Antigua-Barbuda launches film financing programme

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Film producer Rudy Langlais (The Hurricane, Sugar Hill) and his partners, Caribbean social entrepreneur Valmiki Kempadoo, Toronto-based producer Don Allan and veteran multi-disciplined film executive Neil Sacker, have closed an equity financing agreement with the government of Antigua and Barbuda that will see $125 million committed to an initial slate of five feature films and represents the launch of Antigua’s long-range commitment to film production, Caribbean News Now reports.

The deal comes through the newly created venture, Golden Island Filmworks, an independent feature film finance and production entity run by Rudy Langlais, who was born in the West Indies, and his partners, Sacker, Kempadoo and Allan. The first five feature films, individually budgeted between $20 million and $85 million, against a cumulative budget of $250 million, will be produced through Golden Islands Filmworks in collaboration with the government of Antigua and Barbuda.

The arrangement serves as a first-of-its-kind film financing model that uses funds generated by the Antigua citizenship investment programme. Funds collected from the citizenship programme will be invested into the $125 million film slate.

Antigua and Barbuda ambassador at large Dr Joseph (Joey) John, who for eight years had been enticing Rudy Langlais to make films in the Caribbean, was instrumental in structuring the Antigua-based venture and will continue to work on all components and phases of development and production associated with the film slate. John is currently special consultant to the prime minister on the citizenship by investment programme and investment.

Through this venture, Antigua aims to establish itself as the centre for film production in the Caribbean. A portion of all films on this slate will be shot in Antigua, which will inject tens of millions of dollars back into the local economy and foster employment and growth.

The films that will be produced through this arrangement range from Rebels, a story of four unique individuals from tough upbringings in the 70s who come together as friends to discover and contribute to the rise of iconic musician, Bob Marley, to the launch of the Nick Carter: Killmaster espionage franchise, based on the longest-running franchise in US book publishing history, producing 261 books over 30 years and selling more than 30 million copies.

Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne, in introducing the new venture, said: “Welcome to the start of this new day in the history of my nation, the Caribbean and worldwide cinema – the further transformation of Antigua and Barbuda as the economic powerhouse of the Caribbean through the power and art of film. We are welcoming the leading directors, actors and filmmaking technicians of the world to Antigua and they are coming to create exciting films that capture the beauty, mystery, history and complexity of our country, our history, our people.”

Langlais said, “My partners and I had a dream more than ten years ago, that the Caribbean, which has produced brilliant statesmen like Alexander Hamilton, Nobel Prize-winning poets and novelists, Walcott and Naipaul, legendary athletes like Sobers and Richards and Bolt, and perhaps the world’s greatest cultural icon in Bob Marley, should add its ‘voice’ now to filmmaking. We have wanted to join our colleagues around the world to share our stories and join in telling stories together. Now that time is here. Exciting films will come of this collaboration.”

Commented John, “Of all the projects that I have had the privilege of bringing to Antigua, this project has the potential to create the biggest impact on both the economy and the social transformation of Antigua. It brings a whole new industry into Antigua that will affect tourism and culture.”

For the original report go to http://www.caribbeannewsnow.com/topstory-Antigua-Barbuda-launches-film-financing-programme-27591.html

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