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Global shooting in Dominican Republic, Off the blacklist?

The Dominican Republic looks like it would be great place to film. It  has visually arresting array of white sand beaches, tropical forests and  Spanish Colonial architecture, along with cheap labor, economical  accommodations and seven international airports. Yet aside from brief  shoots for a handful of features, including 2006′s “Miami Vice” and “The  Good Shepherd” and 2009′s “Fast & Furious,” and a recent visit by  the reality TV show “The Real Housewives of New Jersey,” it’s been  virtually ignored by Hollywood. In the meantime, projects have been  flocking to neighboring Puerto Rico to take advantage of its production  incentive, which includes a 40% tax credit for payments to residents and  an additional 20% tax credit for non-resident salaries.

But the  Dominican Republic is fighting back. Last year, it created an incentive  of its own featuring 25% transferable tax credit for all local above and  below the line production costs for film and TV projects with a minimum  in-country spend of $500,000. And soon it will have something Puerto  Rico doesn’t have: a major soundstage facility.

Last February,  construction began on Pinewood Indomina Studios, a $50 million complex  about 40 miles east of the capital Santo Domingo. Set to open in the  third quarter of 2012, the 35-acre site will initially have 5,000 square  meters (53,819 square feet) of soundstages, 161,458 sq. ft. of  production support facilities and an 640 sq. mile water effects facility  featuring a 246 feet by 246 feet exterior water tank with natural ocean  horizons.

Indomina Group vice chairman and CEO Jasbinder Singh  Mann says before starting construction, a study was commissioned  comparing the two territories, which showed that when the variables are  factored in (including the price of goods and services), the cost of  shooting in the Dominican Republic should be 15% less than in Puerto  Rico.

If the Dominican Republic has one major disadvantage, it’s a  lingering reputation for corruption and instability. For many years ,  the country was considered a blacklisted location in Hollywood due to an  incident involving the 1990 film “Havana,” starring Robert Redford.  Filmmakers cut a deal to shoot on the island with one government  official, then when production wrapped, they were presented another less  favorable deal by another official.

Dominican Republic film  commissioner Ellis Perez acknowledges the “Havana” incident, but insists  there are now safeguards in place to prevent similar problems.

“I  know we are now on test,” Perez says. “People are watching us to see  whether we are able apply the law correctly and deliver. (But) I expect  that we will have an explosion of filmmaking in the Dominican Republic  next year.”

Source: Dominican Watch Dog

Category: DR News |

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Last updated January 21, 2018 at 12:31 AM
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