New deal to save Nova Scotia film industry raises more concerns

By Stephanie Taylor, Metro Halifax


HALIFAX – What started out as jubilation by members and supporters of the Nova Scotia film industry after learning that the province was offering a new incentive to replace the film tax credit quickly turned to disappointment.

Two weeks after the Liberal government announced a proposal to significantly reduce the $24 million film tax credit, Screen Nova Scotia and the province announced a new tentative agreement for the establishment of a replacement fund.

Named the Nova Scotia Film and Television Production Fund, the province says it will switch from a percentage paid for labour costs to refund a base rate of 25 per cent of all production costs including labour, with additional bonuses for shooting outside Halifax, as well as for indigenous and series productions.

“The new proposal on the table is not perfect; and many details still need to be worked out,” a release from Screen Nova Scotia read on Thursday, adding that overall the deal should allow the province’s film industry to remain competitive with other jurisdictions.

One of the main concerns to those in the industry, such as longtime worker Keith Currie was that a cap would be placed on the amount eligible for a refund, such as a $5 million limit for individual productions.

“There is little to celebrate in this for the industry or for the province as a whole,” Currie said Thursday evening, after being cautiously optimistic earlier in the day. “This was a deceitful exercise in political face saving.”

In response to growing concerns, Screen Nova Scotia said the suggested caps are flexible and that more conversations are needed before any official agreement is signed.

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