Film company moving jobs to N.S. after funding runs out
Culture Minister Bill Fraser says multimedia initiative has no money left in it this year
A Moncton-based production company says it's moving two upcoming projects and the jobs that go with them to Halifax because of changes announced by the provincial government.
Heritage and Culture Minister Bill Fraser says funding under the province government's multimedia initiative for the film and television industry is already exhausted for this fiscal year.
He says the program, as it exists, is not sustainable.
"I'm hopeful that we'll have a new program, but I'm not at liberty to make that decision at this time. That's the reason we're going through this program review," Fraser says.
Frank Savoie, the president of Connections Productions, says for people in his industry the timing is terrible.
"If we're going to build a new bridge you don't tear the old one down until the new one has been built," he says.
Savoie says he now has no choice but to take two productions out of New Brunswick.
"For me it's devastating and it's immediate because I need a provincial input," Savoie said.
"You need that sort of provincial participation, if not it doesn't work, the equation doesn't work."
Company hires about 75 people
Savoie says one of those productions that he is moving is entering its thirteenth season and he typically hires 60 to 75 people to work on it.
He says in tough financial times it is vital for governments to invest in industries like film and television that create jobs.
If we don't have a plan until April, there might not be productions here for a year.- Frank Savoie
"It's not a cultural slush fund like people like to think it is ... it's actually a wonderful investment," he says.
"We're environmentally friendly, it's new technology, it's youth, and it's getting our stories out there."
Fraser says he expects a review of the funding for the film and television industries should be complete by April.
But Savoie says projects are submitted in March and April to broadcasters who then make their decisions.
"If we don't have a plan until April, there might not be productions here for a year," he says.
"No productions here for a year, they did that in Alberta in 1997 and it took them ten years to build up the industry. If we miss a year of production here it's totally devastating,"