Time to Market Dominica through a Feature Film?

If someone could write just one scene

I came across this article by the late Parry Bellot Time to Market Dominica through a Feature Film? which sparked a few ideas in me. He lamented that Dominica had not capitalised on the opportunity of being the location of the filming of parts of the Pirates of the Caribbean series to market Dominica and boost Dominica’s tourism product.

Pirates of the Caribbean logo.svg
Logo of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise

Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest location:
Jack Sparrow escapes the cannibals | Photograph: wikimedia / Hans Hillewaert
File:Hampstead Beach from West (Dominica).jpg

To write a feature film,or even a budget movie, is no mean task. However, a few scenes lead to an act, and a few acts lead to a screenplay. According to Investopedia, “The average cost to produce a major studio movie has been around $65 million. But the production costs don’t cover distribution and marketing, which adds another $35 million or so, on average,” . In 1973 when Bob Marley was asked what he thought about the music industry, and Americans like Johnny Nash getting involved with Reggae, he answered that they were spending money on them that that other local businesses were not willing to spend.

Bob Marley – Interview With Neville Willoughby – 1973 with Subtitles


Filmmaking like any other art form has its standards, and as long as all the standards are met, and the financial backing is there, it is quite possible for Dominica to produce a succession of feature films. But only that we had that disposal income to invest. We must attribute the enormous sums invested in the arts in the ‘Old world’ is due to endowments to the arts by wealthy philanthropists in the 18th-century who had more than enough money to know what to do with, and whose names associated with cities like London, Bristol and Glasgow are testament to their great wealth extracted in most cases from exploits in the nefarious Atlantic Slave Trade and plantation slavery which produced unimaginable prosperity for themselves and their descendants.

It is little wonder that there is not that deep financial well from which the former colonies in the West Indies may cast their bucket to draw funding to devote to the creation and promotion of the arts. The Crown nor the original purchasers of land in Dominica, and early legislature, did not invest heavily in the infrastructure of Dominica beyond the bare necessity to establish their holdings and to move slaves and produce from on point to a next. For nearly two centuries of European exploit on Dominica, Dominica had no roads to speak of, and for the most part traversing the island was done by boat, or network of footpaths and bridal ways.

Investment in the arts

By the 1960s when the reins of power had finally fallen into the descendants of the former slaves, the bonds with the mother country, and the other economic restrictions left little room for consideration for the large-scale investment in the arts necessary to produce world-class arts. The relationship between legacy of slavery and the stagnation of the arts in Dominica, and the wider Caribbean, must be understood to truly come to grips with the state of a severely under-funded arts and entertainment sector. To the extent that we dare not even begin to dream of competing with the cinematic products produced in Europe and North America. Nevertheless, we are where we are, and it is up to us to take the bitter cup and to make the best of it as good as we could. And what of the “Film Commission” in Dominica? Maybe the ‘film commission’ could be resurrected with an input from the Citizens by investment program.

Further reading

Time to Market Dominica through a Feature Film? (2019). Available at: http://sundominica.com/articles/time-to-market-dominica-through-a-feature-film-5386/ (Accessed: 9 February 2022).

Why Movies Cost So Much To Make (2022). Available at: https://www.investopedia.com/financial-edge/0611/why-movies-cost-so-much-to-make.aspx#:~:text=The%20average%20cost%20to%20produce,to%20right%20about%20%24100%20million. (Accessed: 9 February 2022).

Pirates of the Caribbean – Wikipedia (2022). Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pirates_of_the_Caribbean (Accessed: 9 February 2022).

Filming Locations for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (2006), at St Vincent and the Grenadines in the Windward Islands, and Domenica. (2022). Available at: http://movie-locations.com/movies/p/Pirates-Of-The-Caribbean-2.php (Accessed: 9 February 2022).

Dominica Citizenship by Investment : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive (2022). Available at: https://archive.org/details/dominica_citizenship_investment_2018_passport/mode/1up?view=theater (Accessed: 9 February 2022).

(2022) Youtube.com. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o-Ay4eVb6Is&list=RDo-Ay4eVb6Is&t=1387s (Accessed: 9 February 2022).