Sask. film industry surviving, but not thriving after tax cut axed


REGINA – Writer and producer, Rick Anthony was recently on set of a new film being shot in Regina.

Patient 62 is a sci-fi action movie about a guy named Lucas Chase who’s searching for his estranged sister and realizes she’s been kidnapped by a group of some very unsavoury people,” he explained.

Anthony got his start in film back in 2011 – just before the Saskatchewan government axed the province’s film tax credit. Since then, he’s been involved in a few low budget projects, and while they get made finding a crew is challenging.

“If there were a more steady stream of work then when Indy filmmakers, like myself, were looking to pick up crew they’d still be here. A lot of them are chasing work in other provinces,” Anthony said.

The end of the film tax credit meant the end of steady work for a most people in the industry.

When the government discontinued the film employment tax credit in 2012, opponents said this move would ruin the film industry. However, since then, both Corner Gas: The Movie and Wolf Cop were shot and produced in Saskatchewan.

Does that mean there’s reason to be optimistic? The Saskatchewan Media Production Industry Association (SMPIA) thinks so.

“Obviously we’re in a very different space than we were before, and looking backwards often brings up the hard feelings from that time,” said SMPIA president, Nova Alberts, but she added: “The industry is really entering a period of re-growth and development.”

One example is in August of this year, Creative Saskatchewan announced they’d increased the funding for film projects from $250,000 to $600,000.

Some local films are being produced with the increased help, but many say the industry continues to struggle.

Watch Focus Saskatchewan’s feature “Sask Films Now” Oct. 3 and 4 at 6:30 p.m. on Global News.

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