Kill The Dictator: Movie-making Game Changer in the DR [Exclusive]


By Bel Hernandez

The Dominican Republic is fast becoming filmmaker heaven! The new Law for the Promotion of Film Activity, which came into effect in 2011– the “Cinema Law”, as it is referred to —  provides a tax credit of up to 25% for feature films and TV series shot in the DR. Last year director Felix Limardo (Sol Caribe) utilized this tax incentive to shoot Kill the Dictator/El Teniente Amado, the first of a slate of films he will produce under his banner Maireni Films using he DR “Cinema Law”.

Johnny Abbes
Enrique Castillo As Johnny Abbes

Based on the true story, Kill the Dictator/El Teniente Amado chronicles the life of Lieutenant Amado Garcia Guerrero who was one of the key figures in the assassination of the dominican dictator Rafael Leonidas Trujillo in 1961.  Shot concurrently in English and Spanish, Kill the Dictator is setting a new filmmaking precedent. talented bilingual cast is headed by Amaury Nolasco (Prison Break), Efrain Figueroa (Desperate Measures), Mercedes Renard (Hitch, Four Assassins) and Enrique Castillo (Weeds, Blood In Blood Out).

 Latin Heat spoke to director and executive producer Felix Limardo about this the making of his film.

Latin Heat:  Tell me a little about your production company Maireni Films?

Felix Limardo:  Maireni Films, SRL was established in 2007 and registered with the DGCINE (Direccion General De Cine). The company is dedicated to the creation of studio quality content for the national and international market in film and television using the latest digital technology and world class creativity.

We recently produced Kill The Dictator aka El Teniente Amado.  We also produced the documentary Sol Caribe, a journey through the roots of Merengue and Bachata with the iconic artists who created the sound. Also, One Wish, a dramatic comedy starring Kevin Kilner, Bella Thorne and Christa B. Allen.  In addition, our company also produces many of top national and international TV campaigns, which I also direct.

LH:  Tell us about shooting your film under the new DominicanRepublic tax incentive law.

FL:   Kill The Dictator was made possible with the introduction of the new film law (108-10) in the Dominican Republic. The general purpose of the law is to create a desirable option for the country to engage the film and audio visual industry as a vehicle to promote the cultural roots, habits, customs and lifestyles of Dominicans.

You don’t have to be a local to produce a film with the tax incentives in the DR.  I’m bi-coastal based out of Los Angeles and the DR.

Under Article 7 Chapter 16 of the “Cinema Law” you are required to be a Dominican production company registered with the DGCINE and the investors have to be Dominican companies or a private investor. There has to be at least one Dominican producer and a principal actor. At least two of the following: DP, PD, WRITER, MUSIC and four of the following technicians:  Sound Mixer, Camera Operator, Gaffer, Grip, Make-up, Hair, Stylist, Script person, Wardrobe and Casting.

KillTheDictator T
Efrain Figueroa as the Dictator Trujillo

LH:  Tell us about the highlights of shooting Kill the Dictator?  Also about locations, and persons that made this film possible.

FL:  First, it was written and through the efforts of Huchi Lora, the Dominican Republic’s most respected journalist who has spent several years researching the specifics of this true story. For a Director/Producer, the real highlight is that you can make YOUR film…the way you want without anyone on your back telling you who to cast or what to do.

The Dominican Republic has it all…and I mean it…you can shoot in the middle of the desert, jungle, beaches, mountains and the oldest city in the new world. One of the scenes in Kill The Dictator was shot in the first fort that was built by Christopher Columbus. Anyone who shoots a film in the DR must give a credit to Ellis Perez (Minister of the DGCINE).  He’s a real go-getter, a no no-nonsense type of guy who will go out of his way to make sure you get a permit to shoot anywhere in the DR.

Kill The Dictator was made possible by our investors BANCO BHD, VIAMAR & PLATERGAS… Gabriel Tineo, Oscar Villanueva and Juan Carlos Pais.

LH:  You shot your film in English and Spanish… why did this come about and will you do this again?

FL:  Yes. We shot it in both languages… there is no market in the U.S. for a Spanish film with English subtitles… so, we shot it in Spanish and English. I believe that the future of the Hispanic market is a crossover to both languages… we saw it in the film Traffic. I will make all of my films from now on in both languages or 50/50 Spanish & English.

LH:  Tell us about the slate of films you will be producing under the DR tax incentives, the genres, titles, etc.

FL:  Our next film is an action/thriller Danny La Bala. It’s the plot of MacBeth set in modern times inspired by true events. There is also The Prospect a coming-of-age baseball story; Draculae a suspense thriller; and Badwater, an action adventure in addition to others.

LH:  Where and when can we look forward to seeing the film

FL:   We’re premiering the film in Spanish in the DR on May 30th on the occasion of the anniversary of the assassination of Trujillo.  We are currently looking for distribution.

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