The film Yardie, directed by British actor Idris Elba, climaxed with three Jamaicans engaged in a triangular shoot-out.
That crime film was the latest in a series of projects shot on location which expended more than $1 billion in the economy last fiscal year. But there are three additional movies set to be filmed by next year.
Yardie is an adaptation of Victor Headley’s 1992 novel of the same name and is now being shown in select cinemas internationally. It employed hundreds of Jamaicans in the adaptation.
“I must admit, this project was quite expansive in comparison, and definitely among our highest spend,” said Renee Robinson, film commissioner at trade promotion agency Jampro.
Yardie was the biggest production in the fiscal year. Lead actors included Aml Ameen, Shantol Jackson, Sheldon Shepherd, Everaldo Creary and others. Outside of the main actors, the set employed extras and auxiliary staff such as drivers, caterers, runner-assistants, delivery persons and security personnel.
While not disaggregating the spend and budget for Yardie, Robinson said the local film industry as a whole generated more than 2,700 jobs and contributed a “record-breaking haul” of more than $1.2 billion to the local economy in the fiscal year ended March 2018. The Film Commis-sion is the premiere point of access for navigating the system to get the right permits and advice for international productions interested in shooting in Jamaica.
Usually, Hollywood films with big American actors are shown in local cinemas. Consequently, when the credits rolled at the local screening of Yardie this month at Palace Cineplex at Sovereign Centre in Kingston, patrons remained in their seat in search of a friend’s name or their own.