The passing of the Cultural Industries Development Bill should help to change the perception of the creative industries as a soft sector or something people ???do just for fun???.

This is the opinion of Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth, Stephen Lashley, who made the assertion during a discussion with the cast and crew of the Barbadian movie, PAYDAY, at the Olympus Theatre, last Friday, hours after the bill was passed in Parliament.

According to Mr. Lashley, filmmakers, along with creative practitioners and service providers, can contribute significantly to the economy.
He said the passing of the bill would assist in attracting investment opportunities for Barbadian films.

???By investing in the work of a registered cultural practitioner or an approved cultural project, the investor would be eligible to have that amount deducted from his or her assessable or taxable income,??? he explained.

The Culture Minister also noted that with the passing of the bill, he envisaged that there would be more co-productions between Barbados and other countries.

Stating that he understood the need for seed capital, the Culture Minister told the filmmakers that funding, through grants and loans would also be available when the bill becomes an Act.

He added that such funding would be used for the training of registered cultural practitioners and approved cultural projects.

Noting that Barbados needed to further diversify its economy, Mr. Lashley said he was committed to ensuring that the bill would become law very soon. He admitted, however, that a Cultural Authority and other elements still needed to be put in place.

Partner and Scriptwriter of the movie, PAYDAY, Shakirah Bourne said she was pleased to learn that the Cultural Industries Development Bill had been passed. ???It can only enhance the film industry and the creative sector,??? she said.

Partner in the PAYDAY movie, Ricky Redman told the Minister: ???We are doing this as a business. We have a creative department, a marketing section and an accounts side. We have learnt from the North American model of filmmaking and distribution, but we will not compromise our local culture to meet the demand.???

Earlier this month, Minister Lashley also visited the film set of Diplomatic Transitions, a Barbados and Cameroon co-production. He told filmmakers there, that his Ministry viewed its role in the development of the local film industry as important.

???Our role is to facilitate the development of a major film industry in Barbados???based on the context that the development of film across the globe is certainly one of the fastest earners of foreign exchange and revenue that we are witnessing in the creative sector. I believe Barbados is poised to take advantage of getting a niche in that market,??? he emphasised.

The Minister said the Cultural Industries Development Bill ???has in it some very meaningful incentives upon which we feel the film industry will take off in Barbados???.

Adding that a film and video commissioner???s desk had been established within the Ministry of Culture, he stressed: ???It is critical to have within government, a focal point that can respond to the various requests that have been made, and will be made, in relation to seeing Barbados as a destination for film and movies.???

The Cultural Industries Development Bill was passed in the House of Assembly, last Friday, October 18. It will now go before the Senate for debate and once passed, will come into effect by proclamation.

Author: Shamkoe Pil??

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