Nova Scotia

EnRoute Film Festival screening in Halifax showcases local talent

A recent film festival showcase in Halifax featured local productions but some local filmmakers say they're still worried about how tax credit changes are affecting the industry's future.

Film industry in Nova Scotia still suffering after tax credit changes

Director Daniel Boos says the Nova Scotia film industry is still struggling after film tax credit changes. (Steve Berry/CBC)

A recent film festival showcase in Halifax featured local productions but some local  filmmakers say they're still worried about how tax credit changes are affecting the industry's future.

For its 10th anniversary, Air Canada's enRoute Film Festival held its first-ever showcase in Halifax on Tuesday night. The festival saw Canadian films played at venues in multiple cities across the country this week.

The short film Bound, directed by Halifax native Daniel Boos, was one of the films screened at the Halifax Central Library, local venue for the festival.

Air Canada's enRoute Film Festival held its first ever showcase in Halifax on Tuesday night at the Halifax Central Library. (Steve Berry/CBC)

Boos says getting his film off the ground in had its challenges.

"About two weeks before our film was set to shoot, we had to cancel because of the dissolution of Film and Creative Industries," said Boos.

Film and Creative Industries, formerly Film Nova Scotia, the group helping Boos make Bound, dissolved under the shadow of the tax credit controversy.

The group had previously provided education and support for young filmmakers, and while the closure was not directly linked to the film tax changes in 2015, it closed down days after the province's announcement.

'Work is more scarce'

In 2015, the Nova Scotia government changed the film tax credit, which increased the financial burden on local film producers.

It's hard to think about coming back … knowing that I won't necessarily have a steady job.- Justin MacDonald

Since then, the province earmarked $10 million a year for a new incentive fund that filmmakers can apply for, with extra incentives for in-province spending and using home-grown talent. That amount was increased by $1.5 million this year. 

Production on Boos film finished more than a year ago, before the fallout from the tax changes. But he said industry workers are continuing feeling the change in other ways.

"Because work is more scarce, they have less time time to devote to artistic endeavours, such as Bound and other short films that are created locally," says Boos.

'Hard to think about coming back'

Breath of Life, a documentary about organ donation, was also featured at the festival.

Justin MacDonald produced the short, and the third-year film student said he's worried the state of the film industry in Nova Scotia could hold him back from filmmaking in his hometown of Guysborough. 

"It's hard to think about coming back after I finish school in Ontario, knowing that I won't necessarily have a steady job and a steady income," said MacDonald.

Justin MacDonald says he's worried he won't be able to work in the film industry in his hometown of Guysborough once he graduates film school in Ontario. (Steve Berry/CBC)

"As much as I would love to come back to Nova Scotia, it's not looking good."

Still plenty of films

Air Canada sponsors the enRoute festival, and despite the film tax changes, the airline said there's still lots of talent left in Nova Scotia.

"We haven't really had problems to source submissions from this area," said Eric Lauzon, Air Canada's multimedia manager.

In the coming months, films screened at the enRoute festival will become choices for in-flight movies on Air Canada flights.

Canadian-made films featured in Air Canada's enRoute Film Festival will later be selections on the airline's in-flight movie service. (Air Canada)

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