Jamaica’s Local Film Industry Earns from America’s Next Top Model

Kingston, Jamaica – JAMPRO’s Film Commission has reported earnings of over US$1 million and the creation of some 70 jobs from the recent filming of the popular reality television series, ‘America’s Next Top Model’ (ANTM).

The long-running reality TV show, hosted and produced by former supermodel and business mogul Tyra Banks, is a competition in which women from all over the United States compete for the title of ‘America’s Next Top Model’ and a chance to start their career in the modelling industry.

This season, dubbed the ‘College Edition’ (cycle 19), shot four episodes in Jamaica, including the season finale that is scheduled to air on Friday, November 16 on the US television network CW.

JAMPRO, Jamaica’s trade and investment promotion agency, and the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) facilitated the filming of the reality show in Jamaica. Kim Marie Spence, JAMPRO’s Manager of the Creative Industries and Film Commissioner is counting on a boost to Jamaica’s already iconic standing as a film destination and the millions of eyes worldwide which will see the series.

“This project is an immediate ‘shot in the arm’ for the Jamaican economy. It created 70 jobs and profiled the best of Jamaican fashion, music and celebrities to over one million viewers. The benefits of ANTM go beyond the actual spend”, said Spence. She pointed out that ANTM allowed for a national and international demonstration of Jamaica’s creative power through the use of local fashion designers, artistes, celebrities and prime locations.

America’s Next Top Model was filmed in western Jamaica in June and showcased the island’s tourism product, with shots in iconic locations such as Dunn’s River Falls in Ocho Rios and the Rose Hall Great House in Montego Bay. The crew also filmed at the Martha Brae River and Falmouth in Trelawny, Dolphin’s Cove in Ocho Rios. The Half Moon Resort provided accommodation for the cast and crew.

Local talent was also brought to the fore throughout, with the contestants modeling designs from Lisa McIntosh-Aris’ ‘Neah Lis’ line in episode 9 and Cedella Marley’s ‘High Tide’ swimwear in episode 10. The contestants also had the opportunity to win jewellery from the ‘Peace-is of Bianca’ line created by Bianca Bartley.

Kim Marie Spence, JAMPRO’s Manager of the Creative Industries and Film Commissioner (second left) engages Robert Mora, America’s Next Top Model’s Senior Producer (left) and Sancia Bennett-Templer, JAMPRO President (center), in a lively conversation about filming in Jamaica. Two other production crew members from America’s Next Top Model look on.

Saint International models, photographers William Richards and Marlon James, local dance groups, dancehall artiste Konshens and beauty queen Yendi Phillipps among others were also highlighted, demonstrating Jamaica’s creative force. The local producers of ANTM were Slingshot Productions.

Spence further noted that with incentives such as rebates and tax credits, Jamaica could potentially earn greater revenue from the film and television industry comparable to the country’s counterparts – the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.

Jamaica, through the work of the Jamaica Film Commission at JAMPRO and the JTB, has been the site of numerous reality shows from the UK, Japan and Norway. According to Spence, work is being done to attract not only more reality shows, but also documentaries, TV series and feature films.

In conjunction with the diversification of the international film industry, Jamaica is also looking in the process of diversifying its strategy, as seen by the work being done in the field of animation.

America’s Next Top Model is one of America’s most popular reality television series and has ranked as CW number one programme since 2006. The premiere of the ‘College Edition’ drew 1.26 million viewers. The show is syndicated to NBC Universal’s cable division, with Oxygen, Style Network, Bravo, MTV and VH1 airing marathon episodes and is shown in 170 countries and regions around the world.

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