Film Commissioner, Annette Nias. (NCF)

A reminder of the role of the Barbados Film Commission (BFC) was given recently when a National Consultation on Film was held at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.

Stating that the desk of the Barbados Film Commission was established in 2015, Film Commissioner, Annette Nias, noted that it was created to focus on the development of the film sector and on marketing Barbados as a viable location for filming by foreign companies.

Speaking on the topic “The Role of the Film Commission in Fostering the Development of the Sector”, Ms. Nias said that a film commission is an organisation which represents a formally defined jurisdiction to encourage film and media activity, and the creation of jobs and business opportunities. 

She said it also fosters economic growth in and around the jurisdiction’s communities, and supports local culture and education for the constituency.  Ms Nias added that in some countries the film commissions were government-sanctioned, and in others, they were not.

The Film Commissioner went on to explain what the desk of the Barbados Film Commission does.  “It mainly provides information about incentives and procedures for using Barbados as a location, as well as acts as an intermediary between film personnel and government agencies.  It also assists in generating employment opportunities for film personnel on the island, as well as related jobs.

“The Commission also provides a comprehensive service for all filmmakers in production or location scouting on the island; develops incentives for production companies, both local and overseas, to increase investment, job creation and foreign exchange through the production of audio-visual content in Barbados; and trains local industry professionals, through apprenticeships to these productions and through local training programmes,” she explained.

According to Ms. Nias, since its inception in 2015, there have been a total of 77 film shoots serviced by the BFC. To help facilitate film shoots on the island in her role as Film Commissioner, Ms. Nias reported that she interacts with government ministries and agencies, especially the Customs and Immigration Departments, and for the last two years with COVID-19 health services providers. 

She said it also involves interacting with local, regional and international film producers and production companies, filmmakers and production crews, property owners, private sector service providers and organisations such as the Barbados Film and Video Association, the Association of Film Commissioners International, and the Caribbean Film Commission Network. 

The Film Commissioner shared that Barbados has a wide variety of locations, and continues to attract such projects as reality shows, documentaries, television drama series, lifestyle shows, commercial projects from major and mini-major studios, independent filmmakers and production companies, commercial production companies, ad agencies, TV and cable networks, and their agents.

In addition, she pointed out that the local film industry would continue to have the potential to create hundreds of jobs for skilled and unskilled citizens, to enhance foreign exchange earning capacity, and to develop functional linkages among the private and public sectors. 

“But the development of the Barbados film industry cannot be undertaken without increased human, financial and infrastructural resources, and the first step is to take it more seriously….” Ms. Nias stressed.

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