Approximately 4,000 of BC film industry workers gathered at a town hall meeting at North Vancouver studio Tuesday evening, frustrated with the lack of work in 2012.
Reportedly up to 90% of film industry workers in BC are unemployed, as more productions choose to work in other provinces where tax credits are more lucrative. Current tax credits in BC are set at 33% of labour costs, while provinces like Ontario and Quebec offer 25% across the board. Industry workers are brainstorming how to lobby the government for higher tax credits to make the industry more competitive and for the creation of a new provincial ministry to deal with the creative sector.
Premier Christy Clark says the $285-million annual film tax credit is already generous and says the higher rates in other provinces are not sustainable. Opposition leader Adrian Dix is in Los Angeles for two days of discussions with studios, producers and filmmakers to consider how to restore BC as a thriving production centre within North America.
Questions are also being raised as to why, when the local film industry is facing such challenges, the BC government is investing nearly $11 million in the Times of India Film Awards (TOIFA), announced on Tuesday, January 22. The awards will be held annually at international locations, taking Bollywood cinema to global destinations. The BC government will provide $9.5 million for event production costs plus an additional $1.5 million to host the BC-India Global Business Forum and other activities throughout the inaugural three-day awards "extravaganza" from April 4 to 6 in Vancouver. The event takes place shortly before the May election.
The group "Save BC Film", comprised of BC film workers, announced on Facebook that three units are shooting public service announcements to support the film industry on Wednesday at North Shore Studios, with all crews involved donating their time and equipment.