This year’s budget increased funds available to industry by $ 19.5 million, for a total of $ 50 million. Doug Schweitzer, Minister of Jobs, Economy and Innovation, hinted that there is more good news for the industry to come.
“We are starting to see continued momentum in this area,” he said at a press conference on Friday.
“This will be one of our best years ever in film and television in Alberta. We are expecting significant growth, there are rumors about some major projects that could come here in Alberta. ”
The production cap was lifted after consultations with the world’s leading studios and production companies, Schweitzer said.
Executives from HBO, Disney and Warner Brothers welcomed the announcement in a statement.
“Alberta is poised to become the next major production center in Canada and with the changes to its production incentive it has become competitive with many jurisdictions inside and outside the country.” Barry Ziehl, senior vice president of public affairs at Warner Brothers, told me.
The tax credit is part of a diversification effort for the province to ensure that there are jobs available in a variety of industries.
“These are carpenter jobs, these are electricians, these are lighting, these are blue collar jobs, as well as filling hotels all over the province,” Schweitzer said.
“Thousands of people have worked to create an environment in which the Minister can now invest to make us competitive,” said Luke Azevedo, Film Commissioner at Calgary Economic Development.
Since the launch of the tax credit in January 2020, the province has approved 31 medium and large scale productions that are expected to spend $ 177.6 million and create 3,300 jobs in Alberta.
Applicants can claim a 22% or 30% tax credit.
These apps include 10 feature films, 20 TV series – of which 13 are returning – and digital media production.
Local filmmaker sees opportunity
Local filmmaker Matt Watterworth said he was excited about the possibilities this announcement creates.
“You look at jurisdictions like British Columbia or Ontario, we’re talking about a multi-billion dollar economic impact,” he said.
Watterworth said that while removing the cap per production doesn’t necessarily benefit low-budget independent filmmakers, it gives them the opportunity to gain experience on high-caliber productions.
He highlighted earlier projects that were filmed in the Calgary area, such as the HBO TV series. Game of thrones or Christopher Nolan’s film Interstellar, which had a budget of 165 million US dollars.
“I mean, it’s going to create opportunities for people in the film industry, but also for those looking to make the transition to film.… I’m really excited about the possibilities and can’t wait to hear the stories of people who are, like, you know, with oil and gas, had transferable skills, took a little while to train, but now work as a generator operator for film and television.
“There are a lot of things that can be transferred to the film industry. ”
The government has said that for every dollar spent on tax credits, $ 4 is reinvested in the province’s economy.
The opposition NDP has said that while removing the cap per production is good news, removing the overall budget cap would be a more effective way to increase Alberta’s ability to compete in the marketplace.