In the last decade provincial government funding for films on P.E.I. has fallen from more than $800,000 a year to less than $25,000.
In 2004 the provincial government provided $810,000 in funding to films on P.E.I., mostly in the form of labour cost rebates. But that was the last year for those rebates, and funding has since fallen to $22,500 last year.
Mark Sandiford, head of Culture PEI, said the decline in funding is shocking, but the main reason for it was labour rebates are a poor model for film funding. The industry could not meet Innovation PEI's mandate to create full time jobs.
Sandiford is not seeking a return to labour rebates. He is, however, currently in talks with the province to develop other programs to increase funding. He is trying to get the file transferred to Tourism and Culture.
A minimum of $200,000 a year in funding would trigger other money P.E.I. is currently shut out of.
"Something like the Canada Media Fund, that's got $360 million in it, if you just do a straight per capita analysis of how much should be spent on P.E.I. it's like $1.5 million every year should be spent here, and it's not," he said.
Sandiford said most of P.E.I.'s investment would come back in taxes because most in the TV and film industry are contractors.
The P.E.I. industry is currently celebrating one of its biggest successes. Harmony Wagner is currently showcasing her short film Queen of the Crows at Cannes, a film that is also one of nine that will air nationally on CBC TV's Short Film Face-Off. Wagnes said this is proof the industry is having an influence.
"If the community can get behind it and say 'Yes, this is something we actually want our government to support. We see the value.' Not only is it great to create work and a little creative economy, it's also fabulous because it advertises our beautiful Island," said Wagner.
Wagner worries if provincial funding doesn't happen, filmmakers and technicians will leave to find work elsewhere. She said that's already happening.
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