British Columbia boom leads slight Canadian gain

Overall film and TV production in Canada increased 1% last year to $4.9 billion largely as the result of an upswing in Hollywood filming north of the border.

Per the annual economic report from the Canadian Media Production Assn., the country’s producers group, foreign filming in Canada was up 4.4% in 2009-10 to $1.5 billion, compared with $1.4 billion a year earlier.

That increase was almost entirely due to U.S. filming in British Columbia, traditionally the most important hub in the country for Hollywood action. B.C. accounted for 72% of all American filming in the nation during the period, up from 62% the previous year.

This upswing took place despite the booming Canadian dollar vs. the greenback and attractive tax incentives from many U.S. states. Hollywood production in Canada had dropped by 18.4% the previous year.

U.S. feature-film production in B.C. surged to $485 million, up from $245 million a year earlier (still below the 2007-08 high in B.C. of $662 million). But U.S. filming in Canada is still down from the all-time high of $1.9 billion in 2002-03.

Hollywood shoots increased in Ontario, though not at the levels reached five years ago, and were down in Quebec. But since the report, several big-budget films, including “Immortals,” “Upside Down” and “Source Code,” have arrived in the province.

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