Guatemala enjoys of several competitive advantages for the creative industries, such as warm and kind people, excellent telecommunications infrastructure, closeness and a similar time zone with the United States and other nearshore markets, neutral accent, good education and a growing focus on research, development and innovation. Because of this, creative companies have been able to export their services to Central America, the United States, the Caribbean and South America. Solely on 2017, these companies closed contracts that added up to US$16.3 million, a 10% growth rate compared to 2016.
The creative industries offer the country real jobs as well as development opportunities. Inside this industry, the audiovisual segment is the one that has given Guatemala its biggest achievements. Yet, it still faces important challenges to achieve a higher development. As such, the French government has offered help for the Guatemalan cinematographic industry, co-producing Guatemalan films like ‘Ixcanul’ and ‘Temblores’. We believe that the wide experience of France in the cinematographic industry, combined with previous experiences working with Guatemalan talent, sets them as a strategic partner to boost the audiovisual industry in our country. They are already globally known for their talent in areas like music, sounds, lyrics and sceneries. In Guatemala, what we need nowadays is a legal framework to define the industry’s structure, funding opportunities, investments, co-production structures and temporary imports of cinematographic equipment; said Mrs. Mariam Polanco, president of AGEXPORT’s Creative Industries committee.
To boost this industry and expand knowledge of this industry’s business owners, national and internationally renowned directors, producers and TV and movie artists gathered on a seminar with Mr. Frederic Beyreziat, deputy Director of Unifrance and previously Foreign Affairs director of the National Center of Cinematography and the Moving Image of France.
Offering technical cooperation is crucial for the French Embassy in Guatemala as it allows us to spread the expertise of French companies and institutions with partner countries. When planning and structuring projects abroad, the French government always looks to implement them with local partners. As such, we are glad to work with the Creative Industries committee of AGEXPORT, which allows us to narrow our relations with Guatemala and guarantee the project’s success. Technical cooperation does not translate to unilateral donations, it means the opportunity to establish cultural, education and economic exchanges between Guatemala and France, said Mr. Jean-Hugues Simon-Michel, French Ambassador in Guatemala.
Mr. Frederic Beyreziat will lead a two-day seminar, which would also have the presence of the Guatemalan director, producer and screenwriter Jayro Bustamente. Other key guests of the event include representatives of the Guatemalan Association of Audiovisual and Cinema Companies (AGACINE, for its acronym in Spanish) and Guatemalan producers Chris Kummerfeldt, Pamela Guinea and Luis Tercero. As well, the Intellectual Property Registry will also attend the event.
We are looking to establish a discussion table to develop the audiovisual industry. We invite all key actors to join this table and establish a real ‘film commission’ in Guatemala. We need to be ready to host film projects in the country and expedite all legal procedures like importing equipment, issuing visas and working permits, among others. Gladly, we are already working with the Economy, Culture, Foreign Affairs and Labor ministries, along with the Tourism Institute, the Competitiveness Program and the Intellectual Property Registry, as key stakeholders on our industry, to work on these issues, said Mrs. Polanco.