CARIBBEAN: India to help Jamaica develop film industry

A report from St. Lucia News Online.

Indian High Commissioner to Jamaica Shri Sevala Naik yesterday expressed an interest in helping to develop the Jamaican film industry by offering scholarships and internships to interested Jamaicans.

Though nothing has been officially implemented, the diplomat welcomed the suggestion that through India’s booming film industry, known as Bollywood, his country could offer assistance to Jamaica.

“Film scholarships are not there, but we can develop a model and we can take it up with my Government. There has been no expression of interest from Jamaicans, but I can explore this opportunity. I will be more than happy to help the Jamaican film industry to go and study,” Naik told reporters and editors at the Jamaica Observer Monday Exchange at the newspaper’s Kingston offices.

He also encouraged interested parties to submit proposals to the Indian High Commission.

“In India most of the cinema acting schools are owned by the private sector, but in the Government sector there are certain drama schools where you all can go and spend three months, six months, or one year,” he said.

In January 2016, Bollywood — the Hindi-language part of the Indian film industry based in the city of Mumbai — was valued at US$2.32 billion and was expected to grow by 11 per cent in 2017 to US$2.89 billion, according to the Digitization & Mobility: Next Frontier of Growth for M&E report from accountancy firm Deloitte and the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India.

In recent times, Bollywood has gained popularity in Jamaica with the introduction of television shows and movies.

The high commissioner pointed out that when he took office last August, a delegation of Indian filmmakers visited the island to scope its potential. He said he organised meetings between the Indian filmmakers and Jampro (Jamaica Promotions Corporation) and the Indians visited many locations.

The filmmakers, he said, left with a positive note. “They’re supposed to come this month for the second round of discussions,” he continued.

According to Naik, the Indian film industry has mostly filmed in countries that offer incentives to film crews.

“Bollywood mostly have gone into Europe and then now into south-eastern countries. They all have different locations based on the facilities offered by the host countries. For instance, the UK offers about 50 per cent discount on the spending,” he stated.

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