Previous Page  22 / 36 Next Page
Information
Show Menu
Previous Page 22 / 36 Next Page
Page Background

22 

ACTRA MAGAZINE

In the words of Yogi Berra, it was “déjà vu

all over again” for us TV and film types in

Nova Scotia when our government made

the sudden and short-sighted decision last

spring, without consultation or warning,

to virtually destroy our FilmTax Credit.

We saw our colleagues in Saskatchewan

suffer a similar fate in 2012. The headlines

from that time would be the same for our

own province: “FilmProducers Abandoning

as Tax Credit Ends,” “Premier Won’t Reverse

Tax Credit Cut,” “Film Industry; An Implo-

sion in Progress.”

To say we were shocked is putting it

mildly. After all, this system had worked

here for two decades helping to produce

TV shows and movies seen all over the

world:

Trailer Park Boys

;

Haven

;

This Hour

has 22 Minutes

;

Book of Negroes

;

Call Me

Fitz

;

Hobo with a Shotgun

, to name just a

few. Aside from badges of cultural pride,

this was also big business. Projections

for 2015 suggested we were on track for

a $160-million-dollar year.

Yet in April 2015, when the Nova Scotia

Liberals announced their budget, it took

just 20 minutes to undo what had taken

20 years to build.

The real slap in the face was this: when

Preemie (because he’s clearly not ready

to be Premier) Steven McNeil was running

in 2013, he’d said the only problemwith

the Tax Credit was that its yearly renewal

caused unnecessary anxiety for such an

important sector of the province’s industry.

If elected premier, he’d renew it for five

years to signal a long-term commitment

to this booming industry.

This long-term commitment meant sta-

bility for our industry. We could buy houses!

We could buy cars! We could enroll our kids

in activities and be part of our communities!

We bought it and we bought in.

Then he sold us out.

“This business isn’t growing,” the Liber-

als claimed, seemingly based on nothing

but the most recent economic impact

assessment, which had been done over

10 years ago.

“Companies that make films don’t pay

taxes,” they said, in puzzling political patois.

“We had to choose education and health-

care over the glitzy Hollywood film busi-

ness,” they said, flagrantly ignoring that our

industry helps support those vital services.

They didn’t calculate profits made by

ancillary businesses. Nor did they calcu-

late income tax paid by the people working

on these films and TV shows. Strangely,

they didn’t even count the revenue they

would’ve generated fromprojects that were

already on the books for summer 2015.

Instead, they rushed an implementation

date of July 1, just a mere few weeks after

this jaw-dropping decision was made.

We saw how fast the wheels came off the

bus in Saskatchewan so we actors acted

fast. Shoulder-to-shoulder with our crew

colleagues, wemobilized and rallied, fought

fiction with fact, and petulance with

patience, but to no end. The premier and

his finance minister dug-in their heels and

refused to budge.

Frankly, the term “tax credit” is mis-

leading. “Labour incentive” is much more

accurate. In geographically-disadvantaged

places like Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan,

this labour incentive was designed to lure

movies and TV shows.

On paper, there are a lot of reasons why

shooting elsewhere is easier. Toronto, say.

There’s no extra flight required from L.A.

There’s a deeper pool of actors and crew

fromwhich to choose.

But NS and SK have advantages too.

Less “red tape” for permits; it’s easier for a

big film crew to make a unit move across

town. Stunning geography allows these

places to double for cities all over the

world, both period and contemporary.

The analogy is, there’s cinematic oil in

these here parts. We just need a pipeline to

help producers access it. Our Tax Credit

was that pipeline.

This worked for producers and it

worked for us. Producers were getting

more bang for their buck. Our actors and

crews were getting trained on high-end

shows, paying their mortgages and—best