Nov 20, 2017
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Lights, camera, but not enough action from province for Alberta’s film industry

As Alberta continues to struggle with the depressed price of oil, much has been made of the need to diversify our economy.

It’s unfortunate, then, that one of the province’s burgeoning industries, film, finds itself struggling to attract new productions.

Just as we are blessed with oil and gas under the ground, Alberta is also blessed with fantastic scenery in which to set movies and TV shows of all kinds. Big cities, small towns, prairies and mountains, we have it all and can sub in for almost anywhere a scriptwriter and director can conjure.

From Heartland to Hell on Wheels and Fargo, and from Superman through Unforgiven and more recently The Revenant, Alberta has proven itself a prime spot for film shoots. Recent improvements like the Calgary Film Centre, which this winter was home to the Season 3 shoot for TV series Fargo, has made Calgary, especially, an even more attractive destination for filmmakers.

Oddly then, the provincial government seems to be off-script in terms of growing this industry, and foregoing the high-paying jobs for skilled crews, caterers and local actors, along with spending on local products and provisions and promoting the province as a tourist destination that goes along with it.

One sticking point is the Alberta Media Fund, part of which is used for grants to productions that come here. That fund, according to the recent provincial budget, is being subjected to a net reduction this year.

Beyond the size of the fund, industry is lobbying against a cap on the fund’s production grant, which can contribute up to 30 per cent of a production’s eligible Alberta expenses, but is capped at $5 million per project. This, according to the film industry, is preventing multi-year TV series from coming here.

There are many other ways to go about attracting films, and a tax credit seems to be the one most commonly used in other jurisdictions. If there are better ways, it would be great to hear about them, but the province has said only that “Alberta’s cultural industries play a significant role in the government’s plan to diversify the economy and we continue to look for opportunities to support the sector.”

(The federal government didn’t’ help much either recently when a TV show was refused permission to shoot in Banff townsite because a native character played by actor Tom Jackson was a villain.)

Careful viewers of the Emmy Award-winning 2012 miniseries Hatfields & McCoys would note that rather than being shot in Kentucky and West Virginia, that History Channel effort was filmed largely in Romania. This free movement of production capital is the reality of the film business and one that Alberta is poised to capitalize on or lose out on.

Source: Calgary Herald

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Front Page, Headline, Industry News

Lights, camera, but not enough action from province for Alberta’s film industry

As Alberta continues to struggle with the depressed price of oil, much has been made of the need to diversify our economy.

It’s unfortunate, then, that one of the province’s burgeoning industries, film, finds itself struggling to attract new productions.

Just as we are blessed with oil and gas under the ground, Alberta is also blessed with fantastic scenery in which to set movies and TV shows of all kinds. Big cities, small towns, prairies and mountains, we have it all and can sub in for almost anywhere a scriptwriter and director can conjure.

From Heartland to Hell on Wheels and Fargo, and from Superman through Unforgiven and more recently The Revenant, Alberta has proven itself a prime spot for film shoots. Recent improvements like the Calgary Film Centre, which this winter was home to the Season 3 shoot for TV series Fargo, has made Calgary, especially, an even more attractive destination for filmmakers.

Oddly then, the provincial government seems to be off-script in terms of growing this industry, and foregoing the high-paying jobs for skilled crews, caterers and local actors, along with spending on local products and provisions and promoting the province as a tourist destination that goes along with it.

One sticking point is the Alberta Media Fund, part of which is used for grants to productions that come here. That fund, according to the recent provincial budget, is being subjected to a net reduction this year.

Beyond the size of the fund, industry is lobbying against a cap on the fund’s production grant, which can contribute up to 30 per cent of a production’s eligible Alberta expenses, but is capped at $5 million per project. This, according to the film industry, is preventing multi-year TV series from coming here.

There are many other ways to go about attracting films, and a tax credit seems to be the one most commonly used in other jurisdictions. If there are better ways, it would be great to hear about them, but the province has said only that “Alberta’s cultural industries play a significant role in the government’s plan to diversify the economy and we continue to look for opportunities to support the sector.”

(The federal government didn’t’ help much either recently when a TV show was refused permission to shoot in Banff townsite because a native character played by actor Tom Jackson was a villain.)

Careful viewers of the Emmy Award-winning 2012 miniseries Hatfields & McCoys would note that rather than being shot in Kentucky and West Virginia, that History Channel effort was filmed largely in Romania. This free movement of production capital is the reality of the film business and one that Alberta is poised to capitalize on or lose out on.

Source: Calgary Herald

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Front Page, Headline, Industry News

Lights, camera, but not enough action from province for Alberta’s film industry

As Alberta continues to struggle with the depressed price of oil, much has been made of the need to diversify our economy.

It’s unfortunate, then, that one of the province’s burgeoning industries, film, finds itself struggling to attract new productions.

Just as we are blessed with oil and gas under the ground, Alberta is also blessed with fantastic scenery in which to set movies and TV shows of all kinds. Big cities, small towns, prairies and mountains, we have it all and can sub in for almost anywhere a scriptwriter and director can conjure.

From Heartland to Hell on Wheels and Fargo, and from Superman through Unforgiven and more recently The Revenant, Alberta has proven itself a prime spot for film shoots. Recent improvements like the Calgary Film Centre, which this winter was home to the Season 3 shoot for TV series Fargo, has made Calgary, especially, an even more attractive destination for filmmakers.

Oddly then, the provincial government seems to be off-script in terms of growing this industry, and foregoing the high-paying jobs for skilled crews, caterers and local actors, along with spending on local products and provisions and promoting the province as a tourist destination that goes along with it.

One sticking point is the Alberta Media Fund, part of which is used for grants to productions that come here. That fund, according to the recent provincial budget, is being subjected to a net reduction this year.

Beyond the size of the fund, industry is lobbying against a cap on the fund’s production grant, which can contribute up to 30 per cent of a production’s eligible Alberta expenses, but is capped at $5 million per project. This, according to the film industry, is preventing multi-year TV series from coming here.

There are many other ways to go about attracting films, and a tax credit seems to be the one most commonly used in other jurisdictions. If there are better ways, it would be great to hear about them, but the province has said only that “Alberta’s cultural industries play a significant role in the government’s plan to diversify the economy and we continue to look for opportunities to support the sector.”

(The federal government didn’t’ help much either recently when a TV show was refused permission to shoot in Banff townsite because a native character played by actor Tom Jackson was a villain.)

Careful viewers of the Emmy Award-winning 2012 miniseries Hatfields & McCoys would note that rather than being shot in Kentucky and West Virginia, that History Channel effort was filmed largely in Romania. This free movement of production capital is the reality of the film business and one that Alberta is poised to capitalize on or lose out on.

Source: Calgary Herald

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

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