Island life often feels a bit like a soap opera, but this week work began on the first-ever soap to be set in San Pedro town. Technically speaking, it is a telenovela the distinctive style of soap popular right across South America and hopes are high that it can be successfully exported, helping to boost tourism on Ambergris Caye and in Belize more widely.
La Isla Bonita, as the show will be called, is being directed by Matthiew Klinck of Make-Belize Films. It features an amateur cast made up entirely of local people. Auditions were held at the town council building on September 7th, with participants being asked to act out various dramatic scenarios. The show will use all the major languages spoken in Belize English, Spanish and Kriol and those auditioning were asked to speak as many of these as they could.
ÂSan Pedro, Ambergris Caye is the perfect setting for a telenovela, a beautiful tropical island filled with intrigue, passion and secrets, said Klinck on Facebook, but stressed that the show will not be about real events in the town. Instead, it will feature possible storylines that take place on the island, beginning with the tale of a jilted bride looking for a new love. Klinck says he plans to showcase the island, so its lush landscapes are likely to feature prominently.
Tourism minister Manuel Herredia Jr has given his support to the project, hoping it will attract more visitors to San Pedro Town; the mayor, Daniel Guerrero, has also expressed his approval. This is good news for Klinck, who feels that community support is essential if the show is to be a success. Test screenings are scheduled to take place at the Paradise Theater and locals will have the chance to voice their opinions before it is aired more widely.
Given the popularity of San Pedro as a tourist destination, and the natural beauty of Ambergris Caye, it seems likely that the show will attract quite a bit of enthusiasm regardless of its quality. The involvement of local people is also likely to help it appeal to San Pedro natives, and if it is a success then it could potentially create quite a bit of employment in the town.
It may not be quite like it seems on TV, but San Pedro is a fantastic place to spend time and an increasing number of people choose to retire there.