Manitoba’s film and cultural industries are in great shape. The film industry in the province alone has grown an average of over 4% each year since 2011, and that’s good news for the economy and those working in the industry.
But the Conservative government of Manitoba might cut the popular film tax credit, which was originally founded in 1996. How will that impact the industry? GERG’s Alan Freeman spoke to the Canada Broadcasting Corporation to discuss. Listen below.
“The film industry is in comparatively good shape,” says Freeman. And according to census data, when the provincial government of Saskatchewan cut their respective film tax credit a few years ago, they lost a third of their jobs in the industry, while during the same period, Manitoba gained almost exactly those same number of jobs in the industry.
The impacts of those tax credits are incredibly important, says Freeman, since Canada’s film sector is essentially an export industry. We have good locations and excellent pre and post-production services. That’s the business end that needs to be subsidized. Location services for film production are very volatile, and providing them with incentives to stay and create jobs is vital. “Once they leave,” adds Freeman, “they don’t come back.”
When people think of film production in Canada, they think of Toronto and the Toronto Film Festival, or Vancouver and Montreal. But when you take those out of the equation, “Manitoba is the top of the pack,” says Freeman.
The entire structure of the film industry – with the impact of digitization – is changing very fast. Other sectors that use the products of the film industry, known as the Creative Industries, are much more integrated. “These creative industries make at least $2.5 billion for the province each year,” Freeman says.
As a major part of Manitoba’s cultural industries, the film tax credit is absolutely crucial for a sector that creates billions of dollars and thousands of jobs for the province every year.