Tax credits for B.C. film biz





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Johnny Depp

Last week I reported that B.C.’s diminished film industry was set to receive a much-needed shot in the arm in the form of tax credits designed to match Ontario and Quebec. That booster arrived Friday when the provincial government announced that it plans to raise the basic Film Incentive tax credit rate to 35 per cent from 30 per cent and the basic Production Services Tax Credit rate to 25 per cent from 18 per cent. The move is intended to help alleviate the strong Canadian dollar.

One problem addressed...

The next problem is, of course, the Hollywood writers’ strike, which, after 13 weeks, has all but immobilized television production here in Vancouver (though sources have told me off the record that a couple of new U.S. TV projects are quietly headed our way). There may be cause for optimism, however. Both the WGA and the AMPTP recently returned to informal, though by most accounts de facto, negotiations, resulting in 13 interim deals, including important guild pacts with Lionsgate, Marvel and RKO Pictures.

A broader industry agreement can’t come soon enough. Soundstages around Vancouver remain occupied by television productions that have left their sets intact — a costly proposition — pending the outcome of the strike ... and though the B.C. Film Commission is still receiving motion picture scripts from American producers, with a handful of projects scouting locations in the province, all current and forthcoming film shoots will be wrapped by June 30 with the exception of Night At The Museum 2.

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Heath Ledger

Ledger’s tragic death puts Parnassus in limbo: As if all of this industry uncertainty weren’t enough, Terry Gilliam’s
The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus, which was scheduled to shoot special effects work in Vancouver this week, has halted production indefinitely after last Tuesday’s tragic death of co-star Heath Ledger. The production is now listed as subject to a force majeure, essentially a contractual clause that releases all parties from liability in exceptional circumstances like the sudden death of a leading cast member. The ultimate fate of the project is unknown, though a studio source recently told the U.K.’s Sun newspaper that Johnny Depp was under consideration to replace Ledger.

Robert Falconer is a writer specializing in media communications, entertainment journalism and creative arts. A knowledgeable disciple of film and television, he is the founder and executive editor of

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