Manitoba filmmakers abuzz after Sask. kills tax credit

Manitoba's film industry has been given a huge boost, thanks to Saskatchewan.
Actor Liev Schreiber as hockey enforcer Ross Rhea in a scene from the movie Goon, which was shot in Manitoba. (HO-Alliance Films/Canadian Press)

Manitoba's film industry has been given a huge boost, thanks to Saskatchewan.

In its provincial budget, released Wednesday, Saskatchewan eliminated its film tax credit. The move affects hundreds of film crew members.

Carole Vivier, CEO and film commissioner for Manitoba Film and Music, said immediately after the budget came down her phone started ringing off the hook.

"It came as quite a shock. We've actually had quite a few calls from producers and from a lot of crew people in Saskatchewan looking to see what it would take to become a Manitoba resident to come and be able to relocate and work here," she said.

The Manitoba budget will be announced April 17 and Vivier is confident there won't be any similar clawbacks to its film tax credit, which offers up to 30 per cent credit on the cost of productions and up to 65 per cent credit on the cost of salaries.

There has been no indication from any provincial officials that the credit is being considered for the chopping block, said Vivier.

In Saskatchewan, there had been rumblings in the industry for the past couple of years that something might happen.

The Saskatchewan subsidy provided a tax credit of up to 55 per cent of the labour costs in film and video productions.

Sitcoms like Corner Gas and TV movies like Prairie Giant: The Tommy Douglas Story, were among the Saskatchewan productions made with the help of the program.