Saturday, February 24, 2018

Don't interfere with profitable film company

THIS is an open letter to Vasant Bharath,

Minister of Trade, Industry and Investment.

Sir, over 30 members of the film and television community met on December 6 to discuss the decision by Corporation Sole (the Government of Trinidad and Tobago) to change the name of the Trinidad and Tobago Film Company to the Trinidad and Tobago Creative Industries Company. We have noted in the press and from feedback from various "consultations" over the last few weeks, that for strategic financial reasons the Government wishes to reconfigure the creative industries sector within the next few weeks. We who have, collectively, hundreds of years of experience and commercial successes in the local and regional film and television sector, would like to clarify our position on certain issues. We suggest that:

1. the name Trinidad and Tobago Film Company (TTFC) be retained; in good business practice, the change of name is a reductive step as the brand TTFC has gained significant ground in national, regional and international fora;

2. business continue as usual for the TTFC as it has been a successful model economically, educationally, technically and in terms of capacity building. For example, TTFC has awarded approximately $9,000,000 in grants which has assisted in the production of 137 local films, and over $35,000,000 in revenue was generated due to TTFC's facilitation of over 180 international film and TV crews. It is therefore squarely a fulcrum for significant income generation;

3. if the TTCIC be formed it be formed as a stand-alone lateral company with a mandate for entrepreneurship;

4. the TTFC continue its mandate as outlined in its Strategic Plan (2012-2016) which has been consulted and negotiated extensively with all its stakeholders.

The TTFC has made an invaluable contribution to the development and growth of the Trinidad and Tobago film industry since its inception in 2006. We are now at the point where our 100 per cent locally-made films are winning international awards and the TTFC is receiving Hollywood-scale attention in the form of requests for expenditure in the range of US$250,000,000.

Historically, the most financially successful film and/or television companies focus squarely on the business of filmmaking or television production and leave other sectors alone.

We expect that you will take into consideration our position as articulated herein.

Film and Television Stakeholders

of Trinidad and Tobago