Province looks to lure more film production

British Columbia is upping the film tax credit for foreign filmmaking, a boost for the local industry.

B.C. finance minister Colin Hansen announced that the tax credit will increase from 25% to 33% of eligible labor expenses in the Canadian West Coast province.

“We think it’s a step forward because we’re in tough economic times and the government is challenged on the revenue side,” said Peter Leitch, president of North Shore Studios, one of the province’s largest production facilities. “I think it’s certainly going to help in terms of bringing more production to B.C.”

Foreign production is going reasonably well in B.C. considering the challenges facing the film biz, said Leitch.

“The A-Team” recently wrapped in Vancouver and North Shore is also hosting TV series “Human Target” and “Visitor.”

The B.C. government also increased the tax credit on visual effects work from 15% of labor expenses to 17.5% and introduced a new digital media tax credit for vidgame development, covering 17.5% of labor expenses.

The new rebates are expected to come into effect on Feb. 28.

“We are responding to industry needs and recognize that film, television, animation, and visual effects companies contribute over C$1 billion annually to the B.C. economy,” Hansen said.

But the new measure does not include tax-credit increases for Canuck film and TV production, and that already has many local producers crying foul.

Other critics note that the B.C. credit for foreign filming is still less than the credits in the provinces of Quebec and Ontario, which offer tax credits of 25% of the overall budget.

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