Alberta incentives, Spice Shop, Cineworks, Digital Domain

Canada’s Alberta province has raised the incentives ante. Its film office, Alberta Film, announced that Heather Klimchuk, minister of culture and community services, has implemented revisions to the Alberta Multimedia Development Fund to make it even more competitive for screen-based production funding.

The most significant change is a switch from the previous three-stream funding system within the Alberta Production Program to a new two-stream funding method that increases funding available for all forms of production.

Stream 1 targets domestic production and co-productions. Qualifications and provisions are as follows:

  • The production must be between 30% and 100% Alberta-owned, and include a proportionate amount of financial and creative control.

  • A minimum of six Albertans must be employed in key creative positions (or 50% of key creative positions in the budget). Two trainee key creative positions may be substituted for one key creative position.

  • Eligibility for up to 29% of all applicable Alberta costs.

  • For shoots lasting more than 30 consecutive days, or digital projects of more than 300 person-hours, 1% additional funding will be granted to a maximum of 30% total funding.

Stream 2 includes foreign productions. Qualifications and provsions include:

  • Less than 30% of a project’s ownership should be Albertan (zero ownership is acceptable).

  • It should be an Alberta-incorporated entity (foreign ownership is permissible).

  • A minimum of four Albertans must be employed in key creative positions (or one-third of key creative positions in the budget). Two trainee key creative positions may be substituted for one key creative position.

  • Eligibility for up to 25% of all applicable Alberta costs.

  • For shoots that last more than 30 consecutive days, or digital projects of over 300 person-hours, 1% additional funding will be granted to a maximum of 26% total funding.

In another significant change, the project/script development fund department will now convene an expert panel to assess applications and make grant recommendations to the Minister. Assessment will be based on the creative merit and suitability of the applicants’ projects as well as their ability to complete the project as conveyed.

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Bangkok-based post-production house Spice Shop has become the first facility in Southeast Asia to install a Scanity high-speed film scanner from DFT Digital Film Technology. Spice Shop serves local and international TV, cinema and commercial markets and recently unveiled a renovated facility that provides on-set and post grading, 3D DCI mastering, as well as archiving and restoration. The new 2k/4K scanner complements Spice Shop’s existing and upgraded data infrastructure and allows the facility to generate all required content from one 2K digital negative scan. The new system’s archiving and restoration capabilities are a major plus, says Pawadee Chantanom, general manager and exec producer: “There is a strong cultural demand to protect and restore our social history and heritage and we already have the toolset required to support archive work. Now that we have Scanity, our archive and restoration toolset is complete.”

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Expanding its presence in the Big Easy, Louisiana-based Cineworks opened a satellite operation at Second Line Stages in New Orleans to support film production at the Garden District sound stage facility. When fully staffed, the new location will employ three people full-time and include digital dailies suites with fiber upload capabilities that can work with most of the digital cameras and workflows currently on the market, and provide productions based at Second Line faster access to Cineworks personnel and capabilities.

“The Second Line satellite location is the next phase of a deliberately planned multi-market expansion in Louisiana that enables us to give film productions on-the-ground access to the highest levels of technology,” said Cineworks prexy Vinny Hogan. “Louisiana is seeing more than 100 productions a year, all looking to maximize their budgets. With these locations, we’re one step closer to the productions, which helps simplify their process and gives them state-of-the-art services right here in the state.”

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Visual effects and post-production facility Digital Domain Media Group launched an expansion into China via a strategic partnership with Beijing Galloping Horse Film Co. The new Digital Domain-Galloping Horse studio will provide vfx, animation and production services for motion pictures, television and other media. The China facility will be comparable in scale to the company’s nearly completed animation studio in Port St. Lucie, Florida, which was funded by the city with an investment of approximately $50 million for land and building. Digital Domain and Beijing Galloping Horse will each own 50% of the venture. The agreement, which marks the company’s first step into the high-growth film market in China, provides DD with access to a source of capital in China, and provides Galloping Horse with access to the U.S. film biz. Since its launch in Venice, Calif., in 1993, Digital Domain has provided animation and digital effects for high-end motion pictures and advertisers. Galloping Horse has nearly 20 years of experience in China with film and TV financing, production and distribution.

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