Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley chatting with Bollywood film producer, Rakesh Sabharwal, during a meeting at Ilaro Court on Monday. (C. Pitt/BGIS)

Barbados could reap significant benefits if the Hindi cinema, Bollywood, gets the green light to film on the island.

These benefits and possibilities for collaboration were discussed when Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley met with one of the top Bollywood Film Producers, Rakesh Sabharwal, at Ilaro Court on Monday.

They include tourism, investment in the local film sector, training for those involved in the film industry and employment opportunities for citizens.

Mr. Sabharwal further noted that consideration could also be given to granting hotels subsidies, and the possible establishment of a film and dance academy on the island.

The film producer said Bollywood could be seen as the beginning of the connection between tourism and other activities in Barbados, which he described as being great for filming.

“But, I need your assistance to make that happen. We have also sent an MOU [Memorandum of Understanding],” he told Prime Minister Mottley, noting that they would need at least eight weeks to prepare.

In response, the Prime Minister said that Government had determined that Barbados must develop its film industry and be seen as a prime location for filming.

She noted that the second season of the Netflix series, Outer Banks, was filmed in Barbados, and there was a push to have more films recorded on the island.

Ms. Mottley added that it was also necessary for the island to develop its indigenous film industry to tell its story throughout the Caribbean.

The Prime Minister also stated that Government was seeking out public/private sector partnerships to create sound stages at old sugar factories repurposing them into studios.

During the visit, Ms. Mottley also gave the assurance that the proposal would be reviewed urgently, and that Government would facilitate the process as it worked to bridge the gaps between Barbados and India. “Barbados is open for business. This is a niche sector which we want to grow,” Ms. Mottley said.

Acting Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Kirk Humphrey; Senator John King; Permanent Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office (Culture), Jehu Wiltshire; Chief Executive Officer of the National Cultural Foundation, Carol Roberts-Reifer; Barbados’ Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of Barbados to the United Nations Office and other international organisations in Geneva, Ambassador Chad Blackman, and other officials were in attendance.

julia.rawlins-bentham@barbados.gov.bb

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