British Columbia’s film and television industry continues to be a major contributor to the province’s economy, but overall Canadian-based content may be suffering.
According to a report released by the Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA), the budgets of film and TV production Canada increased by 5.9 per cent to an all-time high of $8.92 billion in 2018.
B.C. is home to 40 per cent of Canada’s film and television production, with Ontario accounting for 32 per cent and Quebec 20 per cent.
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“These impressive numbers illustrate that our incredibly skilled workforce, underpinned by strong production infrastructure, have built Canada’s industry into one of the world’s foremost production sectors,” CMPA CEO Reynolds Mastin said.
The report shows the largest contributions to film and TV in Canada came from outside the country, while Canadian-based productions have suffered decreases in funding.
Investment in Canadian theatrical feature films decreased by $5 million in 2018 while financing of Canadian television programs fell by $127 million.
“The numbers show there are clouds forming on the horizon, which require attention if we are to strive for a balanced sector, where Canadian and international productions reinforce one another, and where there is opportunity for Canadian stories to thrive in the digital era,” Mastin said.
Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Lisa Beare highlighted the importance the B.C. government places in keeping Canadian funding for Canadian-based film projects.
“This report was just released yesterday so we are going to be reviewing it and all of its findings and making sure that we are working with Creative BC to ensure that we continue to strengthen film development,” Beare said.
According to Creative BC, the industry’s growth in the province is due in part to the increasing use of visual effects in feature films and TV programs. Evidence of B.C.’s prominence in the visual effects industry lies in the Oscar-winning animated feature film, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.
“A number of the effects were done out of Sony Images offices here in Vancouver so we’ve got a huge amount of talent, a huge amount of studios choosing to make B.C. their home, which are resulting in us being a top choice,” Beare said.