A major new Caribbean film hub
By Dana Niland
Is Antigua the new Caribbean Hollywood?
Golden Island Filmworks, an independent feature film finance and production company, has closed on a $125 million equity financing agreement with the government of Antigua and Barbuda that will commit to an initial slate of five feature films and launch Antigua’s long-term commitment to film production.
The newly created venture is run by producer Rudy Langlais, who was born in the West Indies, along with his partners, Caribbean social entrepreneur Valmiki Kempadoo, producer Don Allan, and film executive Neil Sacker.
Kempadoo is best known in the region as the man behind St Kitts and Nevis’ Kittitian Hill project.
“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,” said Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne. “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.”
The arrangement employs a revolutionary film financing model that uses funds generated by the Antigua Citizenship Investment Program, and invests them into the $125 million film slate.
The first five feature films are budgeted between $20 and $85 million, against a cumulative budget of $250 million.
The projects to be produced through this arrangement range from “Rebels,” a journey through the life a of Bob Marley featuring never before revealed stories and music, to “Nick Carter: Killmaster,” based on the long-running espionage franchise.
Portions of all five films will be shot on the island, thereby injecting tens of millions of dollars into the local economy while also fostering employment growth.
“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,” said Ambassador at Large Dr. Joseph John, who was instrumental in structuring the venture. “It brings a whole new industry into Antigua that will affect tourism and culture.”