Nova Scotia

Screen Nova Scotia executive director sees reason for optimism

Screen Nova Scotia's executive director says a recent increase to the production incentive fund and more productions accessing that support is a reason to be optimistic about the industry in this province.

Executive director cites increased incentive fund, more productions approved for support

Members of Nova Scotia's film and television industry protested outside the legislature in Halifax last year after an industry tax credit was cut. The fund that replaced it has been accessed by 23 productions to date. (Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press)

More than a year after members of Nova Scotia's film and television industry feared its extinction, the executive director of Screen Nova Scotia says there is some reason for optimism.

On Tuesday, Nova Scotia Business Inc. announced five more productions approved for the province's production incentive fund. The fund, which was recently increased from $10 million to $11.5 million, was introduced last year to replace the former production tax credit.

Erika Beatty said the most recent announcements, bringing the total number of productions supported to 23, and the recent increase to the fund, show some people are getting back to work and there's willingness from NSBI and the government to respond.

Still issues to address

The industry continues to talk with government about things such as timelines for applications, how quickly files are processed by NSBI and the guidelines for productions. For this fiscal year, $7.7 million of the fund has been committed to 21 productions. The other two approved productions, for fiscal year 2017-18, total $2.5 million in approved support.

Beatty said she knows from talking to producers there are at least six or seven more projects that have been submitted and are being processed.

"I don't know what dollar value that's at exactly [and] I don't know whether it's for this fiscal year or next fiscal year."

What all of this means for whether the fund gets increased again is unknown. A spokeswoman for NSBI referred that question to the Department of Business. Business Minister Mark Furey was unavailable for an interview.

Fund reacts to new information

Beatty said she sees no reason why that conversation wouldn't happen if more productions come through the system. The fund reacts to new information and new data, so as producers bring in more work, that's good news for the industry, she said.

"We definitely heard the same thing from government as well."

The most important thing for producers is that there's stability in Nova Scotia, said Beatty. The fact the fund has already been increased once helps to give confidence to local producers, as well as people from away considering Nova Scotia as a location for work, she said.

There's a lot of opportunity right now, said Beatty.

"The currency [exchange], as we know, is driving more work north of the border. And because Toronto and Vancouver and other jurisdictions in northern Ontario, for example, are at capacity, that's one of the reasons why work is coming this way as well."