FILMCO responds to the 2017/ 2018 budget

5th October 2017

5th October, 2017

The Filmmakers Collaborative of Trinidad and Tobago (FILMCO) notes the supplemental increase in allocation to The Film Company of Trinidad and Tobago (FilmTT) – to TT$2.5 million – in the budget presentation by the Honourable Minister of Finance Colm Imbert for the 2017/2018 financial year. Whilst we welcome this as a step in the right direction and are cognizant of the fiscal challenges currently being experienced throughout all sectors of the economy, we strongly urge greater consideration for the role a sustainable Film Industry and creative sector can play as a viable generator of foreign exchange, and in achieving the oft-stated goal of economic diversification.

FILMCO believes that persistent inadequate investment levels in the Film Industry by the government, coupled with abstract and arbitrary policy changes or initiatives, have served to frustrate industry stakeholders, stymied efforts at growth and expansion of the industry, and damaged our ability to attract sustained levels of private sector or direct foreign investment.

FILMCO urges the government to allow the Board and Management of FilmTT greater autonomy as this will greatly reduce bureaucratic and time-consuming encumbrances and usher a critical return to an autonomous and dynamic agency that has the ability to respond to the fast-changing needs of our demanding industry.

FILMCO also recognizes the important role that private sector participation and investment can play in achieving substantive diversification and development goals and urges robust participation in the incentives being provided for investment in the industry, namely the 150% tax credit and the 35 – 55% production cash rebate.

Moving forward, we encourage closer collaboration between the government and industry stakeholders to comprehensively identify the needs and priorities of the industry and to ensure that funding allocations are optimized to promote expansion and achieve sustainability. In addition, we reiterate our call for inclusion and partnership in the process of determining the policy direction and implementation of Trinidad and Tobago Television (TTT).