Film and Creative Industries Nova Scotia 'essentially closed for business'

Filmmakers are facing problems acquiring permits, scouting locations and applying for funding, after Film and Creative Industries Nova Scotia suddenly shut its doors last Thursday.

Office played major role in acquiring permits to start filming

The Nova Scotia government recently announced that as of July 1, the film industry tax credit will only cover 25 per cent of eligible costs, allowing film companies to claim the other 75 per cent of the credit against taxes they owe to the province.

Filmmakers are facing problems acquiring permits, scouting locations and applying for funding, after Film and Creative Industries Nova Scotia suddenly shut its doors last Thursday.

The provincial budget not only slashed tax incentives for film and television productions, it also rolled the responsibilities of Film and Creative Industries Nova Scotia into Nova Scotia Business Inc. (NSBI).  

Many directors and producers say a crucial resource is now gone.

James Nicholson with the Directors Guild of Canada says the effects of the office's closure are far-reaching. 
Mark Furey, Minister for Nova Scotia Business Incorporated, says his department is assisting with the transition after Film and Creative Industries Nova Scotia was cut from the provincial budget last week. (Brett Ruskin/CBC)

"To have an office that's so critical to the existence of an industry to be open one day and closed the next without any real alternative is, I would say, unprofessional at least," said Nicholson.

He said at least two producers have contacted him to complain that emails to the office were not being returned and that the phone would go straight to voicemail.

"It's essentially closed for business at this time," Nicholson said.

One of the producers is based in Ontario and is trying to help an American company start a project in Nova Scotia.

"He's not been able to make contact with anyone in the office," Nicholson said.

Resources still there says government 

Film and Creative Industries Nova Scotia was formerly known as Film Nova Scotia. It offered front-line assistance to filmmakers by suggesting pre-scouted locations, offering direction to acquire permits and helping to prepare requests for funding.

With that office closed "it would be difficult, if not impossible, to get permits, certainly in a timely fashion," said Nicholson.

The government argues all the support filmmakers need is still available.

The minister for NSBI, Mark Furey, said producers should seek out information from his department.

"We have contact information for NSBI. That information would be available on the website and we certainly encourage those who continue with interest in the film and creative sector to reach out through those contact points," he said.

Officials say individual film projects are being moved from the shuttered office to NSBI, however some filmmakers say they are still waiting to be contacted by the department.

"We certainly would work towards making that connection to ensure that the film and creative industry continues to have those resources available to them," Furey said.

Much of the debate in the past week has been about the amount of funding and tax incentives available to film projects.

With the closure of this office and lack of clear transition plan, those in the industry say even a fully-funded project not seeking any tax relief would have difficulty accessing the support it needs to begin filming in Nova Scotia. 

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.