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British Columbia accounts for about 60 per cent of all foreign location film and TV production in Canada. Film makers have been attracted by B.C.’s natural beauty since the late 19th century. Major studios were developed in Greater Vancouver in the late 1980s, and the Government of British Columbia started providing assistance to the industry in 1998. Total direct and indirect full time equivalent jobs generated by film and TV production in B.C. are estimated at over 36,000.
Total spending on film and TV production in B.C. amounted to nearly $950 million in 2007. The industry has a strong balance of international and domestic production activity. Domestic productions have increased significantly in recent years and now account for 40 per cent of total local spending.
The Vancouver region is home to most of B.C.’s production and post-production activities, with sufficient capacity to support the biggest Hollywood movies in casting, set-building, location filming, and audio and special effects. Vancouver is home to some of North America’s most expansive and sophisticated studio spaces and facilities, including over 200,000 square feet of warehouse conversion stages, and numerous FX and sound stages.
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Vancouver’s main advantage is the expertise and talent it has developed during the last two decades. It is now capable of handling every aspect of production for forty projects simultaneously. The resources available in Vancouver have been created by a high level of activity, combined with a world-class educational infrastructure that offers dozens of programs on all aspects of film and TV development, production, marketing and distribution. An experienced and committed local crew base of 30,000 delivers services at the level of their counterparts in Hollywood.
Vancouver has the benefit of being near Hollywood and sharing the same time zone. It also offers a highly versatile physical setting – the New York Times once called it “the city that can substitute for all of America.”
In addition to excellent studio facilities, Vancouver has very strong capabilities in post-production. It is home to a number of companies that have created state-of-the-art, award winning visual effects. Vancouver’s strong digital media sector is a major asset that will be increasingly important as film/TV and digital media continue to blend.
Support and collaboration among a network of government agencies, industry associations, festivals and awards, and professional organizations is a key element in the industry’s success.
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The B.C. government offers a 33 per cent refundable tax credit for Canadian or international film and television production companies that incur eligible labour costs in B.C.. Labour costs for digital animation, visual effects and video game development receive a 17.5 per cent credit. Recipient corporations do not have to be Canadian-owned, or have an interest in the copyright. Enhanced credits are available for B.C.-owned and controlled companies.
The Government of Canada provides tax credits for qualified foreign film and video production, amounting to 16 per cent of Canadian labour costs, through the Canadian Audio-Visual Certification Office.
The AdvantageBC offers refunds of provincial corporate income taxes to firms permanently established in B.C. that pursue qualified international business activities such as film distribution.
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Non-profit society that promotes B.C. as a centre for international business activity and encourages corporations to take advantage of favorable tax treatment under International Business Activity Act (IBAA).
B.C. Arts Council
Provincial government agency that supports arts and culture and makes awards.
B.C. Film Commission
Provincial government agency that promotes the interests of B.C.’s film and production industry worldwide.
Non-profit that administers B.C. film credits and provides support for the development and marketing of film, TV and digital media products from B.C.
B.C. Ministry of Economic Development
Provincial government department that promotes commerce and investment in B.C. and administers B.C.’s venture capital programs.
Canadian Audio-Visual Certification Office
Office in the Canadian Government Department of Canadian Heritage that provides support for film/TV production.
Production cooperative that provides members with equipment, information and support to make independent movies.
City of Vancouver Film Office
City department that assists with permits and information regarding filming in the City of Vancouver.
FTXWestDigital Entertainment Exhibition and Conference
Annual exhibition and conference focusing on the latest technology in film, TV and digital media.
Motion Picture Production Association of B.C.
Industry association for film, television and commercial production.
New Media BC
Industry association for digital media companies.
SIGGRAPH International, Vancouver Chapter
Vancouver Chapter of the Special Interest Group for Computer Graphics of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). SIGGRAPH’s 2011 conference will be held in Vancouver, its first conference outside the U.S. Over 24,000 attendees from around the world are expected.
Canadian government cultural agency with a Vancouver office that provides the film, TV and digital media industries with financial, strategic and distribution support for products that reflect Canadian society.
Vancouver Asian Film Festival
Event for Asian film makers to showcase their work to Asian and non-Asian audiences in North America.
Photo Credit: BC Film Commission