Cinema of Jamaica

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History of film production in Jamaica[edit]

The Motion Picture (Encouragement) Act was passed in 1948. This act aimed to change the tax code so that the economic burden was reduced for state sanctioned production companies. The Jamaican Film Commission was created by the Jamaican government in 1984 to promote investment, export, and employment in the film industry in Jamaica.[1] The Jamaican Film Commission serves as the link between private interests and the government. It spends much of its time handling and processing requests from foreign film companies, as well as assisting local companies who usually produce smaller scale productions.[1] The Jamaican Film Commission markets Jamaica as a premier location for filming to foreign companies and assists companies in finding investments in their film. The current Film Commissioner is Renee Robinson.[1] In 2014 the original Motion Picture (Encouragement) Act was repealed and replaced by the Omnibus Incentive Regime.[2]

Local film production in Jamaica[edit]

Notable films[edit]

The Jamaican film that is most internationally recognized is "The Harder They Come," directed by Perry Hanzell. The movie came along the wave of recognition that the general culture of Reggae music and Rastafarianism. Despite the movie’s accolades however, it could not compare to many Hollywood blockbusters in terms of revenue and was part of the ongoing process of investors becoming increasingly resistant to attempting to fund Jamaican produced films. Finance is one of the largest barriers to the growth of the industry as it is relatively expensive to produce a film and investors have shied away from funding. In the past however there was more support to produce films in Jamaica by investors as "The Harder They Come" received international praise and the genre of reggae and dancehall were beginning to be recognized throughout the world.

Government support[edit]

Foreign film productions in Jamaica[edit]

Despite the small size of the film industry, Jamaica has been home to a host many films of historical significance. One being the first Black American, "The Devil’s Daughter" production to be filmed on site. These foreign productions have been a source of much capital for the island nation with the movie "Club Paradise" bringing in 53 million dollars to the country. Jamaica has become a premier filming location due to its proximity to Florida and the highly valued landscape.

Notable films[edit]

Currently there are numerous difficulties with attracting people to the island to film. There is some criticism of the government for not implementing tax friendly policies for foreign companies. For American production companies, the lack of tax incentives compared to other places around the Caribbean and the world pushes these companies to other areas around the world.[3]

Government support[edit]

Film festivals in Jamaica[edit]

Reggae film festival[edit]

Reminiscing of the success of "The Harder They Come," the Reggae Film Festival was started in 2008 in Emancipation Park, New Kingston, and seeks to encourage the same success by hosting a film festival annually. People from Jamaica and other countries such as Spain, Germany, the US, and Canada bring their films to the festival which lasts for three days. On the last day six people with notable productions are inducted as first Executive Directors of a Jamaica Film. The current director is Barbara Blake Hannah, who is also the current executive director of the Jamaican Film Industry.


  1. ^ a b c "Film Jamaica". Retrieved 21 April 2017. 
  2. ^ Stiebel, Danielle. "Hop on the omnibus for 2014 – Business". Jamaica Observer. 
  3. ^ Blackford, Richard. "Jamaica's film industry – 100 years on and we are still gasping for breath – Columns". Jamaica Observer.