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Productions discover Nova Scotia

Province offers picturesque sites, tax credits galore

In “Cloudburst” — a kind of a lesbian “Bucket List” — Olympia Dukakis and Brenda Fricker play a couple who escape from their nursing home and head up to Canada. So in this instance, one Canadian location didn’t have to pass for something else — it could play itself.

The only question was, which province would be the setting of this great escape? That was answered when Sidney Kimmel Entertainment announced that it would shoot the film in Nova Scotia.

According to Film Nova Scotia CEO Ann MacKenzie, the province is the “fourth largest film center in Canada,” with total productions over the past decade pulling in $100 million in coin — providing a rather large “per-acre” return, since the province is Canada’s second-smallest.

Located on the Atlantic coast just east of Maine, the territory once renowned for fishing, furring and other resource and extractive industries now boasts a bustling, diversified portfolio that includes film, television and music production.

Aside from actually portraying Canada, as in the upcoming road adventure, the region has also stood in, per MacKenzie, for a Russian seaport (“K-19: The Widowmaker”) and a 17th-century New England Village (‘The Scarlet Letter'”), among other locales. “Simon Birch,” and “The Shipping News” also filmed there.

Tax credits for productions that shoot in Nova Scotia can range into the 50%-65% area if you include a rural tax bonus added for filming in EGAs — eligible geographic areas — defined as being more than 30 kilometers away from the principal city, Halifax.

MacKenzie points out that “there’s no limit on the size of the production budget, no corporate or asset cap, and no Canadian content or copyright ownership requirements” associated with the tax credits. And, she adds, the credit “isn’t up for review by government until 2015.”

So the road north to Nova Scotia will remain open for awhile longer.