Culture minister welcomes ‘motion picture diplomacy’ with China

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The film industry in  Antigua and Barbuda is set to receive a major shot in the arm from a Chinese private sector film group.
The agreement cementing the partnership was presented Tuesday evening during an exchange of courtesies at the Prime Minister’s conference room.
Antigua and Barbuda is being offered membership in the Belt and Road International City Film and Television Alliance, and will become one of the first Caribbean countries taken on board.
Minister of Culture and National Festivals, Daryl Matthew, who hosted the interaction, said it represents a further cementing of the strong and enduring relations between the two countries.
“Motion picture diplomacy, I call it, and what this initiative does is that it gives us here in Antigua and Barbuda an opportunity to partner with China as it relates to film production, sets and [filming] locations,” he stated.
Matthew noted further that, “With China having the world’s largest population, it really opens up for us a huge market whereby our films produced by our local artisans can be displayed in China. It also opens up for China another very exotic location here in the Caribbean where they can come and produce films to be shown in China. We believe this will be a win-win situation.”
President of the Motion Picture Association of Antigua and Barbuda, Dr. Alvin Edward, said the budding film industry in Antigua & Barbuda has tremendous potential, but it needs assistance in order to develop further.
“We do have the talent, but we must be able to obtain financing to develop the films, which is quite difficult. The other part of it is training and education and access to certain expertise,” he observed. Dr. Edwards pointed out that because of the huge pool of human resource that the motion picture industry requires, its development in Antigua and Barbuda has the potential to become a major generator of employment.
The International Alliance reportedly includes countries from all around the world, with China, the US, Canada, Denmark and Australia listed, among others, on its list of members.
Bert Kirchner is Antigua and Barbuda’s film commissioner and the country’s ambassador-at-large for development of the motion picture industry. He preceded Dr. Alvin Edward as president of the association for almost a decade and
remains a member. He too is hoping that this partnership with the Chinese group will bring the required dollars.
“We have all the talent here . . . What we don’t have is the financial support . . . You can have as many stories and talents here, they can’t go anywhere without the financial support. You can’t make a movie without money – simple as that. I hope that this could be developed with this alliance, because I think our Caribbean stories deserve a lot more than just always being low budget,” Kirchner said.
The alliance says it welcomes all countries in the world to participate so as to to jointly build a global film and television bridge strategy, achieve global connectivity, and share the film and television economy.

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