Coming soon to a soundstage near you: the Saskatchewan film and video industry.
After years of public lobbying efforts by the province’s film and video workers and their supporters, the provincial government increased grant funding from $2 million to $10 million dollars in this year’s budget.
Serious alarm bells were raised about the future of film and video in Saskatchewan after the Saskatchewan Party government cancelled the Film Employment Tax Credit in 2012. The film and video industry in Saskatchewan is pleased with the current injection of cash.
“Everyone’s really excited,” said Megan Jane, manager of marketing and communications for Creative Saskatchewan. “There’s a number of different impacts. If we want to focus on the economic impacts, of course this is going to support hiring local labour and it intensifies expenditures in nearby Saskatchewan businesses as well.”
Only 30 per cent of the total spend by Saskatchewan will be covered by the grant, which will mean that other investments will make up the rest of the spending in the province.
Jane said it’s going to result in increased business for tourism, hospitality and food catering. The budget increase will have an estimated total economic output of $93 million according to numbers from a study by MNP, LLP and Globalnomics.
“Productions are really quite a large, multifaceted endeavour,” she said. “They’re built around labour and the ability to create hundreds of jobs with every project. It’s pretty far-reaching in terms of its economic output locally.”
But finances aren’t the only important part of the budget announcement for aspiring filmmakers.
“This is a new opportunity for students as well,” said Jane. “Anyone that might have been seeking to pursue a career in the film industry before may not have felt they can do so here. Now they can build their career right here in Saskatchewan, they can stay in Saskatchewan, they can spend their disposable income in Saskatchewan.”
A release from the Saskatchewan Media Production Industry Association (SMPIA) said that “multiple projects have been developed” during the pandemic and “are shovel-ready to move into production.”
“We will show what we can do for economic growth in our province,” said Ken Alecxe, executive director of SMPIA in the release.