Cinema is a multimillion-dollar industry in all continents of the world. The production of feature films and medium and short films, along with documentaries, has a direct impact on the economy through the direct and indirect jobs it creates.

On August 17, 2001, the Legislature approved the law that created the Puerto Rico Corporation for the Development of the Arts, Sciences and Film Industry and assigned funds from taxes on public entertainment to the Fund for the Puerto Rico Corporation for the Development of the Arts, Sciences and Film Industry. With the creation of this fund, the government committed to providing 50% of the tax applied to movie theater tickets. This amounts to approximately two million dollars per year, which is provided to cinematographers who are interested in making proposals, through calls for submissions and contests. The Fund is revolving in nature, meaning that the money lent must be returned to the Fund to ensure its continuity.

The current priority in cinema is to resolve the existing infrastructure problems and emphasize quality. In this sense, it is important to select a good script, as well as take care with the technical aspects, such as the setting, among other issues. It is therefore worthwhile to support initiatives aimed at developing the skills of Puerto Rican screenwriters.

Even now in the 21st century, the island has not been able to develop a cinema industry, although there is a magnificent industry for making commercial advertisements. This ad industry also has a first-class technical framework. The presence of many talented youths who are dedicating themselves to cinema is another positive aspect that should be emphasized. Production programs and the related university programs are, to a large extent, responsible for attracting a new generation to get involved in cinema, both film and video.

Until now, in Puerto Rico the cinema has not been treated as a cultural project. Its state has been embryonic, which does not allow real comparison with other arts. In the past, uncertainty about recovering investment discouraged the private sector from providing needed support.

Puerto Rican cinema still has not moved beyond the island. In the next twenty years, local production should be more significant and thus achieve important changes in the quality and quantity of films and ensure the development and permanence of the Puerto Rican cinema industry. However, despite the fact that cinematic production is not constant, several film festivals take place on the island and offer an opportunity to enjoy films that otherwise would not be shown in Puerto Rico.

The Puerto Rican Endowment for the Humanities, a non-profit entity founded in 1977, has positively stimulated the development of Puerto Rican cinema over the years. The sponsorship given to non-profit entities has made possible the production and realization of videos on a variety of topics such as history, the arts, women, culture, music, literature and famous persons, among others. These short and medium-length films are available free of cost in the Audiovisual Collection for the enjoyment of the community and the schools.

Author: Adlin Ríos Rigau
Published: September 04, 2015.

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