EXCLUSIVE: Boutique film and TV production company MSR Media has set itself the challenge of producing 35 feature films on the dual-island Caribbean territory of Saint Kitts & Nevis over five years.
MSR Media said the total investment in the new deal with Saint Kitts will be $150 million over five years.
The first film will be the action movie Fast Sea, written by Sean Michael Argo and Leigh Scott. MSR Media’s co-founder and main producer Philippe Martinez is producing while Scott will direct. Production is slated to start in January 2023 in Saint Kitts.
The 35-movie commitment follows a meeting this week between Martinez and Saint Kitts & Nevis Prime Minister Terrance Drew.
MSR Media, which is based in the territory, is set to hire 150 people over the next four months and is finalizing the purchase of a leading hotel in Basseterre, Saint Kitts, which will create 100 new jobs when the hotel reopens.
The company is currently in the process of recruiting 50 young college graduates to work in their film division and will be opening a new film academy in all disciplines in Saint Kitts for nationals.
MSR Media’s has a strong track record in shooting films in the territory. Its upcoming romantic Christmas in the Caribbean, directed by Martinez and starring U.K. actress Elizabeth Hurley, was shot entirely on the island of Saint Kitts.
The new 35-movie plan is seen as a cornerstone in the Federation of Saint Kitts & Nevis’s ambitions to become a top film-making destination in the Caribbean.
Martinez and MSR Media managing director Lee Beasley have been living in the territory for a year and a half. In that time the company has produced several films alongside Christmas In The Caribbean, including One Year Off, Assailant, A Week in Paradise, and Us or Them.
“In the past 18 months, MSR Media has invested and produced eight films in the Federation,” said Martinez.
He added that Saint Kitt & Nevis’s recent creation of the Ministry of the Creative Economy was a significant initiative, that would be a boon for MSR Media and other companies wanting to make films in the territory
“We have always thought that Saint Kitts & Nevis has what it takes to present itself to the world in the way that it will be presented with these movies,” said Drew. “We are developing here what you call the orange economy where we are developing the Arts, and this definitely fits into that.”
Hurley, commenting on her experiences while shooting on the island, it was important to her that the production had involved local people and helped grow the territory’s filmmaking infrastructure.
“What’s really important for me and for the other actors that are involved is that we really feel that we are working within communities that seem so open to having us as filmmakers, that seem to be very keen to be involved,” she said.
“We’ve now integrated and we have so many local people learning all the different trades, backstage, in the film and in front of the camera and that’s a wonderful thing for us to see.”