Province boasts aggressive incentives, cultural uniqueness

Quebec is set apart — through language, customs and history — from the rest of Canada. So it comes as no surprise that film and TV production in La Belle Province has its own flavor as well.

“There’s a great deal of pride here about shows and films that are made in Montreal, in Quebec,” says Hans Fraikin, Quebec Film and TV commish. “People (in Quebec seek out anything made here) because they’re interested in their own culture and arts.”

Quebecois consume many of the same types of nonfiction programs — talk shows, reality and competition shows — and dramas and comedies as their U.S. counterparts, but they also add their all-important teleromans to the mix. These weekly soap-like dramas often focus on ordinary characters who struggle with the trials of everyday life.

Quebec has a well-established production infrastructure that has come into its own in the last six or seven years, says Fraikin. As a result, numerous productions journey to the province from the U.S. every year. And the draw isn’t just the facilities or the wide range of looks available to them in a city like Montreal. They also head north for the lifestyle.

“We came here to film ‘Beastly’ because we wanted our movie to have a look that existed in its own space,” says David Rubin, exec VP of physical production for CBS Films. The teen romance drama, starring Vanessa Hudgens of “High School Musical” and Alex Pettyfer from “Stormbreaker” began principal photography in June.

Rubin says he finds it easy to work in Montreal. “They have world-class technicians and facilities, and the incentives make it more attractive,” says Rubin. “And,” he adds, “we came for the food.”

Quebec’s incentives are some of the most aggressive in North America. Combined with Canada’s federal incentives, they make it possible to achieve a total effective tax credit as high as 41.2%.

“Our incentives help draw foreign production and our strong love of our culture helps make our locally produced shows strong, too,” says Fraikin.

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