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UCP government introduces new film and television tax credit to help boost business in Alberta

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WATCH ABOVE: The UCP government is launching a new film and television tax credit program, to replace one it cut in the last budget. As Chris Chacon reports, the government says the move is to attract more business to Alberta.

Alberta is no stranger to the production of big Hollywood films, but the UCP would like to see more movie action happening in the province.

In hopes of attracting more business to Alberta, the provincial government has launched a new film and television tax credit program.

“It was one of our platform commitments to introduce this program and Alberta’s had a long standing commitment with the film industry,” Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Tourism Tanya Fir said.

“We’re looking forward to continuing that, it means jobs for Albertans and investment — and we get to showcase our beauty, which is second to none,” she said.

In its last budget, the government cut the digital media tax credit, which previously offered a 25 per cent refundable tax credit for salaries and bonuses.

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The new program offers a tax credit to help cover production and labour costs up to $10 million per project.

Alberta-owned productions will be eligible for up to a 30 per cent tax credit, while other productions may get up to 22 per cent.

READ MORE: Alberta’s film industry looks to Kenney to ‘green light’ industry growth

“As we transition from the grant program to the credit program, we are maintaining the $45 million between the two programs,” said Fir.

“The productions that have already received approval under the former grant program, we’re honouring those commitments,” Fir said.

Brandon Rhiness, an Edmonton-based filmmaker, said that the tax credit will allow more people in Alberta to work in the industry.

“We have so many talented people in Alberta, and I know there’s always a concern about the availability of work,” Rhiness said.

“I would love for everyone in the film industry here to be able to work full-time and have enough work to sustain your living,” Rhiness said.

He also hopes the new program will help with retention.

“Being a filmmaker in Edmonton can be a challenge, I’ve only been doing [this] full time for a few years now and I’ve already seen many people move to Vancouver,
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“[It] kind of seems we’re a training ground where people do a few films, then they’re out of here,” Rhiness said.
Image from the set of Edmonton based production Hot Box./Global News
Image from the set of Edmonton based production Hot Box./Global News. Brandon Rhiness/Global News

READ MORE: Town of Fort Macleod holds casting call for Hollywood film

The provincial government said it consulted with various industry stakeholders, who said they wanted to see these changes.

Applications are now being accepted.