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P.R. sets backdrop to Hollywood film ‘Primal;’ Rosselló touts $31M budget

Gov. Rosselló and Oscar-winning actor Nicholas Cage offer details of the upcoming production.

Puerto Rico will set the stage for yet another Hollywood film production, “Primal” starring Oscar winner Nicolas Cage, Gov. Ricardo Rosselló announced.

“Primal” has a $31 million budget and is expected to create at least 737 direct jobs and 2012 indirect jobs during filming on the island. In addition, it will generate about 941 room/nights.

“The filming of a new movie of this caliber notes that after the onslaught of Hurricane María, our island is ready to do business and be the perfect setting for Hollywood,” Rosselló said. “We continue working  to open more opportunities for professionals of the seventh art and promote Puerto Rico’s economic development.”

Economic Development and Commerce Department Secretary, Manuel Laboy Rivera, said that “the film projects using Puerto Rico as a scenario also impact other economic sectors such as tourism.”

“Our commitment is to continue working on the design of strategies for the sector’s benefit and position Puerto Rico as the perfect destination for these projects. In Puerto Rico the development of the film industry is an important pillar for economic growth,” Laboy added.

Department of Economic Development and Commerce statistics show that from 2017 to the present, total investment of productions filmed on the island is around $149 million.

This results in the creation of approximately 14,250 direct jobs in the process required by the filming of movies series and documentaries on the island.

Resident Commissioner files bill for film industry incentives
In related news, Puerto Rico Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González, filed legislation in U.S. Congress that would grant a federal incentive of up to $20 million to film, television or theater production companies that choose Puerto Rico as a filming destination.

“Until now, local tax credits have been the main tool of the Film Industry Development Program to attract the production of U.S. projects to the island,” she said.

“The bill I filed seeks to reinforce the program’s efforts with incentives that have not been available for Puerto Rico due to our territorial condition,” González said.

“I am confident that, when applying the incentives available in the states, Puerto Rico’s offer to the film and television industry will be much better than in other jurisdictions,” she said.

In addition to promoting investment of production houses in Puerto Rico, House Resolution 5183 would open a workshop for local artists, triggering direct and indirect job opportunities, while showcasing Puerto Rico’s attributes to attract tourism, she said.

The bill would amend Section 181 of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service Code to allow film, television or theater production companies to deduct costs up to $15 million, or $20 million in case production takes place in areas of economic need.

This incentive was in effect for five years until Dec. 31, 2016, but it was not applicable to Puerto Rico because the territory was considered to be a foreign jurisdiction. González seeks to correct this inequality by extending this benefit for five additional years, but this time to include Puerto Rico.

González Colón’s bill is co-sponsored by Representative Peter T. King (R-NY) and Representative Darren Soto (D-FL). This initiative is included among the recommendations issued on Dec. 20, 2016 by the bipartisan Congressional Task Force on Economic Growth in Puerto Rico.

Author Details
Author Details
Business reporter with 30 years of experience writing for weekly and daily newspapers, as well as trade publications in Puerto Rico. My list of former employers includes Caribbean Business, The San Juan Star, and the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, among others. My areas of expertise include telecommunications, technology, retail, agriculture, tourism, banking and most other segments of Puerto Rico’s economy.

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