Puerto Rico film industry banking on local talent, incentives

Economic Development Secretary Manuel Laboy (Jaime Rivera/CB)

Subsidizes local productions; seeks to further attract investment with tax break on half of production spending

SAN JUAN — Eight Puerto Rican productions with an estimated economic impact of about $4.3 million will get about $2 million in cash subsidies from the island Film Industry Development Program’s (PDIC) Film Investment Fund (FIF).

The announcement was made Wednesday by Economic Development (DDEC by its Spanish acronym) Secretary Manuel Laboy, who added that these “productions, which represent 192 days of filming, will generate 775 direct jobs and represent 192 hotel [room] nights.”

The official stressed the importance of supporting these productions so they can be exported to other markets.

“These are great opportunities to market our talent and the quality of our products to attract other producers to film in Puerto Rico,” Laboy said.

Pedro Piquer Henn, the director of the Cinematographic Industry Program, said the films, “Perfume de Gardenias,” “The Butterfly,” “Julia de Burgos: Una Leyenda en Veinte Surcos,” “La Maravilla,” “La Pecera,” “Scammer,” “Receta No Incluida,” and “Al Revés,” will get about $1.9 million in subsidies from the Film Investment Fund, after the Treasury Department authorized the increase to the maximum credit grants for this fiscal year.

Laboy said Puerto Rico already has talent that is recognized worldwide but that the administration hopes to further promote.

“At DDEC, we continue to work on alternatives that result in the sustainability of this sector, which is why, in the new Incentives Code, we propose up to 50 percent of local film production expenses as a tax credit to strengthen the development of this industry,” the secretary said.

Piquer Henn added that the developing industry is solid in Puerto Rico, saying new projects underway, locally and abroad, will help promote the island as a film investment destination.

Puerto Rico Economic Development Dept. provides funding for 10 films

SAN JUAN – Ten Puerto Rican films have been given the green light by the Economic Development and Commerce Department (DDEC by its Spanish acronym) to obtain financial support from the Film Investment Fund and Act 27, which provides tax credit for films.

The government will contribute $1 million while the film production houses will finance $4.4 million. The movies will create 941 jobs, DDEC Secretary Manuel A. Laboy Rivera said.

“Thanks to the new Film Investment Fund that we recently put into effect, together with the tax credits provided by Act 27, we are announcing the support of the filming of ten Puerto Rican films. With this significant increase in endorsements, we take a bold step in support of our local film industry. We are at a key moment of change where we anticipate that 2018-2019 will be the year of the Puerto Rican Film,” Laboy Rivera said in a statement.

By replacing the previous lending system with reimbursements, “we are creating a new model that is helping the growth of the Puerto Rican film industry, creating jobs in this sector and contributing to the socio-economic and cultural development of Puerto Rico,” he said.

“The combination of the Film Investment Fund and the film law incentives have created an ecosystem. With the income, in part, from the movies supported by the Film Program, we can now contribute up to 25% of the film’s budget, with a cap of $125,000.00 per film, for the filming of local films, in exchange for a percentage of the income they generate,” Pedro Rúa Jovet, the executive director of the Film Industry Development Program (PDIC by its Spanish acronym) said. “We are betting on the success of the film projects, the generation of profits and public support of these films in movie theaters of the island and the world.”

The films receiving financial support are: “Julia de Burgos: Una leyenda en veinte surcos,” by Álvaro Calderón; “Perfume de Gardenias,” by Gisela Rosario and Arlene Cruz; “La Pecera,” by Glorimar Marrero; “Receta no Incluida,” by Vilma Liella López and Juliana Irizarry; “Los Mecánicos,” “El Hijo Perdido” and “Al Revés,” by Eduardo “Transfor” Ortiz; “Otra Boda en Castañer” and “Las Super Estrellas de la Lucha Libre” by Carlos Nido; and “El Mundo Secreto de Marina,” by Sonia Fritz.


Manufacturing continues 8-month expansion in Puerto Rico

SAN JUAN – The Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) for Puerto Rico’s manufacturing sector increased to 61.1 in June, remaining at or above the threshold of 50 for eight consecutive months.

“A reading above the threshold level suggests an expansion in the manufacturing sector with respect to the previous month,” according to a report released by the Puerto Rico Statistics Institute.

The PMI has been at or above the threshold level in 58 of the 98 months since the survey was first undertaken. It is currently available only on a non‐seasonally adjusted basis, which means that seasonal fluctuations can affect its performance.

In June, the New Orders PMI (NSA) took off, and reached 66.7, remaining over the threshold level for the sixth consecutive month. A reading above 50 indicates that new orders at manufacturing establishments in June were higher than in May.

The subindexes of the PMI also remained above the threshold level of 50. The Production PMI rose to 58.3 in June, remaining at or above the threshold level for the eighth consecutive month.

The Employment PMI (NSA) edged up to 63.9, remaining over the threshold level for a third consecutive month. The Supplier Deliveries PMI (NSA) lept to the threshold level of 50 in June. The Own Inventories PMI (NSA) climbed to 66.7, remaining at or above the threshold level for a fourth consecutive month.

US Producer Prices Flat in August with Food Costs Falling

In this Nov. 11, 2014 file photo, Tom Peters moves material for roof rails on the production line for the 2015 Ford F-150 at the Dearborn Truck Plant in Dearborn, Mich (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

In this Nov. 11, 2014 file photo, Tom Peters moves material for roof rails on the production line for the 2015 Ford F-150 at the Dearborn Truck Plant in Dearborn, Mich (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

WASHINGTON – U.S. producer prices were unchanged last month as the biggest decline in wholesale food costs in more than three years helped to keep a lid on inflation.

The Labor Department said Thursday that its producer price index, which measures cost pressures before they reach the consumer, was flat in August after a 0.4 percent decline in July which was the biggest drop in 10 months. Food prices at the wholesale level fell 1.6 percent in August, the largest drop since a similar decline in April 2013.

Core inflation, which excludes the volatile energy and food categories, showed a modest gain of 0.1 percent. Over the past year, wholesale prices have been flat while core wholesale prices are up 1 percent, further evidence that inflation remains a no-show for the U.S. economy.

Energy prices declined 0.8 percent in August as the cost of gasoline at the wholesale level fell 2.5 percent.

Inflation remains modest at both the producer and consumer levels. A key inflation gauge preferred by the Federal Reserve has been running below the Fed’s 2 percent inflation target for more than four years.

Fed policymakers will meet next week to consider whether to boost a key interest rate for the first time since a small quarter-point increase last December. Wall Street plunged last week on fears that the Fed was about to boost interest rates but those concerns eased after Fed board member Lael Brainard gave a speech Monday in which she defended the Fed’s go-slow approach and called for continued Fed “prudence” in raising rates.

The American economy, as measured by the gross domestic product, grew at a disappointing 1.1 percent annual rate from April through June after an anemic 0.8 percent gain in the first quarter. But forecasters believe GDP growth will accelerate in the second half of this year with the expectation of growth above 3 percent in the current July-September quarter.

Eurozone Industrial Production Sags in November

BRUSSELS – Official figures show that industrial production across the 19-country eurozone fell sharply in November, a development that could weigh on the region’s economic growth during the final quarter of 2015.

Eurostat, the EU’s statistics agency, says Wednesday that output declined by 0.7 percent during the month, more or less double market expectations. Unusually warm weather across many parts of the region was blamed for much of the decline as that weighed on energy demand.

However, an upward revision to the previous month to show a 0.8 percent increase helped assuage concerns.

More up-to-date surveys have suggested that the eurozone economy has been fairly buoyant at the turn of the year.

By The Associated Press