The $2.2 million that the B.C. government yesterday said it will invest in the local film industry isn't really new funding, just a recycling of funding already announced earlier in the provincial budget, according to NDP Tourism, Culture and Arts critic Spencer Chandra Herbert.
Business in Vancouver reported yesterday that cultural minister Ida Chong was to make what the government described as an "important announcement" related to funding B.C.'s film, TV and digital media industry later that day.
That announcement amounted to three grants for 2012-13:
- $1 million for BC Film + Media;
- $947,000 for the BC Film Commission;
- $275,000 for B.C.'s regional film commissions.
"The province provides generous tax credits and funds organizations that support the success of B.C.'s on-screen entertainment sector," said Chong. "We will continue to consult and work closely with the industry in British Columbia in order to maximize opportunities."
Chandra Herbert said the announcement was disappointing.
"It's the same stuff that was in the budget, and indeed it's pretty much the same budget that existed for film in B.C. in 2011, 2010, 2009, so it's nothing new," he told Business in Vancouver.
Chandra Herbert said B.C.'s film industry dropped from third place to fourth in terms of film production in North America, and said the industry continues to lose domestic producers to Ontario.
"In 2008, [domestic film production generated] over $450 million worth of business," Chandra Herbert said. "We're now down to about $150 million."
He said the Ontario Media Development Corporation has been aggressively wooing production companies from B.C., which needs to respond with incentives aimed at keeping the industry here.
"If you look at a company like Brightlight Pictures, they've moved most of their operations to Ontario."