Founded in January 2017 by four filmmakers from Trinidad and Tobago, FILMCO is a non-profit organisation formed out of the shared belief that creative, audio visual work has value in terms of its ability to be a conduit to creative and artistic expression; to represent our contemporary reality, our history, and our uniquely diverse cultural milieu. FILMCO advocates for the recognition of film and television production as a legitimate means of earning a livelihood and generating employment—as it is elsewhere on the global stage. We are continuing and magnifying the work of industry trailblazers who have gone before us. We are resolved to create a community of empowered film and television producers, directors and writers with agency over their own careers, supported by systems and structures that can sustain their work.
Towards achieving this vision, FILMCO’s core areas of focus are currently:
- Distribution of films and television programmes;
- Management of the annual trinidad+tobago film festival;
- Industry-specific professional development and introductory training.
We are also working to grow a supportive and vibrant membership organisation that provides innovative solutions and services which respond to the needs of our members and community so that they feel encouraged and valued.
Through open sharing and constructive participation we are making a positive contribution to the wider creative landscape of Trinidad and Tobago.
Our Core Objectives
- To propose, develop and execute strategic, innovative and sustainable distribution models within Trinidad and Tobago and the wider Caribbean region
- To curate an active catalogue of audio-visual content made throughout the region and aggregate this content for the purposes of distribution and earning revenue for content producers
- To fundraise for and implement the annual trinidad+tobago film festival including programming, outreach and special events
- To foster an environment for self improvement through education and training opportunities
- To develop and execute appropriate, wide-ranging and affordable training and professional development programmes
- To actively negotiate for the overall financial and physical wellbeing of our members and film industry practitioners as a whole
- To represent, lobby, agitate and actively defend the most viable ecosystem for all our members and film industry practitioners as a whole
- To adapt and expand our services to meet the evolving needs of our membership and the wider industry
FILMCO engages a series of filmmaker-focused activities which we believe will help to encourage a sense of community within our industry, increase professional capacity, build national and regional awareness of the programmes and films that are made here, help to grow audiences for local content at the cinema and on television, and educate the public on the diversity of roles and jobs within the film industry. Our current activities include:
- A FILMCO model for Caribbean Broadcasting: A FILMCO model for Caribbean Broadcasting: The ‘branded strands’ concept was developed by FILMCO to build the profile of, and audiences for, quality Caribbean films and television shows, whilst creating unique products to attract advertisers to television stations and content broadcasters and streamers. The strands were designed as content blocks of licensed and/ or commissioned content that would be sold to advertisers or sponsors. The blocks would comprise ‘themed’ content which would allow for mini series, standalone features and shorts and, eventually, full series to be programmed. In 2019, FILMCO entered into an historic licensing and curation partnership with Trinidad and Tobago Television, with our branded strands concept taking centre stage in prime time three nights a week.
- trinidad+tobago film festival: Following on from 2019, wherein FILMCO worked alongside Dr Bruce Paddington to plan and manage the film festival, the festival has now been fully handed over to FILMCO, a registered non-profit, while Dr Paddington remains on as a ttff programmer and consultant. Moving forward, FILMCO will manage all aspects of the annual festival including fundraising, funder relationship, programming, screenings, industry and special events.
- FILMCO distribution: As part of our mandate to create a sustainable eco-system for film and television professionals in Trinidad and Tobago, in 2019, FILMCO made the decision to enter into the business of content distribution, as our stakeholders’ ability to earn income from the sale/ licensing and distribution of their content is an essential and largely missing link in the revenue chain of most Caribbean film and television productions. To this end, we forged an historic agreement with Trinidad and Tobago Television, and are continuing to explore and develop distribution outlets and models to the benefit of our stakeholders and clients.
- Weeknight Workshops + workshop series: Ongoing professional development is a core need for our young industry, here in Trinidad and Tobago. The historical lack of a formal institutional framework to guide the development of the industry has led to large gaps in our community’s knowledge about the business of making films and television shows, particularly in regards to planning and development, budgeting, fundraising, script development, marketing and distribution. Although the UWI film programme has been on stream for more than a decade, with a focus on film history and theory, students often emerge from the programme with little practical, hands-on knowledge that will help them to enter the industry in substantive roles at any stage of the pipeline. Additionally, many practitioners in the industry are self-taught and rely on short courses to augment their knowledge, while maintaining a full work schedule. FILMCO is helping to fill these gaps, in part, through our educational programming: Weeknight Workshops (which have been taking place since 2017) and FILMCO Workshop Series (which began in 2020).
- FILMCO on social media: Our social media presence has developed into a project in its own right as we use it to help build community and foster a spirit of shared support and generosity within our industry. We do this through deliberate and strategic sharing of all local film-related news and events. Social Media is also an essential tool in our outreach efforts and gives us much wider distribution of the filmmaker-focused programming and content that we’re sharing through filmco.org.