HAVANA—Ever since President Obama began to lift restrictions on the trade embargo the U.S. has had on Cuba, television and film productions have been figuring out ways to take advantage of this new access to the island country. One resource they have had is Cuban International Network (CIN), whose efforts to help build out Cuban production have previously been documented by TV Technology. Now, however, CIN has the seal of approval from the U.S. government via a Specific License to Operate in Cuba from the U.S. Department of Treasury, Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC).
Though CIN was founded about two and half years ago, building relationships with the Cuban broadcast community and assisting some of the productions that have already taken place in Cuba, this OFAC license will greatly help the company expand its capabilities.
“It allows us to work inside of Cuba,” said Barry Pasternack, CIN founder and CEO. “It allows us to hire. It allows us to shoot. It allows us to keep equipment there. It actually opens up CIN as a U.S. company operating in Cuba.”
While the license clears up some things on the U.S. side, CIN continues to work with Empresa Comercializadora de la Radio y la Television (RTV), Cuba’s leading broadcast network, and the Cuban broadcast community to get a strong foothold in the market.
“It’s an opportunity for growth of the industry that really hasn’t taken off yet because it never got a chance,” Pasternack explained. “I personally believe that there’s a good market, excellent market for both sides to be able to capitalize on what they have.”
Some of those opportunities are already in the pipeline, with CIN currently working on projects like the inaugural Friendship Classic Car Rally; jazz productions that will air in the U.S.; and bringing major sports broadcasts to both Cuba and the U.S. But this is just the first steps into what Pasternack believes clients will be able to do in Cuba.
“As we grow into the market and they allow us to have more and more ability to bring our equipment and finalize how we do certain things, the client will be able to do everything from concept to completion,” he said.