Renowned Dominican Film Director and Producer, to Discuss “Dominican Cinema: Development of an Art-form and an Industry” Presents at GFDD and FUNGLODE’s Dominican Get-Together

June 25, 2013

On Tuesday, June 25, on the occasion of Dominican Get-togethers in the Big Apple, Global Foundation for Democracy and Development (GFDD) and FUNGLODE, proudly hosted highly regarded Dominican film director and producer, Fernando Baez. The honoured guest was a featured participant in the discussion forum “Dominican Cinema: Development of an Art-form and an Industry” organized by the Foundation at the Instituto Cervantes
in New York City.

Mr. Baez, the distinguished career film maker, came out to New York audience, for the first time,  with an enlightening talk about the development of the film industry in the Dominican Republic, challenges that it faces today, the importance of cinema art for the expression of the Dominican national character and the new film law introduced in the country several years ago.

The renowned  film producer began his presentation with the citation that the film industry in the Dominican Republic has always been the Promised Land for those who dreamed of being part of the wonderful world of the seventh art. From 1921-1922 with the first film
productions by Tuto Báez and Joaquín Palau to the introduction of the new film law in March 2012 that celebrated the release of The King of Najayo, the number of movies that were made ​​since then, in just two short years, have exceeded the history of nearly a century of the Dominican film industry. “This was made possible through the support of the former President of the Dominican Republic and honorary President of GFDD,
Leonel Fernández, who put a lot of effort to enact the new law,” remarked Mr. Baez and added that “for that reason, nowadays the Dominican Republic is beginning to perceive the awakening of a real film industry, which promises to possibly become one of the main industries of our country.”

In regard to challenges that the Dominican filmmakers face today, according to Fernando Baez, is the question of where to focus: on an art where the
universal language predominates, driven only by the same love for the seventh art, or on the banality of local topics, without substance or content, with the main purpose of tickets sale and targeting Dominican diaspora. The famous producer believes that the film industry ceases to be an art in the same instant when its audio-visual language ceases to be universal.

“Once I wrote that we are the generation that is writing the history of the Dominican film
industry, and that we must not make spelling errors in the process,” said Mr. Baez coming to the next point on the agenda. “We have the responsibility of changing the incorrect perception that the Dominican film industry is only local and without content. But it is changing. Incredibly, Dominican films are helping to erase those false perceptions,” concluded the speaker.

Special attention during the panel discussion was drawn to the new film law introduced in the Dominican Republic several years ago. Implemented under the former President Leonel Fernandez, the law provides support for both Dominican and foreign film productions. As a result, the law has proved to spur film production, generate new jobs and increase opportunities for young
Dominican talents who are entering the movie industry. One of the films featured at the event and directed by Fernando Baez, El Rey de Najayo, is the first Dominican film that was produced under the afore-mentioned law. To the delight of the audience who were so receptive to El Rey de Najayo, Mr. Baez showed them a selected number of film clips from his own soon-to-be released documentary film on the tragic consequences of Lake Enriquillo’s
inexplicable growth, were received by the audience with warm applause.

About Fernando Baez
Fernando Báez, is the Founder and President of Unicorn Films and Grupo Único. He has made more than 250 documentaries. He has been director of production at various TV channels in the Dominican Republic, as well as director and producer of the ecologist documentary series La Imagen Nacional (The National Image). He has won many
national and international recognitions and awards as a TV director. He has Masters Degrees in both Cinematography and Film Direction. His film productions include, amongst others, Tiempo para Cosechar (Time to Harvest), Un Pueblo con Alma de Carnaval (A Village with Carnival Soul), Dominican Republic… Sus Ríos, Saltos y Lagos (Dominican Republic… Its Rivers, Waterfalls and
Lakes), and the newly released feature film El Rey de Najayo (The King of Najayo).