Saskatoon

Netflix cash unlikely to benefit Sask., says producer

The owner of a Saskatoon production company doesn't think an announcement that Netflix will spend $500 million over five years on Canadian content will result in a Hollywood ending for Saskatchewan's film industry.

'We won't see any of it,' says Angel Entertainment and Bamboo Shoots co-owner

The co-owner of two film and television production companies in Saskatoon doesn't think new money from Netflix will flow into Saskatchewan. (David Horemans/CBC)

The owner of a Saskatoon production company doesn't think an announcement that Netflix will spend $500 million over five years on Canadian content will result in a Hollywood ending for Saskatchewan's film industry.

The short answer from Bob Crowe is "we won't see any of it."

Crowe, the co-owner of Angel Entertainment and Bamboo Shoots, told CBC Radio's Saskatoon Morning that Ottawa's new direction for the creative industries contained much good news.

But he added "the Netflix announcement seemed to eclipse everything else."

The money, Crowe said, is welcome, but in reality it represents only about one per cent of what is spent making television and movies each year in Canada. Crowe added that it is unlikely any of the Netflix money will be spent in Saskatchewan "unless we get more solid supports for our industry here."  

When the film tax credit was cut in 2012, Crowe said the industry in Saskatchewan imploded and most of the workers left the province. Crowe recalled that back in 2014 when his company shot a movie called Big Muddy, they had a tough time finding skilled workers.  

"I had to bring in about a third of my crew from Vancouver and a third from Toronto but that's because I was competing with Wolf Cop and a couple of other things at the same time."

Film policy changes needed

As it stands now, Saskatchewan has a 30 per cent grant, but Crowe said it is capped.   

"In order to get real business back we need to remove the cap. We need to say if it is good to give a 30 per cent credit on a million dollar picture, it's equally good to give a credit on a $20 million series."

Until changes are made, Crowe argued, there is little chance that Netflix money will be spent making TV or movies here in Saskatchewan. 

About the Author

Danny Kerslake is an award-winning journalist who has worked in radio stations across Western Canada. In his career with CBC Saskatchewan, Danny has reported from every corner of the province and has lived and worked in Saskatoon, Regina and Prince Albert. Danny is a newsreader and digital AP for CBC Saskatoon.

with files from CBC Radio's Saskatoon Morning