Friday, December 9, 2022

Pinewood: Lantica Media seeks to increase investment in foreign productions in the DR

Achievements we see, but faces we don’t always know. It is a phrase that fits perfectly with the film industry in the Dominican Republic. Yes, Jennifer López, Vin Diesel, Mark Wahlberg, Brad Pitt and Sandra Bullock are familiar names and faces that are related to that sector in the country. However, there is another who plays a fundamental role, and little is said about him: Albert Martínez Martín.

In short, he is one of those responsible for making this half-island the chosen destination for international film productions. He is Director of Operations at Lantica Media, also known as Pinewood Dominican Republic Studios.

It was a personal decision that led him to venture into the booming local film industry more than a decade ago. “Well, I was born in Barcelona. Eventually I moved to live in England. There he produced movies. A friend, who was the head of sales at Pinewood, told me about the Lantica project,” he began to narrate about how he came to the country.

Although he confessed that being in the Caribbean nation was an opportunity to be closer to his children, he reveals that it was also a professional challenge. “There is a cultural issue, adapting to the Dominican way of seeing the world and working,” she added. Likewise, the challenge continues to be “marrying” that vision with those of the clients who come to film.

Boost

As you’ve commented in the past, you can’t help but take your work personally. That means the company’s goals are yours. However, he pointed out that there are other aspects that are “different” and that he has had to, “little by little”, reach or overcome.

For Lantica, the challenge “is that little cinema has been made,” he explains. In the Dominican Republic between 30 or 35 national films can be made, plus foreign ones.

“The numbers themselves are telling us that in a country that makes very little cinema, but aspires to make many more,” he said. This is how the challenge has been to readapt and be able to correctly communicate the possibilities and opportunities that the nation offers in terms of recording. “If those expectations of the foreign producer are clear, so are all those who work on the project,” he explains.

Although Lantica plays a leading role in the current scene, Martínez Martín’s job is not to sell the studio, because, according to what he says, “we are selling the country” as a film destination. That is, as a place prepared to deal with large and small projects.

But it’s not a job he does alone. The Directorate General of Cinema (DGCine) plays the role of him. “He is doing very important work in promoting the country, and above all in providing both stability and security. That has helped us a lot to continue working ”, she highlighted.

Pinewood Dominican Republic Studios

Martínez Martín was clear about what the plan is now for Lantica. “Basically grow, but specifically in training human capital and creating infrastructure, not so much physical, but rather suppliers that are capable of all the requirements of each project,” he said.

In this sense, he thanked the work of the entire team that works with him in this industry. “It depends on all of us getting it right. I am just a cog in the gear, ”he said, to which he added with a laugh that he hopes to be useful.

Commitment, “regardless of position or title” is a determining factor in his words. It is the mentality that he tries to instill in the collaborators of Lantica. “The responsibility for service to the project that comes from outside is given to each person who works on the project,” she assured.

In fact, he was more specific. “The experience that foreigners have of filming here is not given by me alone, it is given by the more than 2,000 people” who are involved in the production. All those who have a relationship with foreign clients have a responsibility to provide that service so that they return, he explained. That is a philosophy that he brings from England.

“There, every person you meet, with whom you work, is always dedicated to reaching that excellence. I always thought that we had to do the same. Here in the Dominican Republic, the only difference is that it is sunny and that it is hot, but the rest has to be the same,” she said.

To future

Although the Dominican film industry has had great successes, there is still a long way to go or films to be produced and released. That’s a process Albert refers to as “reaffirmation.” This means that the client repeats and wants to film again in the country because “it offers benefits, location incentives, human capital, because they had a good experience, or because it worked creatively for their project,” he explained. They have also achieved that goal. He assured that they have had repetition in large production companies such as Netflix, Universal, among others. “Reaffirming is that, having that approval from someone who has already come and wants to return,” he added.

His eyes are set on the future after reaping successful years like 2020, 2021 and 2022. About his vision, he sums it up in two words and one nation: New Zealand. “It is a country of less than four million inhabitants, less than half the population of the Dominican Republic… although, obviously, it is more advanced,” she explains.

Despite the differences, the investment in content in that Oceanian nation is more than US$2 trillion. On the half Caribbean island, right now, it’s US$250 million a year. “Why not aspire to be the New Zealand of the Caribbean?” he questions, while clarifying that, although he does not intend to reach the figure immediately, “we can go to US$300, US$400 or US$600 million.”

Likewise, he exemplified “if we are hiring 2,000 people a year, we have to be hiring 3,000” or double, as well as “if we are using 100 suppliers that do a very good job, we will need 200, 300, 400 and 500 suppliers”. Those are his goals for the local industry.

“That aspiration is achieved,” he said, but stressed that it is a joint effort between Lantica Media and the State.

Service of excellence

In the words of Martínez, whoever invests in cinemas has a main objective. “It is that, what is in the script, is represented on the screen as reliably as possible.” However, this has many work edges, in which “many” people are involved.

“Our job is to allow or offer those instruments that allow that vision to be carried out faithfully. If this mentality of service to our client could be extrapolated to all State institutions, we would all have the same objective”, he reflected.

“The one who works in the General Directorate of Internal Taxes (DGII) has an objective: to raise money for the state coffers, not necessarily to be serving the vision of any producer who comes from abroad.”

However, he understands that extrapolating the “excellent service” and replicating it in all places where there is an interaction with a foreign project, so that the client returns. Although he understands that it is not something simple, “it is something that must be seen in the long term”, in the sense that “we all want investment in the country, well-paid jobs and for the country to prosper”, he concluded.

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