REPORT #237 April 2000

Produced by the Belize Development Trust

Some years back, must have been quite a while back, there were considerable numbers of films being done in Belize locations. "Dogs of War" comes to mind. The Winnie Estelle a 68 foot boat, now in San Pedro on tourist charter was used in that one.

"After the Storm" is the current film being done in Belize at various locations. Francis Ford Cuppola a movie director, liked Belize so much, he put a resort in the mountains after he filmed here one time. Lots of locals in the new film as actors and extras. The period clothing is a new experience for many Belizeans and the hurry up and wait scenario of waiting around to shoot a scene is another lesson Belizeans are learning. This new younger generation of Belizeans find the film making exciting. It is a good income earner for Belize being a location to shoot films.

What is missing is some film making by Belizeans, particularly documentaries. The apparatus nowadays is well within the budgets of many Belizeans individually. It would not take much to raise money to buy the gear, through a consortium company and stock sales. Getting the experience is something else. The training nowadays is taught in Community Colleges in Florida, right around here in Miami-Dade County. Maybe it could be taught in Orange Walk?

With two world class sporting events, like the Easter Weekend 133 mile bicycle race, a rugged event already seeing many foreign riders participate, though none apparently from Europe and in particular from FRANCE, a real bicycle sporting nation. And the 100 + cross country canoe race down the Belize River another world class sporting event. You would think that Belizean film makers would be making sports documentaries for the hungry maw of television in European countries and North America. The market is there, maybe the British helicopter guys could help with some training flight time, to film these events with shots from the air? And the tourist board give a grant to help a study group at UCB in higher education actually learn how to market a real live Belizean film documentary product to outside world markets. Sort of a real training ground? It's time we were innovative in education. This one would pay in big bucks for tourism advertising and real practical learning of the film and camcorder industry. Lets start a consortium by film makers locally, UCB foreign film marketing students and the National Tourist Board funding with a local investor or two buying the necessary equipment for shares in a company? Should be a real winner eventually, even the trickel down effect of a failure would be valuable in educational experience in many different fields.

Real life, lets go for it!

Here in Miami, we often watch Brazilian made film mini-series, most nights. They are superior to Hong Kong films, or Indian films, or Mexican films or British films, though the Mexican ones are pretty good, but not as good as the locations and stories of the Brazilian films. Why not Belizean films? How can we bootstrap this new type of export industry?

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