SD. New year, good news, and thegood news have much to do with what’s going on at the Juan Dolio-based film studios. Variety Magazine published last Friday, January 4th, a very praising feature of the Dominican film industry with special reference to how the work has boomed in the world-class facilities, which in the beginning gave away the idea that nothing was going on. It seems that whatever was blocking the production flow from abroad, has been sorted in such a way, that the things are beginning to pan out in 2018.
The work, authored by journalist Anne Marie de la Fuente reminds us than the members of the film community hear the name “Dominican Republic” they see a state-of-the-art film production studio which includes one of the most cutting edge aquatic scene filming facilities in the world, as well as the most sought-after financial incentives nationwide. That film studio es Pinewood Dominican Republic Studios, managed by Lantica Media, as part of a partnership with Pinewood Studios Group. Those incentives include the recent reduction in tax duties to foreign productions developed in the D.R from 27% to just 1.5%. The gross income brought in by this scheme allows for foreign revenue to enter the country under concept of high-number production services.
Ever since the tax reduction became effective, the film studios and the country altogether have experienced a dramatic increase in film production development. “We’ve seen the total of foreign productions increase to six (6) this year, versus an average of one between 2011 -2015, two in 2016, and 4 in 2017”, as stated by Albert Martínez, CEO of Lantica Media. The feature also highlights that the Dominican Republic’s Law on Film Tax Incentives No. 108, offered a transferable credit by 25% to all eligible expenses for in-country produced foreign films, but the high tax withholding was an unpleasant experience for foreign producers, Martinez said. “After much lobbying, we convinced the government to reduce it, and we’ve been booked to an extent never before seen in the previous six years”, he stressed.
The recent TV series developments that have been produced in-studio and in other locations within the Dominican Republic, especially during the summertime, include the BBC-NBC three-part series “The Long Song” about a colored woman under slavery living in Jamaica during British rule in the 180ss, and the Adult Swim film “Tropical Cop Tales”, a made-for-TV comedy which tells the story of two policemen, jaded with their last assignment, a paradise that turned out to be not-so tropical.
Other information published by Variety is that by early 2018, the adaptation of Barry Jenkin’s novel “If Beale Street could talk” was filmed partly in the D.R, as well as in New York.
The sequel to Jenkins’ “Moonlight”, the Oscar=winning drama, tells the story of a pregnant woman living in Harlem, and her struggle to prove her fiancé’s innocence of a recent crime.
Chris Morris, famous for his irreverent drama “Four Lions”, also filmed his likewise provocative dark comedy “The Day shall Come” in the Dominican Republic in summer 2017, and early 2018. The film is produced by See-Saw Films and movie star Anna Kendtrick.
The Netflix Sci-Fi adventure Series “The I-land”, created by Neil La Bute, was also filmed in Pinewood and in other locations around the Dominican Republic, its cast headed by producer/actress Kate Bosworth, Natalie Martínez, and Alex Pettyfer. The series tells the story of 10 people whom wake up one day in a dangerous island with no recollection of who they are nor how they got there.
A little over a year ago, Lantica Media opted to focus on offering studio facility and production services, hence becoming the main -and only- window of opportunity for in-country filming, a window which includes budget development, programming, scouting, and production coordination and management. Customs services, travel and lodging coordination, equipment rental, transportation, catering, casting and security services, as was published by the popular international magazine.’
Praises Galore to the Film Law and More:
The journalist admits that thanks to a Film Law which allows investors in local films to deduct their investment by 100% (subject to a 25% limit on income tax deduction which is otherwise payable), the domestic film industry has also flourished, ranging now from 20 to 30 productions per year, versus an average of two to three movies local films per year, in almost three decades prior to the enforcement of the new Law.
As result, local talent and technical crew demands have grown exponentially, not only in headcount, but also in skills and experience. Pinewood DR continues training the technicians, especially the water tank scenes, which demands high-level training. At least six film schools have been founded, and the state-backed General Film Commission of the D.R (DGCine), has invested in workshops, seminars and A/V courses.
The journalist explains that in November she learned that Netflix was considering developing a production center in London Pinewood Studios, and dropped the hint that it isn’t yet clear whether this new facility will include the Pinewood D.R studio, though the content streaming giant has been seeking to set up shop in Latin America, with Mexico, Colombia or Brazil as potential regional HQ. Well, dreaming is still free of charge, so…. Why not dare to dream?
About Lantica Media:
Lantica Pictures is a film production company based in the Dominican Republic destined to be a leading competitor in the international marketplace. Lantica Pictures develops, finances and produces original content for both English and Spanish language audiences. The company’s upcoming production slate includes the romantic comedy “Cómplices” and the action packed “Ladrones”, both to be distributed by Pantelion. Projects in development for 2015 include three English-language features as well as four additional Spanish-language films.