Film Commissioner at Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), Renée Robinson, says the local film industry contributed $2.5 billion to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) during the 2018/19 fiscal year.
Robinson explained the film industry has grown exponentially, and that the last few years have been “transformative for the film industry in Jamaica and for the cultural economy as a whole”.
She noted that over the last few years, approximately 150 international productions have been done in the island annually, ranging from music video shoots to large-scale movie productions.
Robinson further asserted that Jamaica’s reputation as a “film-friendly” destination has been a key factor in the increased interest shown by international productions.
“Productions come here not for the tax credits, because we don’t have tax credits. Productions come to Jamaica because they recognise they are getting good value for money and because they know that a film-friendly society exists here,” she argued.
The Film Commissioner also pointed out that there has been a significant increase in the film production expenditure on the island, due to their presence.
“If the entire value of the production costs a certain amount, that is the value of the budget shot in Jamaica in terms of hiring cast, crew, renting equipment and location fees. All of the other auxiliary services, like drivers, transportation, catering and hotels are required for that spend to be in Jamaica,” she explained in an interview with JIS News.
Robinson said Jamaica’s popularity as a production destination has had a significant impact on the local cast and crew, who have garnered valuable experience from the presence of these international productions.
In addition to international film productions, Robinson said there has been an increase in the production of local content.
“We really have been able to see the benefits of that. One of the outputs of having international productions come here is in the training and improved skill sets of some of our Jamaicans working on set. We also see it where Jamaicans are starting to develop our own content,” she said.
Robinson indicated that the quality of the local productions has been gaining attention regionally and internationally.
“Yes, we function as a venue, a destination, but the real outcome, the real goal is in generating local content, ensuring that our practitioners have the skills and resources they need to generate local content and for that content to be commercially viable and investment-ready and ready to be seen, viewed and distributed across international markets,” she added.