BC Film report: Production levels declined in 2010-2011 period

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A strong Canadian dollar wasn't good news for the B.C. film and television industry. Nor were boosted tax incentives in Ontario and Quebec. And as if that wasn't enough, the Winter Olympics limited the number of productions shot in B.C. in early 2010.

As a result, the 2010-2011 British Columbia Film Annual Activity Report reveals that the province experienced an unfortunate downward slide in production levels. Overall production numbers sank from $1.3 billion in 2009 to slightly more than $1 billion. Foreign (or service) productions shot in B.C. totaled 94 and shrank from approximately $1.1 billion to less than $800 million.

Meanwhile, 152 domestic productions were shot in B.C. These levels, which are key to maintaining a sustainable industry in the face of fluctuating foreign production levels, managed to grow from $218 million in 2009 to $244 million in 2010. However, this modest increase is still lower than the $408 million in 2007 and the $366 million of 2008 and the report states that the current level "remains a concern for BC Film".

BC Film chair Michael Francis notes in the report that these low levels reflect a more complicated problem. He points out that the development and financing of drama and feature films is more difficult in B.C. than other provinces due to "the absence of equity funding in B.C., the more lucrative production incentives available in other jurisdictions, and the fact that broadcasters, who commission content, are based in Toronto and are increasingly relying on Ontario produced product."

One bright spot was the growth in service animation projects, which shot up over 100 percent from previous years. BC Film and Media also joined forces with the BC Arts Council to implement two digital content creation programs.

BC Film continued to work with federal and provincial film agencies to maintain presence at key international film and television markets in the U.S. and Europe. BC Film also sent a delegation to the Hong Kong Film Market, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the China Film Producers' Association, and signed a coproduction treaty between Canada and India.

The full report can be found at the BC Film and Media website.

You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at twitter.com/cinecraig.

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