U.S. fiscal cliff bill highlights challenges for B.C. film industry
The renewal of a tax incentive for U.S. film productions is a reminder of the challenges facing the industry in B.C., the New Democrat arts critic says.
“Our domestic industry has been hammered the last couple of years,” Vancouver MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert told the Straight by phone today (December 2). “We’ve dropped probably $250 million in business in the last four years, which makes the foreign service work all the more important.”
With the renewed tax credit, deductions of up to US$20 million can be claimed for film and television productions shot south of the border. The credit, designed to keep productions from heading to other countries, was extended as part of the fiscal-cliff deal reached in Washington on December 1.
“I think it shows that the United States wants the film industry jobs as much as anybody does,” Chandra Herbert said. “They’re good jobs, it’s a relatively environmentally clean industry.”
“Whether or not this happened, we still have an issue to solve. It’s a further reminder about the need to pay attention to this industry,” he said of the situation in B.C.
A spokesperson for the B.C. Film Commission, a branch of the provincial government, said the renewal of the U.S. tax credit will not change much for the local industry.
“They voted on maintaining the status quo in the United States, so I don’t anticipate any changes,” B.C. Film Commissioner Susan Croome told the Straight by phone.
Croome also said: “I think competition anywhere is a concern for us. We compete globally with the states, with other provinces, with other countries. The motion picture industry is a highly competitive industry and everybody knows what a tremendous economic engine it is…so everyone would like to have film and television activity.”