Santo Domingo. Among the tax reforms that the administration of President Luis Abinader has proposed, there is, as it has transpired, a possible modification to Law 108.10 to promote the film industry, legislation that has made possible the development of the industry and the arrival in the country of millionaire international film productions.
According to a report delivered to Free Journal, by the press office of the General Directorate of Cinema (Dgcine), between January 1 and August 10, fifty film projects were shot in the country.
The total of the budgets approved for the filming of feature films, short films, television commercials, documentaries or animation, under article 34 of incentive to local cinema established in Law 108-10, amounts to more than one billion pesos, from of 17 films that made use of the aforementioned article, while the reality show Dominicana’s Got Talent acquired article 39, an incentive to foreign investment for the realization of its second season. Eight projects rolled did not apply to the legislation.
While article 39, which encourages foreign investment in the country through cinema, attracted seven productions that took advantage of the benefits, the rest did not apply, but the approved budget was RD $ 11, 094, 270,754. 25. (more than eleven billion pesos)
Filmmakers and producers have raised their opposition to changes to legislation that has had a great impact on the industry, however, some are cautious, while others warn that equalizing the incentives of articles 34 and 39 would be to decree the death of cinema .
The president of the Dominican Association of Film Industry Professionals (Adocine), Ivan Reynoso, he abstained from referring to the statement because he understands that it is an unofficial document.
“Everyone is concerned, dismayed and obviously they are studying to see what the next steps are. You have to wait until you know what the government’s intention is. I do not think it is prudent to fix a position without having an official approach. We have seen the president’s position regarding the cinema, and everything he has indicated so far is in favor of maintaining the Law, ”commented the president of Adocine.
The experienced film producer agrees with what was raised by other of his colleagues, who have said that, if the legislation is contributing, it should not be touched.
“There is no need to modify it. It is a very young law, we have very strong competition in all of Central America and the Caribbean as a destination for filming with Article 39, but what happens, there is no 39 if not there is a team that supports it, but there will be no work team without it Article 34. There is no way that one can exist without the other, because right now you have about 7 thousand people who work directly in the industry, not including the number of companies that have been formalized to provide service to the industry, but that must be added to the number of people who work indirectly with the industry ”, he reflected.
Among others, Iván Reynoso has served as a producer of national and international films. He knows how the business is in the back of his hands and how it affects, for example, the communities where a movie is filmed.
“The closest thing to the construction business is the cinema when it comes to the distribution of money in all areas of our economy. Tell me, what company will you spend 20 million pesos on a local movie in a town? Happened to me with Gourme tuberI remember that the population of Monte Plata felt our presence due to the dynamization of the economy. It is the only one that really distributes the money, “he said.
He recalled that he was a local producer of the film Arthur the King starring Mark Wahlberg and filmed in Las Terrenas and also in the Colonial City. “That movie opened five hotels that were closed, that town was dead because we filmed in the middle of a pandemic, with a curfew. That is what we have to understand, now well for productions to come we have to have the work team because it is not efficient to bring personnel from abroad and that is only achieved when we have personnel delivered with article 34 “, said the president of Adocine
The filmmaker and consul in Los Angeles, Alfonso Rodriguez, It was spoken in terms similar to that raised by Reynoso. He recalled that so far they are only rumors and that he has made it known to colleagues who have contacted him by phone.
“I have told everyone who has called me to wait and see what they are going to propose because right now we do not know anything, although there is a project for a tax reform that will obviously touch all economic sectors of Dominican life and I imagine that the cinema is going to be one of them, but we have to wait to see where they are going to put the mingo to see if one is going to continue playing with the black ball or the white ball ”, Alfonso Rodríguez commented.
By referring to the document in which the possible changes are established. “I read that document and it doesn’t make any sense what it says that they are going to match 34 with 39 that doesn’t make any sense. “I have told the filmmakers who have called me to be calm, that the numbers of the Film Law are very clear, we have created 7 thousand something jobs in ten years, 40 thousand something people benefit from cinema, Lawyers and peoples also benefit. What the government ceases to perceive for Dominican cinema is paid for by foreign cinema, because it is a law that it designed that way. The local cinema in what it does that they keep the industry alive so that when a Sandra Bullock and a Jennifer Lopez arrive in the country, the technicians have work and continue to have work. If there is no article 34, there are no 39, if there are no Dominican films, he will not see foreign films. That is understood by everyone and the one who understands it the most is the Minister of Finance, Jochy Vicente, who is a film producer with more than 10 films, ”revealed Alfonso Rodríguez in an interview with program 12 and 2 hosted by Karina Larrari and Sergio Carlo on the 91 fm ”, he commented.
Alfonso Rodríguez revealed that the Minister of Finance knows the film industry very well and that on more than one occasion he has worked with him on some of the films by businessman José Miguel Bonetti.
Hans Garcia, filmmaker and former president of the Dominican Association of Film Industry Professionals (Adocine) also set his position.
“Equating the conditions of article 34 with article 39 would be the sudden death of the Dominican film industry, because it is impossible to make a film with those conditions, much less compete with the advantage of tax credits generated by foreign productions. You know that the tax credits that these productions (foreign ones) are not sold at 25%, but cheaper with benefits for the entrepreneurs who buy them, if we are going to compete with article 39 under those conditions ”, revealed Hans García .
By defending the legislation to promote the film industry in the country, he assured that they are the most organized sector.
“In our country there is no more regulated and formalized industry sector than ours. Everyone who works under the protection of Law 108-10 rigorously pays their taxes, otherwise they will not work. All the companies created to offer services to the industry comply with their obligations with the DGII as well as the employees they hire ”, emphasized Hans García.
We trust that President Luis Abinader will turn a deaf ear to those voices that have raised, through their proposals, to destroy the Film Law. We believe and trust that, as you told us, your government has every interest in making this industry grow and that it is now that the golden years of Dominican cinema arrive, ”he added.
The former president of the Dominican Association of Film Professionals (Adocine) explained that since the creation of cinema as an industry in the country and until the momentum that the Film Law has given, barely one or two films were shot a year. Since the creation of Law 108-10, an industry has flourished that allows around 30 Dominican films to be shot each year, which produces thousands of jobs for professionals and specialized technicians.
The film professional took the opportunity to make a call to the President of the Republic, Luis Abinader, and remind him of the words and commitment assumed with the film industry on June 9, 2020.
“We are more than convinced that it will not be from your government that the order will come out to destroy a growing industry such as the Dominican Film Industry. We trust his word in which he established that maintaining tax incentives was not in dispute and that the golden age of Dominican cinema would come with his government, ”he argued.
Omar de la cruz, director of the Global Film Festival is opposed to a modification of the Hundred Law, but in case that occurs, he considered the following.
“If they are going to make any changes, an acceptable proposal would be to increase article 39 from 25% to 30% or 40% (tax credit) to generate more attractiveness for foreign investment. Regarding article 34, the credit will make it transferable like 39 and leave it the same to continue promoting the local industry, as well as setting a spending ceiling of 3,500,000,000 for the film industry. In addition, establish that local investors of 25% who can invest in the film industry must first invest a minimum of 50% (25%) in article 34 and after complying with that quota, the remainder in article 39 ” De la Cruz advised.
“Equating the conditions of article 34 with article 39 would be the sudden death of the Dominican film industry, because it is impossible to make a film with those conditions”