Finance Minister Nigel Clarke says that Government will be establishing a billion-dollar Jamaica Screen Fund to provide financing for the development and production of film and television shows in the country.
Opening the 2023/24 Budget Debate in the House of Representatives yesterday (March 7), Clarke explained that the Andrew Holness administration will continue to support the growth of the local film, television, and animation industry.
He informed that the fund will be established in partnership with the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce.
Clarke said that the J$1 billion, which is an initial amount, will be provided over two years, with $500 million in 2023/24.
He said that the fund will enable creatives to devote time and sweat equity to developing their projects to the point where they can receive financing.
This includes, for example, writing a feature script or a TV series pilot script, producing a short film as proof of concept, or producing a teaser video as proof of concept for animation.
Clarke said the Jamaica Screen Fund will also support the production of films locally by providing a defined percentage of the production costs up to a maximum contribution for local productions, with other percentages and thresholds for foreign films being shot in Jamaica once certain criteria are met.
Clarke indicated that the Industry Ministry will be responsible for governance arrangements, which will be multi-stakeholder.
Portfolio minister Aubyn Hill will publish the rules of the Jamaica Screen Fund, along with guidance on how to access grants and financing, inclusive of what is expected of writers, creatives, and production companies, which receive support.
Clarke explained that the resources for the fund will remain with the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service to be drawn down in tranches once the Industry Ministry approves eligible projects that have completed and fulfilled the application requirements.
The minister, in noting the potential of the film industry, said that creative content production can make a significant contribution to Jamaica’s economy and to gross domestic product (GDP) growth.
He said that film and television involve the employment of skilled production crew, technicians, support and logistics staff behind the camera and talented cast in front.
“Hundreds of persons can be employed in a single production for months at a time. In addition, the production of film and television generates indirect and spin-off economic impact through the provision of goods and services required and spending in the local economy,” Clarke pointed out.
– Jamaica Information Service