CanadaWest working together

Letter to the Editor

To the editor:

On behalf of the Western Canadian film commissions and agencies, we take exception to Don Townson’s article (“In Reel Trouble: Canuck Production Hits Hard Times, October 22, 2004). Although she is attributed within the article, Mr. Townson never spoke directly with Susan Croome, British Columbia’s film commissioner, nor did she provide any of the statistics presented in the article.

Contrary to what Mr. Townson implies, the western provincial film commissions and agencies (British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba) work collaboratively in the international marketplace to promote all of our locations, incentives and services through the CanadaWest initiative.

CanadaWest was formed to build the profile of the western provinces in the film and television industry worldwide and is designed as a forum to share information and experiences. It is actually quite common for one film commission to recommend another province in order to meet the creative or financial needs of a particular project. So in spite of the tone of the article, we certainly do not actively lure productions from neighboring provinces.

Mr. Townson states, “The despairing B.C. industry recently lost work to Calgary, Edmonton, Regina and Winnipeg.” This is simply not true. The Capri Films/Recorded Picture Co.’s $20 million feature film Tideland was always destined for the prairies, and did not scout for locations in British Columbia. The same is true for Capote. Consequently, these projects were not “lost” work to the B.C. film industry. This style of journalism is counterproductive and misanthropic at best, certainly not the level of reportage we expect from Variety.

In the future, if Mr. Townson publishes an article on the Canadian industry, we strongly encourage him to contact any of the film commissions and agencies directly for the facts.

Sincerely,

Susan Croome, Film Commissioner, British Columbia; Rob Egan, CEO, British Columbia Film; Jane Bisbee, Film Consultant, Alberta Film; Dan Chugg, Film Commissioner, Alberta; Valerie Creighton, CEO/ Film Commissioner, SaskFilm; Carole Vivier, CEO/ Film Commissioner, Manitoba Film and Sound

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