Members of the Lower Mainland’s film industry are backing the new HST, saying the controversial tax offers incentive to Hollywood producers to film here and gives the local industry a much-needed boost.

Before the HST, film productions in B.C. were exempt from paying GST, but paid the provincial sales tax.

Peter Leitch, president of North Shore Studios, said some parts of movie production are HST exempt. Studios, producers, equipment rental shops, set-builders and caterers now enjoy savings.

“(These services) will see all costs go down with harmonization, making them more competitive and helping to grow their business and jobs,” he said.

With the new tax’s additional seven per cent tax saving for studios, British Columbia has become more competitive with film centres in Ontario and the United States, he added.

In 2009, nearly 420 films and shows were shot in B.C., generating more than $1.3 billion in production spending.

More than $1 billion of this spending was from non-Canadian productions.