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Jamaican government to establish Screen Fund

March 8, 2023
Photo: JIS

CMC – The Jamaica government says it establish a one billion dollar (One Jamaica dollar=US$0.008 cents) Jamaica Screen Fund to provide financing for the development and production of film and television (TV) shows in the country.

Finance and Public Service Minister Dr. Nigel Clarke, speaking at the start of the budget debate on Tuesday, said the Andrew Holness government will continue to support the growth of a local film, television, and animation industry.

He told legislators that the Fund will be established in partnership with the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce and that the one billion dollars, which is an initial amount, will be provided over two years, with J$500 million in 2023/24.

Clarke said that the Fund will enable creatives to devote time and sweat equity to developing their projects to the point where they can receive financing. He said this includes, for example, writing a feature script or a TV series pilot script, producing a short film as proof of concept, or producing a teaser video as proof of concept for animation.

Clarke said the Jamaica Screen Fund will also support production of films locally by providing a defined percentage of the production costs up to a maximum contribution for local productions, with other percentages and thresholds for foreign films being shot in Jamaica once certain criteria are met.

He said that the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce will be responsible for governance arrangements, which will be multi-stakeholder, with the Minister, Aubyn Hill, publishing the rules of the Jamaica Screen Fund, along with guidance on how to access grants and financing, inclusive of what is expected of writers, creatives, and production companies, which receive support.

Clarke explained that the resources for the Fund will remain with the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service to be drawn down in tranches once the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce approves eligible projects that have completed and fulfilled the application requirements.

The Minister, in noting the potential of the film industry, said that creative content production can make a significant contribution to Jamaica’s economy and to gross domestic product (GDP) growth.

He said that film and television involve the employment of skilled production crew, technicians, support and logistics staff behind the camera and talented cast in front.

“Hundreds of persons can be employed in a single production for months at a time. In addition, the production of film and television generates indirect and spin-off economic impact through the provision of goods and services required and spending in the local economy,” Clarke told the Parliament.

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