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N.S. boasts of $100M in film production, but industry says jobs still scarce

FILE - Halifax-based camera operator Andrew Stretch, right in blue jacket, and other crew on the set of Haven, a supernatural drama filmed in Nova Scotia.
FILE - Halifax-based camera operator Andrew Stretch, right in blue jacket, and other crew on the set of Haven, a supernatural drama filmed in Nova Scotia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Michael Tompkins

Nova Scotia film production has gradually increased over the last two years and was worth $102 million in 2017-18, says the deputy minister of the Department of Business.

Bernie Miller told the legislature’s public accounts committee the overall figure is line with the 10-year average before the previous film tax credit was axed in 2015.

READ MORE: Disagreement persists on state of Nova Scotia film industry

He says the province’s film production fund paid out $22 million last year.

But Progressive Conservative Tim Houston says the province is now spending more money for film production and animation than it did under the tax credit, and it isn’t seeing a corresponding increase in jobs and production activity.

Miller maintains the number of jobs in the sector has increased over the past two years, but says the industry is cyclical and there was a boom and bust cycle even under the old tax credit system.

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WATCH:¬†Debating the value of Nova Scotia’s film industry

Laura MacKenzie, interim executive director of Screen Nova Scotia, says while there have been small improvements, employment and production levels aren’t close to what they were before the tax credit was changed and the government needs to do more to improve the situation.