WATCH: Screen Nova Scotia says it’s optimistic the new film and TV incentive fund, managed by NSBI, means the industry will survive in Nova Scotia. But Chair Marc Almon says he still has questions about how the fund will work. Marieke Walsh reports.
HALIFAX – The new $10 million Film and Television Production Incentive Fund officially launched on Nova Scotia Business Inc.’s website Thursday.
The launch marks the end of a months-long fight between the government and film industry, after Premier Stephen McNeil axed the film tax credit in the province’s April budget.
“It definitely is the end of a chapter. There’s an ongoing book to be written here,” said Marc Almon, chair of Screen Nova Scotia.
The proposed replacement for the film tax credit would have killed the industry, said Almon.
After negotiations with the government, he said the new incentive fund means it’s possible the industry will survive.
“We have something we can hopefully work with, but there’s no doubt about it, the industry has been damaged,” he said.
Under the previous tax credit, 65 per cent of the eligible salaries for film and television projects were paid for by taxpayers. Now productions will have to apply to the fund before starting principle photography.
Depending on what criteria a production meets, it can get anywhere between 25 and 32 per cent of all eligible Nova Scotia costs paid for.
As of Thursday afternoon, one application had been submitted through the fund.
NSBI Account Manager Linda Wood said it’s too early to know how the industry will respond to the fund.
“It is really difficult to say at this moment what the uptake will be and the types of projects,” said Wood.
Despite the optimism, Almon said there are still many questions about how the fund will work. For example, he said it’s not clear how long it will take for applications to be processed or the timeline for money to be disbursed, once a project is approved.
NSBI said it doesn’t have specific deadlines set out for responding to an application but the goal is to do it promptly.
“We are dedicated to responding in a very responsive and efficient manner to any applications and processing,” said Wood.
The confusion around changes to how the province would support the film industry has had an impact, said Almon. Except for productions that started shooting before the changes took effect on July 1, he said “there is nothing planned officially for later this summer or early fall”.
The government and Screen Nova Scotia will meet in the fall to look at whether the fund is working or whether more changes need to be made.