Dec 13, 2017
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Front Page, Headline, Industry News

Tax incentives matter, film sector warns BC NDP

When veteran TV writer and producer Carlton Cuse decided to set his TV series Bates Motel in Oregon, he never thought of actually shooting the show there.

“There’s no support services there. Or tax incentives,” the prolific Mr. Cuse said of the Pacific Northwest state in an interview ahead of a forum at this year’s Vancouver International Film Festival. Instead, it was a no-brainer, he said, to execute his TV spin on Psycho’s Norman Bates in Vancouver, producing five seasons of Bates Motel before closing it down earlier this year.

“It’s a great town. It’s beautiful. There’s great food,” he said. “It checks a lot of the boxes that you want to have for a location-based shoot.”

And he’s not finished with the city, in part because of the province’s program of tax incentives and its highly specialized crews.

Still, he has some advice for the new B.C. government, which carefully courted the film industry before the election but whose Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture has yet to indicate how the government will manage incentives for the production sector.

“I think that it is just really important that [the new government] understand that the tax incentive program as structured really matters tremendously and [that] studios pay great attention to the tax incentives, right down to the smallest detail. It becomes a huge determining factor in where shows shoot,” said Mr. Cuse, whose credits also include the long-running series Lost.

The Liberal government maintained tax credits for the production sector but at times was wary about the cost, at one point trimming incentives somewhat in consultation with the industry.

In 2013, then-finance minister Mike de Jong urged his counterparts in Ontario and Quebec to stop pitting the three provinces against one other to “see who can send the biggest cheque to Hollywood.”

Currently, the tax credits largely apply to traditional production workers, with producers getting back 28 per cent of those costs. The reluctance of politicians of any stripe to mess with a good thing is understandable: Statistics gathered by the government agency Creative BC and released by the B.C. Culture Ministry indicate budgeted spending for feature films, TV shows and other productions jumped 35 per cent to $2.6-billion in fiscal year 2016-17 from the previous year.

But the change of government has industry insiders wondering how the NDP will manage issues such as tax credits and sustain the wave of activity that has filled sound stages across the Lower Mainland and elsewhere in B.C.

Premier John Horgan’s mandate letter to Culture Minister Lisa Beare outlines commitments to seek a “fair share” of federal funding, including from Telefilm Canada, for B.C. film and TV producers. There’s also an order to expand the film labour tax credit to include B.C. writers. In the past, the NDP has suggested this would mean offering tax breaks to producers, including Americans, to hire B.C. writers for their projects.

Beyond that, however, few big-picture details are available.

Veteran B.C. showrunner Simon Barry said he is mystified by the government’s plans.

“I have no idea where the government is going to go in terms of the movie business,” said Mr. Barry, who spent about a decade in Los Angeles before returning home to Vancouver to produce such series as Continuum, which ran for 42 episodes and ended in 2015. His current projects are the shows Van Helsing and Ghost Wars.

Peter Mitchell, the president of Vancouver Film Studios, which has hosted such projects as the feature films Fifty Shades of Grey and Star Trek Beyond, said the NDP has always recognized that funding for the industry creates jobs.

He said he has found Ms. Beare to be very accessible.

“I think they are in an information-gathering process at this point, before they come out with any major policy changes.”

Ms. Beare was first elected in 2017. The former local school board member is the MLA for Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows. Despite repeated requests, she was not available for an interview.

Instead, her ministry responded to questions from The Globe and Mail with a statement saying the government is committed to supporting a competitive production industry and to the writers’ tax credit. Asked how the credit will work, Ms. Beare said in the statement: “We are working on this, and will provide more details at the appropriate time.”

Doug Clovechok, the Liberal culture critic, said this is all a little vague. Mr. Clovechok said the time is long past for Ms. Beare to elaborate on her plans for the production sector. “It’s time to hit the ground running,” he said. “Put some meat on the bone here, a little rubber on the road would be nice.”

Mr. Cuse said he is skeptical about the proposal to enact tax credits for writing as a measure to create more opportunities for B.C. writers.

“The challenge is that writing is one of those things that is really done in Los Angeles and, in almost all circumstances, writing staffs are based in Los Angeles and the work of creating the scripts is done here,” he said. “Writers might travel to Vancouver to oversee their individual episodes, or showrunners like myself might go to oversee production, but the creative work of constructing a story is done in Los Angeles and based on the writing pool [there].”

He said the best way for British Columbians to learn to craft TV is to go learn the ropes in Los Angeles, working on American productions there.

“Like in any profession, you want to learn from the best possible people. The companies that are funding filmmaking in Vancouver are largely in Los Angeles. At a certain point, if you are a Canadian writer, you need to get to Los Angeles and really try to train within the system [there] to learn how shows are written and how the process works,” he said. “With that knowledge and experience, you can come back to Canada and make shows yourself.”

Mr. Barry, however, is more bullish about a writers’ tax credit giving Canadians the experience to create their own shows in B.C.

“Anything that promotes writers is a good thing,” he said, “because the only way to make film and TV an indigenous business that is self-sustaining is to have Canadians write the scripts.”

