N.B. filmmakers welcome new funding
Filmmakers in New Brunswick are welcoming a new funding application process launched by the provincial government on Tuesday, after the film tax credit was axed in March.
New Brunswick will provide as much as 25 to 30 per cent of eligible expenditures incurred in the province, depending upon the type of project, said Wellness, Culture and Sport Minister Trevor Holder.
Projects approved for funding will receive half of the total amount up front through existing Regional Development Corporation programs, he said.
A group of film industry leaders and government officials worked together for the past few months to develop the new process after the province terminated the New Brunswick Film Tax Credit in budget cuts.
Some warned companies could close, resulting in a mass exodus of educated young people.
"We are confident that we are moving in the right direction and I believe we are better supporting this valuable and enthusiastic industry in a fiscally responsible way," said Economic Development Minister Paul Robichaud.
"We want to see the film, television and new media industry succeed, create jobs for New Brunswickers and continue to grow to contribute to our creative economy."
Back to business
Filmmakers such as Marc Savoie, of Postman Productions in Moncton, say they're looking forward to getting back to business.
"You know, we've been in limbo for six months. We've been in survival mode," he said.
The company ended up partnering with an operation in Halifax and had to lay off some staff, said Savoie.
"I restructured the business to survive all [of] this unknown. But a strong tax credit in New Brunswick means work for everybody."
'At this point in time, everybody's kind of [breathing] a sigh of relief.'—Maurice Aubin, Mozus Productions
The next couple of years will prove whether the province is serious about investing in film, he said.
Maurice Aubin, the director and producer with Mozus Productions in Moncton and president of the New Brunswick Producers' Association, said he's hopeful the new process opens the door between the province and filmmakers.
"At this point in time, everybody's kind of [breathing] a sigh of relief in the sense that we were very angry because of the way it was announced and basically with no discussion with the industry before," he said.
"It confirms sort of the commitment from the government to be supportive of our industry. It also leaves the door open with a working system in which we can improve upon ... what's been proposed."
Aubin contends about $7 is generated for every dollar the provincial government puts into the film industry.
The tax credit cost the provincial government $2.7 million last year down from a high of $4.4 million in 2008-09.
The New Brunswick government had offered companies a maximum of 40 per cent of salaries paid to New Brunswick residents as a way to encourage the industry.
The provincial government bumped up the tax credit by an extra 10 per cent if the film projects were done in rural New Brunswick.