Special Effects Atlantic Ltd. making plans to close in March

Gary Coates, a special effects coordinator based in Halifax, is making plans to close his company Special Effects Atlantic Ltd. because he says there isn't enough work left in the province.

Gary Coates, special effects coordinator, says there isn't enough work to stay open

Gary Coates, special effects coordinator, says it took 20 years to build Nova Scotia's film industry, but that it only took one pen stroke to finish it.

Gary Coates, a Halifax-based special effects coordinator and owner of Special Effects Atlantic Ltd., says he's making plans to close his business by the end of March because there isn't enough film work after the province cut the film tax credit.

Coates, who has spent nearly 40 years working on productions such as The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Trailer Park Boys and Grindhouse, says he decided to close down was after finding out how much money the company didn't make last year.

"Right now, there's not enough work on the horizon to justify keeping that facility open," said Coates, adding the company's revenue was down by 70 per cent over 2014.

"It's fine people are mobile and people can go away to work, but corporations and businesses can't, you know, they have fixed overhead and it's time to reduce that overhead," he said.

Gear sitting idle

"We're going to have to ship some gear up to central Canada. We have 7,000 square feet of gear, trucks and trailers. We have a whole fleet of mobile industrial air conditions that go out to cool the sets, we have trailers craft service people and it's all just sitting idle," he said.

Coates and his wife Susan have lived in Nova Scotia for 18 years. He says they can't just pack up in a moments notice and leave because their house and kids are here. He says they will take the next year and figure the rest out.

"We hope to hang on to some [gear] and we hope to move some to other places," said Coates.

"The film business is really active everywhere but here."

When asked whether he thinks the low Canadian dollar could bring production back to Nova Scotia, Coates said while it would be a 40 per cent savings to U.S. companies, the damage is done.

'A stink on Nova Scotia'

"The relationship is gone. It's a fickle business and there's just sort of a stink on Nova Scotia at the moment. I don't think producers want to bother, they have too many options," said Coates.

"They loved us when they were coming here but they've moved on. Their projects are being done in other places. Frankly, other jurisdictions have tax incentives, including the state of California now," he said.

Coates says it took 20 years to build Nova Scotia's film industry but that it only took one pen stroke to finish it. He wrote an editorial about closing his business that appeared in the Chronicle Herald.

"What's left is not an industry. It's a shadow of its former self. From my perspective, it's not sustainable anymore," he said. 


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