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Producers say Canuck prod’n facing crisis

Producers blame decline on global financing, increased competish

MONTREAL — Canuck film and TV production was up 4% last year to C$4.9 billion ($3.8 billion), but local producers warn the industry is facing its worst crisis in years.

Homegrown production is stagnant and foreign filming is in danger due to the high value of the Canadian dollar against the greenback.

Producers blamed the problems on a decline in global financing, fewer local TV dramas and increased competition from other countries, which have improved production incentives.

The Canadian Film and Television Production Assn. reported the grim news in a report released Thursday at its annual conference in Ottawa. The two-day confab wraps today. The past year has been tough for the biz, with cuts to government funding, a drop in English drama programming and the announcement that the country’s leading producer, Alliance Atlantis, is slashing most of its Canadian production.

“While we have seen moderate growth, the overall numbers show Canadian content production is under siege. It’s not growing,” said Guy Mayson, prexy of the Canuck producers’ body.

“What is growing is broadcaster inhouse production and foreign location shooting, but over the next 12 months, with a higher dollar, even foreign location shooting will drop.”

Of the $3.8 billion production total, $2.4 billion was Canadian, nearly unchanged from the previous year. Foreign shooting was up 8% to $1.5 billion, but that was largely thanks to a major surge in shooting in Quebec. Shooting in Ontario was up only 2% and dipped 3% in British Columbia. Foreign shooting was up 71% in Quebec.

Counting both Canadian and foreign, production dipped 9% in British Columbia and 4% in Atlantic Canada, increased 18% in Quebec and 20% in the prairie provinces and remained the same in Ontario.

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