Saskatchewan

'Mad as hell': Members of the film community react to potential sale of Saskatchewan Soundstage

It’s all speculation, but the Soundstage building on College Avenue in Regina could potentially be one of 660 provincially-owned buildings to be sold — that’s if the government decides the space is under-used.

The government is reviewing the use of 660 government-owned buildings

The Soundstage on College Avenue in Regina was built in 2002. (CBC)

Layton Burton said he'll chain himself to the Saskatchewan Soundstage if the provincial government decides to sell it.

It's all speculation, but the Soundstage building on College Avenue in Regina could potentially be one of 660 provincially-owned buildings to be sold, if the government decides the space is under-used.

"If it is true and and is on the list to be sold, well, I'm mad as hell and I'm terrified," said Burton, director of photography with the Saskatchewan Film Industry. "This building is an anchor for the film industry in Saskatchewan."

Layton Burton helped build the Saskatchewan Soundstage in 2002 and hopes to see the venue resurge for the up-and-coming generation of filmmakers. (Matt Howard/CBC News)

The buildings would be sold to other levels of government or to the private sector, according to officials.

Right now the building houses companies like Creative Sask. and the Saskatchewan Media Production Industry Association, but according to the government it has been less-than 60 per cent occupied for most of its history.

Central services minister Ken Cheveldayoff said the government isn't set on selling every last building, but they will be reviewed to ensure taxpayer money is being used effectively.

The NDP opposition said it believes some good could come from the situation.

"I think this is a great opportunity for the Scott Moe Saskatchewan Party Government to recognize that a mistake, a hurtful, dumb mistake was made in 2012," said Warren McCall about the termination of the Saskatchewan film credit.

Burton and others in the film community have said the decision to pull the credit by the Saskatchewan government was ultimately responsible for the demise of the province's film industry.

In a written statement, a government spokesperson said the province doesn't have plans to revisit the film tax credit program, but added that from 2017-18, $2 million has been injected into the film industry through Creative Saskatchewan's Screen-Based Media Production Grant program.

A short history

The Soundstage was built in 2002 and remains the only purpose-built one of its kind between Regina and Toronto.

The largest space in the Soundstage is just ahead, Stage 1. (CBC)

"It's a unique building. It's a one-of-a-kind structure," said Burton describing sets used on the television series Corner Gas. The show won a number of prestigious awards including Best Television Comedy at the Geminis in 2007.

The show, which ended in 2009, ran for six seasons and featured several Saskatchewan actors and actresses.

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