House investigates status of Puerto Rican film industry
By The Star Staff
The Treasury and Budget Committee held a public hearing today, Thursday, to address House Resolution 957, to investigate the circumstances under which Puerto Rican filmmakers operate in Puerto Rico and get updates on the film incentives.
The measure, authored by Committee Chairman Jesús Santa Rodríguez and PIP Rep. Denis Márquez Lebron, seeks to obtain the highest amount of funds for developing film productions in Puerto Rico.
‘This entire legislative effort stems from the commitment to investigate the distribution of the already approved incentives and how all these dynamics are working to have a clear picture of where the film industry is in Puerto Rico,” said Santa Rodríguez.
The Department of Economic Development (DDEC) and film organizations, Cine Alliance of Puerto Rico, the Association of Documentalists of Puerto Rico (AdocPR) and Local 494 of the International Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employees (IATSE) defended the measure.
José Sánchez Acosta, an official from the Department of Economic Development and Commerce (DDEC), explained that $74 million from the “American Rescue Plan Act” (ARPA) financed 29 film projects. “These projects will be filmed during this and next year, with the consequent economic impact of creating thousands of direct and indirect jobs. It should be noted that 28 of 29 of these projects are Puerto Rican productions,” he said.
“Our focus has always been to maintain Puerto Rico’s competitiveness as a film destination and improve the island’s credibility as an investment destination while at the same time providing the tools to strengthen local film production increasingly,” said Sánchez. Acosta.
On the other hand, Antonio Sifre of Cine Alliance of Puerto Rico recommended that the Committee prioritize creating tools and resources that facilitate the financing and sale of Puerto Rican projects and the adequate measurement of the incentives available to film projects, particularly to Puerto Ricans.
Likewise, Sifre proposed that, in addition to considering the return to the existence of a film fund that is available to finance the production of Puerto Rican film projects, there should be a fund for the development of film projects so that Puerto Rican producers have the resources to develop commercially viable products.
Meanwhile, Rhett Lee García Figueroa, president of AdcocPR, expressed his concern about the need to increase transparency in the credit granting processes in the film industry in Puerto Rico. “Currently, this information is not publicly accessible, which creates an environment of opacity that is detrimental to both the industry and society in general.”
To these ends, García Figueroa recommended publishing information on the tax credits, establishing criteria for granting funds, greater transparency in audit processes, investigating financing by law firms, and promoting growth and education in the industry.
“This Legislative Assembly must address the current challenges in the film industry in Puerto Rico, promoting transparency, equity, and sustainable development. Betting on local cinema is betting on Puerto Rico and its future,” said García Figueroa.