Written by David Lewis on Oct 28, 2009. Posted in On Location

Diesel and the Dominican Rep

When Vin Diesel directed the short Los Bandoleros, a prequel to the latest instalment of Fast & Furious, he chose to shoot the whole production in the Dominican Republic. Diesel's One Race Global Film Foundation, backed by Universal Studios, is also investing heavily in developing the country's industry. Diesel said at the short's premiere earlier this year that: "We had the whole country behind us making this film."

With such high profile Hollywood support, is the Dominican Republic becoming a viable alternative to some of its more expensive Caribbean neighbours?

Spectrum Films, a Production Company based in Mexico and a partner of Basanta Films who produced Los Bandoleros, believe so. They are involved in a number of joint ventures with local companies and are actively promoting the country as a filming destination.

Conchita Taboada, Executive Producer at Spectrum, explains: "After researching different Caribbean countries in our production/location quest, we were not happy with the obvious options. Some countries were very expensive, and others did not have the necessary infrastructure. We found a great place to shoot in the Dominican Republic."

The country's geography ranges from arid semi-desert plains to verdant valleys of tropical rainforests. But most filmmakers who come to the island are still initially attracted by its golden sand beaches that run along its 870 mile coastline so there is plenty to discover on the island.

There are bi-lingual local crews trained in working on foreign productions and the One Race Global Film Foundation is busy helping to train the country's next generation of filmmmakers.

Taboada continues: "The country is locked and loaded for the independent filmmaker. It has enough equipment to serve two big feature productions at the same time and, if needed, equipment can be flown into the DR from Miami or Mexico which are very close."

There are also film laws offering a range of incentives for film and television production companies and foreign producers considering the Dominican Republic as a location. It also offers a number of tax cuts to foreign productions.

If the Dominican Republic starts to take its incentives as seriously as some some of its neighbours, Puerto Rico's 40% tax rebate is one of the best incentives in the business, it has the potential to become a major player in the area.

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