Public dollars for Corner Gas movie cover two-thirds of film's budget
Saskatchewan promised pretty sunrises or sunsets in the final cut
A combination of tax credits, equity investments and direct grants from public agencies are supporting two-thirds of the $8.5 million production budget for Corner Gas - The Movie, according to information released by the government of Saskatchewan.
The province noted its expenditures — $1.5 million from Tourism Saskatchewan and another $500,000 from Creative Saskatchewan — in an Order-In-Council dated May 15.
The document also lists several other sources of public funds, including agencies of the federal and Ontario governments. The largest contributor is Telefilm Canada, which is providing $2.5 million.
Pat Fiacco, the head of Tourism Saskatchewan (until he takes on a new role with the Hospitals of Regina Foundation at the beginning of June), said he believes spending money on the movie is a way to bring more visitors to Saskatchewan.
"The [Corner Gas] comedy series is in 26 different countries so that type of exposure fits in nicely with our mandate to promote our province," Fiacco said Tuesday.
Prizes part of the deal
As part of the agreement with the film's producers, Tourism Saskatchewan will also get the following:
- Fan visits to the movie set: Tourism Saskatchewan will be given three "set visit" packages to give away as contest prizes. The visits will be in groups of two and will last for one hour.
- 20 pieces of autographed movie merchandise, such as posters or T-shirts. The items will be given out as prizes by Tourism Saskatchewan.
- Special appearance by Brent Butt at a Vancouver event to promote the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
- Brent Butt to "take over" Tourism Saskatchewan's Twitter account during the Saskatchewan Roughriders home-opener game on June 29. Butt will also post to the agency's Twitter account again in the fall (during either the Labour Day classic or the follow-up match known as The Banjo Bowl).
- Access to the set and the stars for "familiarization visits" by travel media.
- A special trip with Brent Butt and travel media to a "fun/interesting Saskatchewan location". The trip will be paid for by Tourism Saskatchewan.
- VIP passes for the movie premiere.
The agreement also includes a clause that the producers are expected to include "positive visual aspects" that promote the province as a tourism destination in the story line of the movie. The agreement suggests "sunrises/sunsets, unique vistas or locations".
According to the document, the film will be shot in 22 days. It is set to debut on movie screens in Saskatchewan in December.
It will also be broadcast on CTV on Dec. 8.
Corner Gas was one of the last productions in the province that benefited from Saskatchewan's Film and Video Tax Credit subsidy.
The subsidy was ended two years ago and people in the industry say axing the program led to 400 film workers leaving the business and, in some cases, the province.
One industry official noted that a single production for a few Saskatchewan workers will not have a great impact.
"If you were offered a job for less than 30 days would you consider that a long term career option?" Nova Alberts, from the Saskatchewan Media Production Industry Association said.