TORONTO, Canada, Tuesday September 15, 2015 – Golden Island Filmworks has signed an unprecedented $125 million equity financing agreement with the government of Antigua that will see some of the money generated from the country’s Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP) being pumped into film production.
Producer Rudy Langlais and his partners, Caribbean social entrepreneur Valmiki Kempadoo, Toronto-based producer Don Allan and veteran multidisciplined film executive Neil Sacker, closed the historic deal that will see $125 million committed to an initial slate of five feature films.
Golden Island Filmworks, an independent feature film finance and production entity run by the quartet, will produce the films in collaboration with the government at a total cost of $250 million.
“The dynamic arrangement serves as a first-of-its-kind film financing model that uses funds generated by the Antigua Citizenship by Investment Programme. Funds collected from the highly sought after citizenship programme will be invested into the $125 million film slate,” the company said in a statement.
“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.”
Antigua and Barbuda Ambassador-at-Large Dr. Joseph ‘Joey’ John, who is currently Special Consultant to the Prime Minister on the CIP, was instrumental in structuring the venture and Golden Island said it would continue to work on all components and phases of development and production associated with the film slate.
He said that of all the projects that he has had the privilege of bringing to Antigua, “this has the potential to create the biggest impact on both the economy and the social transformation of Antigua”.
“It brings a whole new industry into Antigua that will affect tourism and culture,” he said.
Prime Minister Gaston Browne said the venture would contribute to 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,” he said.
Langlais said he and his partners had a dream for more than 10 years that the Caribbean, which has produced brilliant statesmen like Alexander Hamilton, Nobel Prize-winning poets and novelists, Derek Walcott and V.S Naipaul, legendary athletes like Sir Garfield Sobers and Usain Bolt, and perhaps the world’s greatest cultural icon in Bob Marley, should add its “voice” 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,” he said.