Puerto Rico's Film Industry | Puerto Rico 51st

Puerto Rico is rebounding from Hurricane Maria, earthquake swarms, the COVID-19 pandemic, and a long recession. The creativity and resilience of the residents is one of the Island’s assets, and we see it in manufacturing, agriculture, and tourism, all of which are seeing growth.

Add the film industry to Puerto Rico’s potential strengths.

Since 2019, Puerto Rico has hosted 72 film productions, bringing 9,600 jobs and $1.1 billion in investments to the Island.

Puerto Rico’s climate is part of the draw. With 2,829 hours of sunshine each year, Puerto Rico allows shooting year round.

As a territory of the United States, Puerto Rico uses U.S. currency, shares intellectual property laws, and permits work and travel for U.S. citizens. All these characteristics simplify work and life for production company.

There are tax incentives for film production companies shooting in Puerto Rico. Companies may receive tax credits covering as much as 40% spending with local workers and companies, as well as a 15% tax credit for work done with local film companies.

Some of the larger films produced in Puerto Rico recently:

  • Pirates of the Caribbean
  • 22 Jump Street
  • Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights
  • Atomic Shark
  • Speed Kills

Film Industry Development Program

The Film Industry Development Program of the Department of Economic Development and Commerce estimates that film crews spend millions each year on real estate, hospitality, food, transportation, and equipment as well as hiring actors and other workers.

The program has a list of strategic goals:

  • Inspect and regulation of incentives granted by the Program, to improve the operation and achieve a higher return on investment for the Government.
  • Support the development and creation of production and / or post-production studios in Puerto Rico, for the development of local and international projects.
  • Support the creation of constant and lasting jobs for the industry, sponsoring festivals and educational events.
  • Achieve the endorsement of around 10 to 20 new film projects, with tax credits.
  • Support 8 to 10 new local film projects through cash grants.

In Fiscal Year 2018-2019 the Program granted $100 million in tax credits for 39 projects, which created 8,710 jobs with a payroll of $71,000,000. They stayed in local hotels for 11,553 total nights.

Infrastructure

While planned infrastructure projects have been delayed or derailed, insiders believe that Puerto Rico’s deft handling of the coronavirus will help to restart the film industry on the Island.

Infrastructure investments are the last piece of the puzzle for Puerto Rico’s growth in the film industry. As a state, Puerto Rico will be a in a stronger position to complete that last piece.

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