What's next for the Regina soundstage?
People in Saskatchewan's film and television industry are wondering what will become of them — and Regina's massive soundstage — when the province budget is announced later next week.
Over the past decade, a variety of movies and TV shows — including the popular sitcom Corner Gas — have been shot at the soundstage, formally known as Canada-Saskatchewan Production Studio. However, last year the province cut the film tax credit that was designed to lure productions to Saskatchewan.
Since then, a number of film workers have left the province and, since the summer, much of the 82,000-square-foot facility south of the downtown has been virtually empty.
"It's a little sad," said Holly Baird, who's on the board of directors of the Saskatchewan Media Production Industry Association.
"You remember all the memories of the films that we shot in here and the sets that have been built and just the fun days that we had and now it's just kind of sitting here empty."
Last month, the provincial government said it will continue its support for the production studio — which is actually three soundstages under one roof — and will encourage the "creative industries" to use the space as a creative hub.
Culture Minister Kevin Doherty says two soundstages will be used for film and TV work, while the third will be set aside for other uses.
"It'll be available for multipurposes, whether it will be dance or theatre, those kinds of things," he said.
According to Baird, people in the film industry are nevertheless worried about what might happen next.
"It's kind of a waiting game until the budget's announced," she said. "At least this time I'm kind of prepared for some bad news whereas last year [I] was completely taken off guard."
The budget comes out on March 20.