N.S. film tax credit changes blamed for film cancelling shoot

$2.5M project was rewritten to be set in the province, but now they’re seeking N.S. landscapes

CBC News

A production company that rewrote a movie to set it in Nova Scotia will now film it elsewhere, and it’s blaming the changes to the province’s film tax credit.

Paul Barkin of Alcina Pictures says the $2.5 million Torchbearer project wasn’t originally set in Nova Scotia.

“We came to scout the film in April of 2014 and fell in love with it,” he said. “We realized that the story would be better off set in Nova Scotia than probably anywhere else. We re-wrote the script and we incurred those costs to do so.”

He said the rewrite went deep.

“We designed and developed this film so that it would be set in Nova Scotia, about people from Nova Scotia, and really spoke about the province. And that’s the biggest sadness for us, because we put a lot of energy into creating it as a film that would be based in Nova Scotia.”

It was scheduled to shoot this fall, but Barkin says changes to the film tax credit forced them to seek another location. They’re looking at Ontario, Manitoba and Newfoundland and Labrador.

He held out a line of hope for Nova Scotia.

“Of course we have a script set in Nova Scotia right now, which is a great script, so we don’t want to have to rewrite it again. We’re hopeful that maybe something will change over the next couple of weeks where there might be some clarity, or there might be some good things that happen within the province for the industry,” Barkin said.

Alcina Pictures had arranged a production designer and filled a few key crew positions before the changes to the film tax credit were announced by the Liberal government.

“Often it’s the case it represents about 30 per cent of the financing of a film production and for us it’s not about revenue into the production company, it’s actually a piece of the money that we actually end up spending where we shoot the movie,” Barkin explains.

Barkin says he wonders why, while attending the most recent Cannes Film Festival, he didn’t see any film representatives from Nova Scotia.

Toby Koffman, a provincial spokesman, said the government stands by the changes.

“We have said all along that we value this industry and want it to remain in Nova Scotia,” he said. “Our goal is to have a successful film industry in Nova Scotia that is at the same time affordable for Nova Scotians.”

Alcina Pictures began in 1997. It recently released The Colony, starring Laurence Fishburne and Bill Paxton.


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