Antigua-Barbuda launches $125 million film financing program

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Prime Minister Gaston Browne

TORONTO, Canada — Film producer Rudy Langlais (“The Hurricane,” “Sugar Hill”) and partners, entrepreneur Valmiki Kempadoo, producer Don Allan and veteran film executive Neil Sacker have closed an equity financing agreement with the government of Antigua and Barbuda that will see $125 million invested in the launch of a long-term commitment to film production in the Caribbean nation, starting with an initial slate of five feature films.

The agreement was announced last week in Toronto at the international film festival.

The deal comes through the newly created venture, Golden Island Filmworks, an independent feature film finance and production entity run by Rudy Langlais, and his partners Sacker, Kempadoo and Allan.

The first five feature films, individually budgeted between $20 million and $85 million, against a cumulative budget of $250 million, will be produced through Golden Islands Filmworks in collaboration with the government of Antigua and Barbuda, headed by Prime Minister Gaston Browne.

Through this venture, Antigua aims to establish itself as the centre for film production in the Caribbean. A portion of all films on this slate will be shot in Antigua, which will inject tens of millions of dollars back into the local economy and foster employment and growth.

The arrangement is a first-of-its-kind film financing model that uses funds generated by the Antigua citizenship by investment program. Funds collected from the program will be invested into the $125 million film slate.

Browne said: “Welcome to the start of this new day in the history of my nation, the Caribbean and worldwide cinema – the further transformation of Antigua and Barbuda as the economic powerhouse of the Caribbean through the power and art of film. We are welcoming the leading directors, actors and filmmaking technicians of the world to Antigua and they are coming to create exciting films that capture the beauty, mystery, history and complexity of our country, our history, our people.”

Langlais said, “My partners and I had a dream more than ten years ago, that the Caribbean, which has produced brilliant statesmen like Alexander Hamilton, Nobel Prize-winning poets and novelists, Walcott and Naipaul, legendary athletes like Sobers and Richards and Bolt, and perhaps the world’s greatest cultural icon in Bob Marley, should add its “voice” now to filmmaking. We have wanted to join our colleagues around the world to share our stories and join in telling stories together. Now that time is here. Exciting films will come of this collaboration.”

Films on the initial slate include “Rebels”, which is described as a journey through the life and musical times of Bob Marley, prospecting the early career of the musical icon and unearthing an unknown side of the man and his music. Never before revealed stories and music will show a side of the legend that few would ever imagine.

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