GVB bashes proposed Guam Film Office

GVB President & CEO Pilar Laguana said the bureau was "neither given the respect nor courtesy" of discussing this measure with the bill’s author.

The Guam Visitors Bureau has criticized Bill 152-35, introduced by Speaker Tina Muna Barnes, which proposes to establish a Guam Film Office under the Guam Educational Telecommunications Corporation.

In a letter to the Speaker, GVB President & CEO Pilar Laguana said the bureau was “neither given the respect nor courtesy” of discussing the measure with the bill’s author.

“From our point of view, this bill has been strategically prepared and mapped out to avoid GVB input. Our committee nor the board wasn’t given time to formulate an established position. Instead, we are now advising all interested stakeholders and GVB members to immediately write and voice their concerns at the last minute. This is reactive at best, but we would like to have been proactive in working together. This bill feels rushed to push an agenda,” Laguana wrote.

She added that the Legislature must be careful in appropriating large amounts to organizations, like the Guam Film Office, that have no track record of managing funds yet.

Laguana also said GVB is concerned about the accountability of how $1.5 million in appropriated funds from the TAF would be managed.

Speaker Barnes helped facilitate the filming of a Netflix movie on Guam earlier this year. Because there was no active Guam Film Office on island, the Speaker said she had to meet personally with the director of the Netflix production to help facilitate the filming of the movie and help showcase Guam to the world.

Earlier, the Speaker also said she was approached by a famous, globally recognized production company for a documentary. However, this did not push through because the production company did not have a government agency to turn to in order to facilitate its filming.

The Speaker is hopeful that the creation of a Guam Film Office would boost the establishment of a movie industry for Guam because the island has missed so many opportunities already.