Ontario, Quebec, Alberta offer unique interests

ONTARIO

The scoop: Smack-dab in the center of the country, the province is famous for its diverse locations that can play everything from modern Chicago to an early 20th century small town. To augment that versatility, three separate credits are designed to suit productions of varying sizes.

The Ontario Production Services tax credit rebates 18% of eligible labor in Ontario for films budgeted above $1 million. Producers must have permanent offices in Ontario and own the copyright for the film or contract directly with the copyright holder.

The Ontario Film & Television credit — exclusively for Canadian-controlled corporations with permanent offices in Ontario — will rebate up to 30% of eligible labor costs to the producer, although that total can be bumped to 40% for an “emerging producer” whose film meets Canadian-content requirements. The film must be shown in Ontario no more than two years after it’s completed to qualify, with another 10% regional bonus.

Producers can top off either credit with a computer animation and special effects rebate of 20%.

Bonus: Unlike some Canadian provinces, there’s no cap on tax credits or limits on where the production must shoot to qualify.

Hot spot: Filmport, touted as the world’s largest purpose-built soundstage spanning 45,000 square feet, is in development with the first phase set to open in March.

Shot there: “Jumper,” from Doug Liman; “The Incredible Hulk,” from Louis Leterrier

Link: filmontario.ca

QUEBEC

The scoop: Quebec has built a reputation as a look-alike substitute for several countries.

This summer, Montreal stood in for Moscow in “Get Smart” and “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.”

The film and television tax credit rebates up to 20% of labor costs to films with budgets over C$1 million ($949,000), with no budget limits. A computer animation and digital effects credit can tack on another 20%.

Producers must have established offices in the province that deal mainly in film and TV productions.

Bonus: CGI-heavy productions like “300″ have solidified the province’s reputation for cutting-edge visual and 3-D effects.

Hot spot: Local visual effects houses such as Meteor Studios — behind much of the work done on “300″ — helped solidify the province’s CGI reputation.

Shot there: “Afterwards,” from Gilles Bourdos; “The Spiderwick Chronicles” from Mark Waters; “Death Race,” from Paul W.S. Anderson

Links: quebecshootingguide.com

ALBERTA

The scoop: Picturesque landscapes have made Alberta an ideal home for films looking for spectacular outdoor scenery, with the perk of 17 hours of daylight during summer months. The Alberta Film Development credit returns between 14% and 23% of eligible expenses up to $1.5 million, and can be added to federal incentives, which offer a 16% labor tax credit. The rebate increases if a local producer or other staffer holds key production jobs. The province is working on two pilot projects for a funding model for drama series.

Bonus: Productions that shoot outside the province are still eligible for tax incentives if they use its post-production facilities.

Hot spot: Pyramid Prods. is building a second studio and more offices.

Shot there: HBO’s “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee”; “Christmas in Wonderland,” from James Orr; and Toronto Film Fest premiere “Walk All Over Me” from Robert Cuffley

Link: alberta-canada.com/albertafilm/ albertafilm.ca

BRITISH COLUMBIA

The scoop: B.C. has become a go-to spot for locations reminiscent of the other provinces, but closer to Hollywood’s home base. The province offers two incentives to filmmakers, although pics can only qualify for one. The Production Services Tax Credit hands back up to 18% of qualifying labor costs and rewards filmmakers with a 6% bonus for shooting outside the Vancouver area, with no refund limits. Film Incentive B.C. will rebate up to 30% of labor expenses to B.C.-owned or B.C.-controlled production houses and a 12.5% bonus for shooting outside Vancouver.

On top of either incentive, producers can earn an extra 15% by using local digital animation and vfx services.

Bonus: Productions can shoot outside the province but still take advantage of the digital animation and visual effects credit.

Hot spot: Eagle Ridge Hospital in Fort Moody, near Vancouver, now has a fully dressed wing available for film shoots.

Shot there: “Things We Lost in the Fire,” from Susanne Bier; “Elegy,” from Isabel Coixet

Link: bcfilmcommission.com

MANITOBA

The scoop: The Manitoba Film & Video Production tax credit returns 45% of local labor costs to a producer, even if they aren’t Canadian. Producers can boost that rebate by 5% if they shoot a third film there within two years, or by 5% if they shoot in rural and northern Manitoba.

Bonus: First-time producers can still nab the frequent filming bonus by working with a company that has “frequent filmer” status.

Hot spot: On top of a purpose-built, 15,000-square-foot studio, the province has access to a decommissioned military base.

Shot there: “The Stone Angel,” by Kari Skogland; “The Lookout,” from Scott Frank

Link: manitobafilm.com

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