British Columbia’s star power as a film-friendly production centre has received a boost from $275,000 in provincial government funding to help regional organizations attract and provide services to film and video producers from around the world.
British Columbia is the third-largest production centre in North America after Los Angeles and New York, with the local film industry directly and indirectly employing more than 25,000 people with overall 2010 wages adding up to approximately 450 million dollars.
The Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development distributed the funding to regional film commissions, as well as specific tourism associations and municipalities that work closely with the BC Film Commission to showcase and promote their regions to filmmakers and liaise with film production companies. If you would like to talk more with the BC Film Commission, they will be in Booth #889 at SIGGRAPH 2011, which takes place at the Vancouver Convention Centre next week, August 7th through 11th.
“Film in British Columbia represents a significant economic enterprise supporting good jobs and bringing substantial revenue to communities across the province,” said BC’s Community, Sport and Cultural Development Minister Ida Chong. “A visually dramatic landscape, a skilled film industry labour pool and a favourable tax regime established by the Province help attract film and video production, including projects in British Columbia’s regions.”
Every year, British Columbia’s regions provide locations for various film projects, including movies, television series, documentaries and commercials. Motion picture and television producers spent more than $1 billion in British Columbia during 2010. About 90 per cent of productions use the services of the BC Film Commission, including regional film commissions and offices.
“Since 1978, the BC Film Commission has successfully showcased the province as a motion picture production centre and filming destination. Regional commissions and organizations are instrumental in building and promoting B.C.’s inventory of locations,” added BC Film Commissioner Susan Croome. “They provide local production services and support required by visiting film crews and ensuring film-friendly procedures are in place through local regulatory authorities.”
Services provided in support of regional film include:
- Surveying and scouting film locations.
- Providing logistical support while filming is underway on location.
- Supplying information for producers matching scripts with possible locations.
- Offering production research, location expertise and technical support.
- Assisting with film permits, labour regulations and immigrant/work permits.
Contrary to popular belief, BC’s film industry, while largely located in the Lower Mainland region of the province, makes full use of the environmental and cultural diversity found throughout British Columbia:
· Since 1996, the Greater Victoria Film Commission (GVFC) has been the go-to agency for film productions doing business on southern Vancouver Island. Over the last decade, GVFC has supported the regional economy by helping to generate more than $165 million in direct spending in the Capital Regional District.
· The Vancouver Island North Film Commission has serviced film productions generating more than $80 million in economic impact for rural communities on Vancouver Island over the past 15 years.
· The Northern British Columbia Film region has played host to several Hollywood feature films including: Double Jeopardy, Reindeer Games, Insomnia, Dreamcatcher, Eight Below and most recently The Grey, filmed in Smithers for six weeks this past winter.
· In the last 10 years, the Thompson-Nicola Film Commission has worked with film projects resulting in $22 million in direct spending in the region, with a total estimated economic impact of more than $77 million in Kamloops and surrounding communities.
· Since 1990, film productions supported by the Okanagan Film Commission (OFC) have generated a multi-million dollar economic impact on the region. OFC has worked with international animation studios set to open offices in the region, including Bardel Entertainment / Nickelodeon, Lizard Brain and Disney. These new studios will employ young professional people at above-average salaries.
· In the fall of 2010, Nelson, Salmo and Ymir in the West Kootenays hosted filming of The Tall Man. The 42-day production generated $11 million in economic activity. More than 1,200 local people responded to an extras casting call.
The B.C. government provides between $130 million and $200 million in annual refundable tax credits for the film and television industry, depending on the level of production activity.
Even though it’s embroiled in a controversial referendum, the current HST assists in ensuring a competitive film industry in British Columbia. Under the HST, the 7% PST portion of the tax is now recoverable and provides significant savings on the purchases of goods and services such as catering and equipment.