in
Cohen s presentation at the CIF opening is
intended to help understand how his business
became successful and his business model, which
is premised on "profits, people and the plan-
Another key presenter will be Mark Romoff,
president and chief executive officer of the Cana-
dian Council for Public Private Partnerships
"He will elaborate on the Canadian model,
which promotes innovative approach, infrastruc-
ture, development and service delivery through
public and private partnership at all levels of
government," Aboud said.
PHOTO: SHIRLEY BAHADUR
Ben and Jerry's co-founder for CIF 2013
PHOTO: SHIRLEY BAHADUR
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