Last update: 08-Dec-2013 4:55 am
Sunday, December 08, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Business sector urged to invest in local films
Bruce Paddington, founder of the T&T Film Festival (ttff) says its time for the business community and televison stations to play their part in developing the local film industry. “In T&T it is very difficult to make money from films. We are producing more films now, especially short films, but the TV stations are not being helpful with this. We are lucky if they even show these films, let alone pay for the film. Many film makers pay the station to get the film shown which is absolutely crazy,” he said. Paddington spoke to the T&T Guardian at the closing session of a three-day Unesco-sponsored workshop on A sustainable Caribbean Film Industry at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Port-of-Spain. Participants from the film industry were locals and foreigners, including Hollywood producers, he said.
This workshop was one of the events of the ttff which ends tomorrow. Paddington said: “A lot of the tv stations feel they are taking a risk by showing local films, they do not think they can get the advertising support. They can buy a foreign show like Big Bang Theory or Two and a Half Men for very little money, that would have cost millions of dollars to make. But the tv stations here can buy them for US$150. They are saying why should they pay that kind of money, even if it is nothing, for a local production which they say does not have that technical quality and the things associated with a foreign film.” He said getting funding for local films is not easy: “Sometimes they use their own money, sometimes it is through sponsors. The Film Company also gives some grants and recently they have given about $100,000 which is just about the money to cover a local documentary. The Film Company is really one of the main sources of grants and they have supported over 100 films over the last few years,” he said.
Paddington said for the business community to invest in the local film industry there needs to be more success stories. “There have been a few success stories, like Home Again which was shot in Trinidad. We need a few more examples to convince business people to invest money in film and we need the tv stations to pay for the films that they show. We need the cinemas to take a risk as well,” he said. “The tv stations and cinemas are not willing to do it on a voluntary basis and the Government should look into it. The Government should look at some form of quotas and incentives for those organisations that support this,” he said. Paddington also said it is important that other Caribbean countries see T&T films. “Firstly we need tv stations throughout the region to show local films and if you get US$100 or $200 from each country, that would help,” he said.
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