Jampro to host open day for entertainment, film industries
Leighton Levy, Gleaner Writer
With a specific focus on creating the means for local players in the entertainment and film industry to produce content and have it distributed to markets where there is good return on investment, JAMPRO's Creative Industries Department is to host an open day for the industry's members on Wednesday, October 1 at its head offices in Kingston.
There are also plans for Jamaica to host a film festival next year.
President of the agency, Diane Edwards, made the disclosure last Tuesday at a meeting with stakeholders and media. The main aim of the open day, Edwards said, is to capture information on existing industry players, as the agency plays matchmaker, putting them in touch with opportunities available here in Jamaica and ultimately international partners.
"JAMPRO's remit as the trade and investment promotions agency of Jamaica is to focus on developing the business acumen of our creative practitioners and leverage the popularity of Jamaica's lifestyle in such a way as to generate income for the Jamaican economy," she said. "Our creativity, our imagination and our relaxed determination, which often manifests in stellar achievements in music, sports and a plethora of other creative expressions, are loved the world over. However, we have been too slow to capitalise on the enormous creative capital we have been endowed with."
As such, on the open day, information will be captured from people in film, music, dance, theatre, television, fashion and other related groups, with the hope of using that data to create critical linkages. "We are big on linkages at JAMPRO, so we explore all the opportunities for expanding demand within the other sectors such as tourism, where we have three million tourists coming into the island each year who want an entertainment package with live music, theatre, and dance - so we try to build that aspect of the Jamaica brand in a soft way," she said, while highlighting that those linkages have already started to reap success. "In this area of business - linkages in the creative industries - we have been recording remarkable successes. Since April 2014 to date, we have facilitated $43 million in film projects and close to $200 million in entertainment projects, with capital expenditures for this period amounting to over $165 million. For the same period, 717 temporary jobs were created."
Edwards revealed, however, that JAMPRO continues to face challenges in building out the sector, but has taken action with the intention of overcoming them. As such, the University of the West Indies (UWI) has been engaged to help find solutions. UWI will be tasked to, among other things, follow up on the successfully staged State of the Music Symposium; compiling existing research on music and preparation of a road map; and to design, develop and execute related programmes to coincide with academic vision.
With regard to the proposed film festival, Edwards said: "We will seek to stage this film festival in partnership with all the key stakeholders in the film and entertainment industry. We see the Entertainment Advisory Board and the ministries of Tourism and Entertainment, and Culture as critical collaborators on this project."