Use the soundstage as a soundstage, revive film credit: NDP

The Sask. Party says it wants to find another use for Saskatchewan’s soundstage, and NDP Culture critic Cathy Sproule says that’s proof-positive that Saskatchewan needs to bring the film tax credit back.

“We have a world-class, state of the art, purpose-built $12 million soundstage right here in Regina,” said Sproule. “Just a few years ago, it was full. The film industry was booming, even developing programs to train more people to work in film in response to the sheer volume of movies being shot there.

“It was a $65 million per year industry for our province. And it’s all but gone. It’s time to bring back the program we know works.”

A government spokesperson said earlier this week that the Sask. Party is launching an on-line survey that asks people if they have ideas for what to do with the now often-vacant stages where a steady stream of Hollywood movies were once shot. That death-knell survey comes after the Saskatchewan Film Employment Tax Credit was scrapped in March 2012. Nearly every other jurisdiction in Canada and the United States has a film tax credit.

“I know exactly what the government should do with our world-class soundstage,” said Sproule. “They should use it as a soundstage. In order to do that, the Sask. Party will have to admit it made a mistake by scrapping the film employment credit, and reverse that decision.”

The NDP is advocating for a film credit that is competitive with what other regions are offering.

Sproule said for every $1 million Saskatchewan spent on the film tax credit, $44.5 million was generated for the province. Those numbers were verified by a study done by the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce. 

“Attracting films to Saskatchewan is a win-win,” said Sproule. “It’s great for the economy, paying for itself many times over. And it’s also a great source of pride. It’s a chance to show off our beautiful province and the talented film and video professionals from Saskatchewan – many of whom would love to come home to live and work in Saskatchewan again.”