B.C. Film Commission budget cut by 23 percent
In the 2010 B.C. provincial budget introduced today, the estimates for the B.C. Ministry of Tourism, Culture, and the Arts included a 23 percent cut to the B.C. Film Commission.
Last year's appropriation (2009-2010) was $1,235,000. Next year's appropriation (2010-2011) is $948,000.
NDP arts and culture critic Spencer Herbert told the Straight that it doesn't make sense to cut the film commission's funding.
"The film industry has been struggling, obviously, given the government's endless delays on tax credits. Some industry estimates are $200 million in business because of that," Herbert said by phone from Victoria. "We can't afford to be cutting the film commission that does that work of landing projects here—which promotes our work here—with unemployment at the rate that it is."
The B.C. film industry has been facing a combination of several challenges, including a high exchange rate, the 2010 Winter Olympics, and tax credits that lagged behind other provinces. In June 2009, Ontario and Quebec announced an expansion of film industry tax credits to cover all production costs while B.C.'s tax credit program only covered labour expenses.
On February 3, Finance Minster Colin Hansen announced a new incentive package that included an increase Production Services Tax Credit (from 25 to 33 percent on labour costs for foreign productions), an increased Digital Animation or Visual Effects tax credit bonus (from 15 to 17.5 percent), and an increase of the qualified B.C. labour expenditures cap from 48 to 60 percent.
These tax credit changes became effective for productions starting principal photography after February 28.
With files from Charlie Smith.