Nova Scotia film industry ‘significantly less competitive,’ says consultant

Representatives from Nova Scotia’s film industry are telling provincial politicians that their industry is doing only a fraction of the work it used to — and they’re pointing at changes to the film tax credit as the cause.

Jan Miller, an industry consultant, has been keeping an eye on what other provinces are offering and right now, she says Manitoba is offering top dollar.

“This past year — 13 feature films, 2 dramatic series, eight factual series, 29 documentaries shot in Manitoba creating some 1300 highly-skilled jobs,” she said.

“With the new system, we’re significantly less competitive. And around the world everyone is becoming infinitely more competitive because they realize what a great industry it is to invest in.”

In comparison, Nova Scotia has only approved funding to five projects, at a total of just over $1 million.

“There’s lots of work out there outside of Nova Scotia, so we are losing workers — no question,” said Scott Simpson of Screen Nova Scotia.

In living with the changes to the tax credit, he says the province should do more to promote and support film and TV production.

Laurel Broten, president of Nova Scotia Business Inc., says it’s been a transition year for them. The Liberal government put them in charge of handling finances for all film work going forward.

“I think it will be critical to let the dust settle from this transition year and then the province may choose to evaluate,” said Broten.

Since July 2, when the changes took effect, she says NSBI has received 11 applications for funding.

“We’re working through those, administering applications in a timely basis,” she said. “We’re working to let Hollywood and others know that Nova Scotia is open for business.”

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