At least 54 national and foreign film productions filmed in the Dominican Republic since 2020 increased local hotel occupancy with the reservation of more than 8,362 rooms.

Only 45 of those productions, filmed in Samaná, Santo Domingo, San Pedro de Macorís, Puerto Plata, La Romana, Santiago, La Vega and other cities, totaled an approximate budget of 7,101.8 million pesos, from which the Dominican economy benefited with the occupation of 8,362 hotel rooms. Official information is not yet settled on the rest.

The data is contained in a report given by the General Directorate of Cinema (Dgcine) at the request of Diario Libre, with the projects validated by the institution to benefit from the legal incentives for the film industry. The report includes lodgings as “hotel”.

Another 43 projects that were shot in the country in 2021 did not apply for the incentives. They had a budget of more than 264.9 million pesos. Although the Dgcine does not have the hotel occupancy that they generated, due to the dynamics of the filming work it is estimated that they contributed to the sector.

The teams that work on the filming reserve their lodging both in the pre-production stage and in production and post-production. The Dgcine specifies that the greatest expense, in terms of the budget, is reflected in the shooting.

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Economic increase
For the HBO documentary miniseries Exterminate all the brutes, about the exploitative and genocidal aspects of European colonialism, his biggest spend on hotel nights was during pre-production.

Barely one day was shot in Samaná, between August 11 and 12 of the 2020 pandemic, the year in which hotel occupancy fell -37% compared to 2019, according to statistics kept by the Central Bank.

With a budget of 101.3 million pesos, its production monopolized 149 hotel rooms that translated into 775 nights, according to the Dgcine report.

“In August 2020, when the country opened, that tourism opened (in the pandemic), we were the first destination that opened to the world for filming (…) We created a health protocol,” recalled Felipe Vicini, member of the council management of Lantica Media, a company that provides filming facilities and production services.

In that year, 10 projects were filmed under the incentives of Law 108-10, which include exemption from payment of the tax on the transfer of industrialized goods (Itbis) to goods, services and leasing directly related to pre-production, production and post-production. of cinematographic and audiovisual works approved for such purposes.

Last week, at the V Ibero-American Congress of the Alliance for Ibero-America Business Council (Ceapi), Vicini highlighted that Samaná was one of the “great beneficiaries” of the projects shot during the pandemic. “Three hotels that were closed during covid were opened, precisely to house the crews, the artists,” he said.

“The governor of Samaná tells me that, if it had not been for the film industry during covid, the province would have practically disappeared,” he reported.

The American film Old, starring Gael García Bernal, Vicky Krieps, Rufus Sewell, Alex Wolff, Thomasin McKenzie and Abbey Lee, among others, began shooting on September 26, 2020 and will run until November 15 of that year.

It was filmed in La Altagracia, La Romana, María Trinidad Sánchez, Puerto Plata, Samaná, San Pedro de Macorís and Santo Domingo. It led to the reservation of 2,855 rooms and 73,532 nights. Its budget was 663.4 million pesos.

In 2021, there was an uptick in filming. Only under the incentives of Law 108-10, 38 projects were shot. In that year, Dominican tourism was shaken and closed with a hotel occupancy of 74.3% of the total number of rooms in operation, according to data from the Ministry of Tourism.

“Cinema is transversal. The cinema promotes our tourism, promotes our country”, assured Vicini.

The movie Shotgun Wedding, starring Jennifer Lopez and Josh Duhamel, captured the 28,308-night booking and the country’s attention abroad. Only filming took them from February 22 to April 21, 2021, indicates the Dgcine.

The popular reality show Survivor also benefits the Dominican hospital industry. One of its versions, which the Dgcine identifies as the W Project, was filmed in La Altagracia, La Romana, Samaná and Santo Domingo, and the filming alone took up 335 days of 2021.

It had a permanent staff and an itinerant crew, which entered and left the country. 1,513 rooms and 64,430 nights were reserved for this production, reports the Dgcine. Its budget was 821 million pesos.

The Survivor Nordic countries version booked 649 rooms and 15,634 hotel nights. It had a budget of 359.2 million pesos and only the shooting -carried out in Samaná- was done from April 14 to September 1 of last year.

The country was also selected to film The Lost City, starring Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum. It captured 36,550 nights and filming was from May 24 to August 12, 2021.

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Likewise, the Korean television series Suriname, produced by Netflix, was shot from November 4 to December 28 last year, and involved the booking of 4,845 nights.

National productions
At the national level, among those that have required more hotel nights than those that have benefited from legal incentives, are the feature films Isleños (Desire), which required 2,777 nights of occupancy; Historic Adventure, with 2,830 nights; and Owners of time, with 2,246.

The feature film Flow calle, with a budget of 119.7 million pesos, occupied 20 rooms in Santo Domingo and 244 nights.

2022 goes for more
This year there are already at least three projects under the incentives of the film law. One is the feature film NYAD, shot between March 15 and May 11, which occupied 21,090 room nights. It’s a biopic about long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad, coming to Netflix.

Until last month, the Ministry of Tourism reports that hotel occupancy in the country was 67.7% of the total number of rooms in operation.

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