Source: The Globe and Mail

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Front Page, Headline, Industry News

Tax incentives matter, film sector warns BC NDP

When veteran TV writer and producer Carlton Cuse decided to set his TV series Bates Motel in Oregon, he never thought of actually shooting the show there.

“There’s no support services there. Or tax incentives,” the prolific Mr. Cuse said of the Pacific Northwest state in an interview ahead of a forum at this year’s Vancouver International Film Festival. Instead, it was a no-brainer, he said, to execute his TV spin on Psycho’s Norman Bates in Vancouver, producing five seasons of Bates Motel before closing it down earlier this year.

“It’s a great town. It’s beautiful. There’s great food,” he said. “It checks a lot of the boxes that you want to have for a location-based shoot.”

And he’s not finished with the city, in part because of the province’s program of tax incentives and its highly specialized crews.

Still, he has some advice for the new B.C. government, which carefully courted the film industry before the election but whose Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture has yet to indicate how the government will manage incentives for the production sector.

“I think that it is just really important that [the new government] understand that the tax incentive program as structured really matters tremendously and [that] studios pay great attention to the tax incentives, right down to the smallest detail. It becomes a huge determining factor in where shows shoot,” said Mr. Cuse, whose credits also include the long-running series Lost.

The Liberal government maintained tax credits for the production sector but at times was wary about the cost, at one point trimming incentives somewhat in consultation with the industry.

In 2013, then-finance minister Mike de Jong urged his counterparts in Ontario and Quebec to stop pitting the three provinces against one other to “see who can send the biggest cheque to Hollywood.”

Currently, the tax credits largely apply to traditional production workers, with producers getting back 28 per cent of those costs. The reluctance of politicians of any stripe to mess with a good thing is understandable: Statistics gathered by the government agency Creative BC and released by the B.C. Culture Ministry indicate budgeted spending for feature films, TV shows and other productions jumped 35 per cent to $2.6-billion in fiscal year 2016-17 from the previous year.

But the change of government has industry insiders wondering how the NDP will manage issues such as tax credits and sustain the wave of activity that has filled sound stages across the Lower Mainland and elsewhere in B.C.

Premier John Horgan’s mandate letter to Culture Minister Lisa Beare outlines commitments to seek a “fair share” of federal funding, including from Telefilm Canada, for B.C. film and TV producers. There’s also an order to expand the film labour tax credit to include B.C. writers. In the past, the NDP has suggested this would mean offering tax breaks to producers, including Americans, to hire B.C. writers for their projects.

Beyond that, however, few big-picture details are available.

Veteran B.C. showrunner Simon Barry said he is mystified by the government’s plans.

“I have no idea where the government is going to go in terms of the movie business,” said Mr. Barry, who spent about a decade in Los Angeles before returning home to Vancouver to produce such series as Continuum, which ran for 42 episodes and ended in 2015. His current projects are the shows Van Helsing and Ghost Wars.

Peter Mitchell, the president of Vancouver Film Studios, which has hosted such projects as the feature films Fifty Shades of Grey and Star Trek Beyond, said the NDP has always recognized that funding for the industry creates jobs.

He said he has found Ms. Beare to be very accessible.

“I think they are in an information-gathering process at this point, before they come out with any major policy changes.”

Ms. Beare was first elected in 2017. The former local school board member is the MLA for Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows. Despite repeated requests, she was not available for an interview.

Instead, her ministry responded to questions from The Globe and Mail with a statement saying the government is committed to supporting a competitive production industry and to the writers’ tax credit. Asked how the credit will work, Ms. Beare said in the statement: “We are working on this, and will provide more details at the appropriate time.”

Doug Clovechok, the Liberal culture critic, said this is all a little vague. Mr. Clovechok said the time is long past for Ms. Beare to elaborate on her plans for the production sector. “It’s time to hit the ground running,” he said. “Put some meat on the bone here, a little rubber on the road would be nice.”

Mr. Cuse said he is skeptical about the proposal to enact tax credits for writing as a measure to create more opportunities for B.C. writers.

“The challenge is that writing is one of those things that is really done in Los Angeles and, in almost all circumstances, writing staffs are based in Los Angeles and the work of creating the scripts is done here,” he said. “Writers might travel to Vancouver to oversee their individual episodes, or showrunners like myself might go to oversee production, but the creative work of constructing a story is done in Los Angeles and based on the writing pool [there].”

He said the best way for British Columbians to learn to craft TV is to go learn the ropes in Los Angeles, working on American productions there.

“Like in any profession, you want to learn from the best possible people. The companies that are funding filmmaking in Vancouver are largely in Los Angeles. At a certain point, if you are a Canadian writer, you need to get to Los Angeles and really try to train within the system [there] to learn how shows are written and how the process works,” he said. “With that knowledge and experience, you can come back to Canada and make shows yourself.”

Mr. Barry, however, is more bullish about a writers’ tax credit giving Canadians the experience to create their own shows in B.C.

“Anything that promotes writers is a good thing,” he said, “because the only way to make film and TV an indigenous business that is self-sustaining is to have Canadians write the scripts.”

