Esteemed producer Rudy Langlais (“The Hurricane,” “Sugar Hill”) and his partners, Caribbean social entrepreneur Valmiki Kempadoo, Toronto-based producer Don Allan and veteran multidisciplined film executive Neil Sacker have closed an unprecedented equity financing agreement with the government of the Caribbean island nation of Antigua that will see $125 million committed to an initial slate of five feature films and launch Antigua’s long-range commitment to film production. The agreement was recently announced in Toronto by Golden Island’s principals.
The deal comes through the newly created venture, Golden Island Filmworks, an independent feature film finance and production entity run by Rudy Langlais, who was born in the West Indies, and his partners Sacker, Kempadoo and Allan. The first five feature films, individually budgeted between $20 million and $85 million, against a cumulative budget of $250 million, will be produced through Golden Islands Filmworks in collaboration with the government of Antigua and Barbuda, headed by Prime Minister, the Honorable Gaston A. Browne.
The dynamic arrangement serves as a first-of-its-kind film financing model that uses funds generated by the Antigua Citizenship Investment Program. Funds collected from the highly sought after citizenship program will be invested into the $125 million film slate.
Antigua and Barbuda Ambassador at Large His Excellency Dr. Joseph (Joey) John, who for eight years had been enticing Rudy Langlais to make films in the Caribbean, was instrumental in structuring the Antigua-based venture and will continue to work on all components and phases of development and production associated with the film slate. Ambassador John is currently Special Consultant to the Prime Minister on the Citizenship by Investment Program and Investment.
Through this venture, Antigua aims to establish itself as the center for film production in the Caribbean. A portion of all films on this slate will be shot in Antigua, which will inject tens of millions of dollars back into the local economy and foster employment and growth.
The films that will be produced through this arrangement range from “Rebels”, a story of four unique individuals from tough upbringings in the 70’s who come together as friends to discover and contribute to the rise of iconic musician, Bob Marley, to the launch of the “Nick Carter: Killmaster” espionage franchise, based on the longest-running franchise in U.S. book publishing history, producing 261 books over 30 years and selling more than 30 million copies.
Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne enthusiastically introduced the new venture. Said Browne: “Welcome to the start of this new day in the history of my nation, the Caribbean and worldwide cinema – the further transformation of Antigua and Barbuda as the economic powerhouse of the Caribbean through the power and art of film. We are welcoming the leading directors, actors and filmmaking technicians of the world to Antigua and they are coming to create exciting films that capture the beauty, mystery, history and complexity of our country, our history, our people.”
Rudy Langlais said, “My partners and I had a dream more than 10 years ago, that the Caribbean, which has produced brilliant statesmen like Alexander Hamilton, Nobel Prize-winning poets and novelists, Walcott and Naipaul, legendary athletes like Sobers and Richards and Bolt, and perhaps the world’s greatest cultural icon in Bob Marley, should add its “voice” now to filmmaking. We have wanted to join our colleagues around the world to share our stories and join in telling stories together. Now that time is here. Exciting films will come of this collaboration.”
Commented John, “Of all the projects that I have had the privilege of bringing to Antigua, this project has the potential to create the biggest impact on both the economy and the social transformation of Antigua. It brings a whole new industry into Antigua that will affect tourism and culture.”
Said Sacker, “It is an honor for me to be partnered with Rudy, for whom I have tremendous respect and friendship, and with Val and Don who were instrumental in putting this groundbreaking deal together. We are looking forward to making this venture a success for the government of Antigua and are committed to the highest creative and business standards for this incredible slate of films – each of which are distinctive and iconic stories that, at the same time, are marketable to the largest possible audience from Gen Z to Millennials to Baby-boomers to the older generations.”
The agreement was facilitated by industry legal veteran Eric Weissmann and Lizbeth Hasse and Erin Brinza of Creative Industry Law and producer/financier Karen Longley Gordy, who will serve as a principal in the company. Joseph Cohen of American Entertainment Investors and Larry Becksey of Intellectual Property Group served as Golden Islands’ advisors in the closing.