Spotlight on the Dominican Republic

A number of high-profile productions are flocking to one of the largest Caribbean islands with its stunning locations and growing crew base and infrastructure

By Stuart Kemp 10 Aug 2021

Spotlight on the Dominican Republic
Old filming in Dominican Republic

As one of the largest islands in the Caribbean, the Dominican Republic (DR) shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti to its west. It boasts tropical flora and fauna, a huge horizon water tank with blue-screen capabilities and location stand-ins for anywhere in Latin America.

“The resilience of our film industry has been shown over this pandemic and the strength of the three assets that support it — our crew base, our infrastructure and our film incentives,” says DR film commissioner Marianna Vargas Gurilieva. “We have experienced an unprecedented increase of foreign productions being shot in the DR, with record-breaking spend.”

Lantica Media provides studio facilities and film production services with operating units Pinewood Dominican Republic Studios, Lantica Production Services and Art 3+4, a joint venture that finances and produces original content for Spanish-language audiences.

Pinewood Dominican Republic Studios, a 43-acre site around a 30-minute drive from Santo Domingo’s Las Americas International Airport, has state-of- the-art soundstages, production support services and access to a host of tropical locations.

Hollywood star Vin Diesel is also planning to buid a film studio in Puerto Plata in the north of the country through his production company One Race Films, responsible for the Fast and Furious films.

Over the past 12 months, the bio­diverse Caribbean country — home to breathtaking beaches as well as jungles, mountains, deserts and other eye-catching locations including rainforest, savannah, highlands and Pico Duarte, the Caribbean’s tallest mountain — has hosted myriad productions. Capital city Santo Domingo has several Spanish landmarks including the gothic cathedral Primada de America, which dates back five centuries, in the Zona Colonial district.

M Night Shyamalan’s Old, backed by Universal and based on the graphic novel Sandcastle by Pierre Oscar Lévy and Frederik Peeters, is among the projects accessing the territory’s tax credit system and facilities.

Shyamalan described shooting in the DR as “an incredible experience”. He worked with a mostly Dominican crew and brought with him 40 US crew members and 20 cast members.

Other productions shot in the DR include Lionsgate’s Arthur The King, starring Mark Wahlberg, and AGC Studios’ Leopard Skin, with Carla Gugino. Lionsgate production Shotgun Wedding, directed by Jason Moore and starring Jennifer Lopez, Josh Duhamel and Jennifer Coolidge also shot in the DR. 

The country is presently housing Paramount Pictures’ The Lost City Of D, starring Sandra Bullock, Amazon’s high-end television series Boundless, with Rodrigo Santoro, and the Netflix TV show Suriname, based on the true story of a Korean man who becomes a drug lord. Two Spanish-language features have also used DR locations this past year: Croma Kid and La Encomienda, as well as a Daddy Yankee music video.

The Dominican Republic offers a 25% transferable tax credit on qualifying spend (which includes pre- to post-production, equipment, services and labour as well as above and below-the-line costs) for projects with a $500,000 minimum spend. It also offers a VAT exemption on directly related goods, services and/or rentals for approved film suppliers, and a custom tax exemption on the temporary import of goods and equipment necessary for filming.

This feature is a condensed version of the Dominican Republic profile in the latest issue of World of Locations, which you can read below...


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