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Ontario looks right for Brightlight

Tax incentives might mean a move

VANCOUVER — Brightlight Pictures, the star of British Columbia’s otherwise dimming film production industry, is threatening to shift its new projects to Ontario this month to take advantage of better tax incentives offered there.

This would mean the loss of $50 million feature “Dungeon Siege,” an adaptation of Gas Powered Games’ vidgame, slated to shoot in B.C. later this year.

“We’ve been asked to budget four pictures at the Ontario level that were to be made in British Columbia,” Brightlight co-founder Shawn Williamson said. “If the tax credit isn’t changed in B.C., the majority of our work will go to Toronto, and we will just keep a small office here.”

However “Slither,” a Brightlight and Gold Circle co-production for Universal Pictures, will begin shooting here on Feb 8.

The B.C. finance minister has said that local industry concerns about leveling the Canuck playing field will be addressed in the provincial budget on Feb 15. “That’s more than a month away,” Williamson said. “If it takes that long for B.C. to change, we’re out of here. It’s got to happen in the next week or two.”

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Ontario raised its labor tax credit for foreign productions from 11% to 18% on Dec. 21, and Quebec topped that a week later by raising the credit from 11% to 20%.

Three-year-old Brighlight has a full 2005 slate, and has avoided the production slump here by balancing its service work with co-productions and indigenous works.

Brightlight and Gold Circle co-produced the Michael Keaton horror film “White Noise,” which grossed $24 million at the weekend. “Alone in the Dark,” a co-production with Germany’s Uwe Boll, opens on Jan. 28.