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Thursday, June 30, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesCENTENO QUITS AS FILM PROMOTION OFFICE CHIEF

CENTENO QUITS AS FILM PROMOTION OFFICE CHIEF

Manny Centeno submitted his resignation Friday as director of the V.I. Film Promotion Office after a decade in the position. He gave May 29 as his last day on the job.
"I've been there 10 years," he told the Source. "I didn't expect to stay much longer than that. I didn t want to make a career of being in government."
Centeno said he doesn't know who will take over as director but that his assistant, Carolyn Polydore, is capable of holding things together on an interim basis, if not permanently. "I'm not going to leave the film office hanging, either," he said, indicating he will be available to assist for a while.
He inherited the job from Win de Lugo, the man who got the concept of marketing the territory to the film industry going and developed it successfully, despite a shoestring budget, over the years. De Lugo left to move to California, and his longtime assistant, Eric Matthews, left to become president of Carifest, the St. Thomas theme park still under development. Almost from the start, the Office of Film Promotion has been one of the few niches in the V.I. government that annually generates far more in revenues for the government than it spends.
Under Centeno's tenure, the office has coordinated the filming of countless commercials and a few television and movie projects in the Virgin Islands. In his resignation letter, dated May 12, he cited particularly his "great memories and the satisfaction of coordinating such projects as ‘Weekend at Bernie's II,' ‘The Shawshank Redemption' and "Hotel del Sol'" among "close to 200 other projects I was able to attract to the territory."
He also said he had enjoyed helping to attract and coordinating the administration's efforts "for the successful completion of Sinbad's Soul Music Festival" last May.
Lately, though, he said, funding for the office has been very tight, and most recently the industry has seemed to be caught in a downturn.
"This has been a relatively slow season for filming," he said. Most of the commercials aired these days are for E-commerce, he added, "and they don't require a lot of location filming."
Centeno said he may move to the mainland, but not immediately. "My options are open right now," he said. He plans to take his film industry skills and experience into the private sector.
"I have a few projects that I'm working on," he said. Among them are three web sites: caribbean film.com, islands.net and virgin islands.org.
The first will be an on-line resource for filming in the Caribbean and South America, containing information on hotels, local crews, locations and more, he said.
The second will feature information geared to people interested in relocating to an island, such as what goods and services are available. Centeno said this site will be the gateway to the others and that he plans to start by putting up information on the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, then expand to islands throughout the world.
The third site he described as "an on-line encyclopedia" of the territory. It is the furthest along to completion of the three, about half-way, he said. It will contain a detailed history of the islands and lots of maps and photographs. Eventually, he said, he wants to market it in CD Rom format.
Centeno said he also is working with some other people on a film project about an individual who lived and worked in New Orleans. "It's almost a biography of that person's life," he said, but would not elaborate. He also did not name his associates but said they include a producer currently in Puerto Rico working on a documentary. The film project is far enough along that "we have a script," he said.

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Manny Centeno submitted his resignation Friday as director of the V.I. Film Promotion Office after a decade in the position. He gave May 29 as his last day on the job.
"I've been there 10 years," he told the Source. "I didn't expect to stay much longer than that. I didn t want to make a career of being in government."
Centeno said he doesn't know who will take over as director but that his assistant, Carolyn Polydore, is capable of holding things together on an interim basis, if not permanently. "I'm not going to leave the film office hanging, either," he said, indicating he will be available to assist for a while.
He inherited the job from Win de Lugo, the man who got the concept of marketing the territory to the film industry going and developed it successfully, despite a shoestring budget, over the years. De Lugo left to move to California, and his longtime assistant, Eric Matthews, left to become president of Carifest, the St. Thomas theme park still under development. Almost from the start, the Office of Film Promotion has been one of the few niches in the V.I. government that annually generates far more in revenues for the government than it spends.
Under Centeno's tenure, the office has coordinated the filming of countless commercials and a few television and movie projects in the Virgin Islands. In his resignation letter, dated May 12, he cited particularly his "great memories and the satisfaction of coordinating such projects as ‘Weekend at Bernie's II,' ‘The Shawshank Redemption' and "Hotel del Sol'" among "close to 200 other projects I was able to attract to the territory."
He also said he had enjoyed helping to attract and coordinating the administration's efforts "for the successful completion of Sinbad's Soul Music Festival" last May.
Lately, though, he said, funding for the office has been very tight, and most recently the industry has seemed to be caught in a downturn.
"This has been a relatively slow season for filming," he said. Most of the commercials aired these days are for E-commerce, he added, "and they don't require a lot of location filming."
Centeno said he may move to the mainland, but not immediately. "My options are open right now," he said. He plans to take his film industry skills and experience into the private sector.
"I have a few projects that I'm working on," he said. Among them are three web sites: caribbean film.com, islands.net and virgin islands.org.
The first will be an on-line resource for filming in the Caribbean and South America, containing information on hotels, local crews, locations and more, he said.
The second will feature information geared to people interested in relocating to an island, such as what goods and services are available. Centeno said this site will be the gateway to the others and that he plans to start by putting up information on the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, then expand to islands throughout the world.
The third site he described as "an on-line encyclopedia" of the territory. It is the furthest along to completion of the three, about half-way, he said. It will contain a detailed history of the islands and lots of maps and photographs. Eventually, he said, he wants to market it in CD Rom format.
Centeno said he also is working with some other people on a film project about an individual who lived and worked in New Orleans. "It's almost a biography of that person's life," he said, but would not elaborate. He also did not name his associates but said they include a producer currently in Puerto Rico working on a documentary. The film project is far enough along that "we have a script," he said.