Source: The Globe and Mail

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

Tax incentives matter, film sector warns BC NDP

When veteran TV writer and producer Carlton Cuse decided to set his TV series Bates Motel in Oregon, he never thought of actually shooting the show there.

“There’s no support services there. Or tax incentives,” the prolific Mr. Cuse said of the Pacific Northwest state in an interview ahead of a forum at this year’s Vancouver International Film Festival. Instead, it was a no-brainer, he said, to execute his TV spin on Psycho’s Norman Bates in Vancouver, producing five seasons of Bates Motel before closing it down earlier this year.

“It’s a great town. It’s beautiful. There’s great food,” he said. “It checks a lot of the boxes that you want to have for a location-based shoot.”

And he’s not finished with the city, in part because of the province’s program of tax incentives and its highly specialized crews.

Still, he has some advice for the new B.C. government, which carefully courted the film industry before the election but whose Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture has yet to indicate how the government will manage incentives for the production sector.

“I think that it is just really important that [the new government] understand that the tax incentive program as structured really matters tremendously and [that] studios pay great attention to the tax incentives, right down to the smallest detail. It becomes a huge determining factor in where shows shoot,” said Mr. Cuse, whose credits also include the long-running series Lost.

The Liberal government maintained tax credits for the production sector but at times was wary about the cost, at one point trimming incentives somewhat in consultation with the industry.

In 2013, then-finance minister Mike de Jong urged his counterparts in Ontario and Quebec to stop pitting the three provinces against one other to “see who can send the biggest cheque to Hollywood.”

Currently, the tax credits largely apply to traditional production workers, with producers getting back 28 per cent of those costs. The reluctance of politicians of any stripe to mess with a good thing is understandable: Statistics gathered by the government agency Creative BC and released by the B.C. Culture Ministry indicate budgeted spending for feature films, TV shows and other productions jumped 35 per cent to $2.6-billion in fiscal year 2016-17 from the previous year.

But the change of government has industry insiders wondering how the NDP will manage issues such as tax credits and sustain the wave of activity that has filled sound stages across the Lower Mainland and elsewhere in B.C.

Premier John Horgan’s mandate letter to Culture Minister Lisa Beare outlines commitments to seek a “fair share” of federal funding, including from Telefilm Canada, for B.C. film and TV producers. There’s also an order to expand the film labour tax credit to include B.C. writers. In the past, the NDP has suggested this would mean offering tax breaks to producers, including Americans, to hire B.C. writers for their projects.

Beyond that, however, few big-picture details are available.

Veteran B.C. showrunner Simon Barry said he is mystified by the government’s plans.

“I have no idea where the government is going to go in terms of the movie business,” said Mr. Barry, who spent about a decade in Los Angeles before returning home to Vancouver to produce such series as Continuum, which ran for 42 episodes and ended in 2015. His current projects are the shows Van Helsing and Ghost Wars.

Peter Mitchell, the president of Vancouver Film Studios, which has hosted such projects as the feature films Fifty Shades of Grey and Star Trek Beyond, said the NDP has always recognized that funding for the industry creates jobs.

He said he has found Ms. Beare to be very accessible.

“I think they are in an information-gathering process at this point, before they come out with any major policy changes.”

Ms. Beare was first elected in 2017. The former local school board member is the MLA for Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows. Despite repeated requests, she was not available for an interview.

Instead, her ministry responded to questions from The Globe and Mail with a statement saying the government is committed to supporting a competitive production industry and to the writers’ tax credit. Asked how the credit will work, Ms. Beare said in the statement: “We are working on this, and will provide more details at the appropriate time.”

Doug Clovechok, the Liberal culture critic, said this is all a little vague. Mr. Clovechok said the time is long past for Ms. Beare to elaborate on her plans for the production sector. “It’s time to hit the ground running,” he said. “Put some meat on the bone here, a little rubber on the road would be nice.”

Mr. Cuse said he is skeptical about the proposal to enact tax credits for writing as a measure to create more opportunities for B.C. writers.

“The challenge is that writing is one of those things that is really done in Los Angeles and, in almost all circumstances, writing staffs are based in Los Angeles and the work of creating the scripts is done here,” he said. “Writers might travel to Vancouver to oversee their individual episodes, or showrunners like myself might go to oversee production, but the creative work of constructing a story is done in Los Angeles and based on the writing pool [there].”

He said the best way for British Columbians to learn to craft TV is to go learn the ropes in Los Angeles, working on American productions there.

“Like in any profession, you want to learn from the best possible people. The companies that are funding filmmaking in Vancouver are largely in Los Angeles. At a certain point, if you are a Canadian writer, you need to get to Los Angeles and really try to train within the system [there] to learn how shows are written and how the process works,” he said. “With that knowledge and experience, you can come back to Canada and make shows yourself.”

Mr. Barry, however, is more bullish about a writers’ tax credit giving Canadians the experience to create their own shows in B.C.

“Anything that promotes writers is a good thing,” he said, “because the only way to make film and TV an indigenous business that is self-sustaining is to have Canadians write the scripts.”

Source: The Globe and Mail

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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