Christopher Martin and Karian Sang in a scene from the movie Destiny.
JAMPRO, the State promotion agency, facilitated about $900 million in spending on creative projects over nine months this fiscal year, or 7.5 per cent higher than the entire 2013 fiscal year.
However, the jobs facilitated over the period dropped by nearly half to 1,212, according to data revealed by Robert Scott, vice-president, export and market development at Jampro, in his recent address at the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) Conference held at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston.
The budgets of 88 creative industry projects — which included film, dance, photography and related sectors — financed and spent the bulk of these monies. Interestingly, the projects over the nine months already equal the number recorded over 12 months a year earlier.
“Things are happening in the industry but there is an opportunity for greater investment and greater alignment between capital and the skills. We have wonderful ideas and stories that Jamaicans have to tell,” Scott stated.
“We must tell our story, whether as an animator or filmmaker. Where is our story about Miss Lou? Where is our story about Maas Ran? Many people here do not have a clue what I am talking about,” he said.
Scott dissagregated the spend, indicating that linkage contracts totalled $690 million and capital expenditure totalled $230 million year-to-date. This compared with $671 million and $166 million, respectively, in fiscal year 2013, he indicated.
“The linkages mean how much of these projects from overseas actually consume resources locally. This includes the hairdressers, the caterers and other persons,” Scott explained, then appealed for more local creative projects. “For every person coming in we would like to have an equal number of persons coming to do projects locally.”
One of the major projects for the year included the film Destiny by director Jeremy Whittaker, chief executive of Grasshopper Productions.
Destiny, recently released in local theatres, created over 370 part-time jobs for four months during production, according to Whittaker in his address at the conference. These included cinematographers, set designers, security, grips, line producers, costume designers, and production assistants. Whittaker added that post-production work was done in Canada, which offers an opportunity for the creation of Caribbean post-production houses.
“The industry will create perceptive entrepreneurs, cultural ambassadors, and global brands whose exploits can internationalise the Caribbean entertainment sector,” he told the conference.
In 2013, the Government received criticism for allowing Trinidad & Tobago to facilitate a US$4-million film on Jamaica called Home Again. The film, which depicted challenges faced by individuals after deportation, was effectively snubbed by Government despite Jampro apparently expressing an interest, according to the writer/co-producer Jennifer Holness in an earlier Jamaica Observer interview.
Published Date: February 4th, 2015
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