The impact of the Film Law is not only economic, it is social and cultural, and indirectly affects tourism.
What would the Dominican Republic be like today without the Film Law? The film industry sector is of such importance in the country and its benefits are so diverse that, right now, only a fool or a misinformed person could think of a future without this industry having the facilities that allow it to grow thanks to the Law for the Promotion of the Film Industry.
Although the achievements in the rest of the cultural sector are rather scarce, if not almost nil, the film industry is the model industry that serves as an engine to drive the possible development of other areas that suffer from the slowness of purge honey.
There are those who may wonder how the film industry can be profitable if the number of audiences attending Dominican films has supposedly decreased. The real fact is that audiences have become more and more demanding. Besides the fact that the criticized comedies that were made in the past had the benefit of creating an industry.
The process has been as interesting as it has changed. Moreover, it is very similar to what has happened in other places. For example, in Spain, post-Franco comedies evolved into another type of comedy, more intelligent. And the essay or auteur cinema also became more commercial. The same will happen with Dominican cinema. Here the pedestrian comedies of the beginning work less and less. Documentaries and dramas announce signs of what will definitely be known as Dominican cinema, owner of its own photography and an increasingly local and thus more universal language, through the treatment of problems of our society. Although it is necessary to work harder and harder in the creation of the Dominican spectator and cinematographic thought, more and more linked to a vigorous and honest criticism.
The development has been possible and will continue to be possible thanks to the conjunction of two key articles of the Cinema Law, Article 34 and Article 39. The first has to do with local cinema and the second with foreign investments in the Dominican film industry. Read shootings, co-productions, etc. One and the other are consubstantial and cannot live separately.
The final report of a consultancy conducted by Apricus Consulting Group to evaluate the true impact of this industry on the country’s economy yields relevant data. So much so that the DGCine is currently developing increasingly close relations with the mayors’ offices of municipalities where filming takes place, with which it intends, among other facilities, to ‘tie up’ with them the good stay of international or national filming teams that ‘disembark’ in their areas, where the ‘boroneo’ is not long in coming.
According to the report, there is evidence of an increase in the filming budget that has been generated primarily by the increase in international productions, which have become the major drivers of filming in the Dominican Republic. This is highly relevant because in 2017-2018 52% of filming was domestic; but in 2019-2021 it barely reached 33%, when foreign productions increased from 42% to 63% in the biennium.
Geographically, the territory used as filming locations has expanded. If in 2017-2018 Santo Domingo covered 55%, in 2019-2021 it dropped to an average of 46%, while other areas such as Samaná, Puerto Plata, La Romana, Punta Cana, La Vega and Santiago grew.
On the other hand, the payment of remunerations to formal and informal employees is high, so those incomes produce greater economic dynamism with the purchase of goods and services for personal consumption by employees, which is picked up by the induced effect. In fact, it is estimated that the induced effect would have generated more than 4,575 jobs by 2022. Most of them in the female sector.
Some 21% of the total jobs generated in 2020-2021 were jobs for university graduates, however the remaining 79% went mostly to people at the high school and elementary level.
Even so, the sector requires an increasing number of people with a technical level. This makes it possible to attract more important filming and helps to consolidate the country internationally as a filming destination, thus attracting investment and increasing the value added that is made in the country, by eventually being able to provide specialized pre-production and post-production services. DGCine is working to establish alliances with training and education centers in order to develop this educational offer in the country. Currently, it is considered that about seven universities offer film specializations.
The impact of the film industry on the Dominican economy, as we can see, is growing and multiplying. It not only generates material wealth, but also spiritual wealth.
The generation of more than 15 thousand jobs in 2020-2021 rose in 2022 to 25 thousand jobs. Most of them are indirect, since the filming of productions is highly dependent on intermediate purchases from labor-intensive sectors, such as other services, tourism and commerce. The generation of direct jobs is lower as filming is capital intensive (recording studios, filming machinery), while labor-intensive jobs are outsourced, given seasonality or specialization, so they are recorded in indirect effects.
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