Saskatchewan film industry sees impact of increased budget funding
New funding for film and television projects is attracting Saskatchewan filmmakers, but barriers remain after the film tax credit was eliminated in 2014.
Saskatchewan. Filmmaker Aaron Sinclair received funding from Creative Saskatchewan for his feature film, The wild which is currently in post-production.
“I applied, I think, in the fall of 2019, and it was approved,” Sinclair said. “Soon after…six or eight weeks after I applied, and the funding was 50% of my budget. So I had to find the remaining 50% to finalize this grant. That second half took longer than the grant because you have to try to find private funding or other grants and things like that. So this part is a bit more difficult.
Saskatchewan. the government is providing $10 million for a film and television production subsidy in the 2022 budget
It can be difficult for fledgling filmmakers to find funding and access other grants, he said.
“It’s quite difficult when you’re a first-time filmmaker to find funding,” Sinclair said. “I’ve done shorts, I’ve done music videos, but I haven’t done anything that long. So I didn’t really have proof that I could do it. So it’s hard to find funding that way. The other government grants that are like the federal are pretty competitive, and I don’t see a lot of filmmakers like Saskatchewan who can really get them.
Creative Saskatchewan is a government agency that administers grants to the creative sectors, including film and television; music; performing arts, which includes theatre, crafts, visual arts; and digital, which is primarily online learning play and theatre.
“Our goal is to administer the program efficiently so producers can access the feature film and TV production fund relatively easily and without a lot of bureaucracy,” said Tobi Lampard, Senior Film and TV Production Liaison. at Creative Saskatchewan.
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In its 2022-23 budget, the Government of Saskatchewan increased its funding for the Creative Saskatchewan Production Grant Program for film and television from $2 million to $10 million.
The government hopes to attract larger scale films made in Saskatchewan and rebuild the industry that collapsed when the Wall government cut the film tax credit in 2014.
Lampard said the $8 million raise was already starting to pay off.
“We’re going to see some really big impacts this year with this new injection into the film and television schedule,” Lampard said.
“It will create jobs in film production and post-production. This will give filmmakers the ability to work with larger production budgets. And also, our goal is to have stable work for the crews so that people have well-paid jobs and stable and sustainable jobs throughout the year.
There are currently no statistics on how many new films the funding is attracting, as the increase is still in its early stages, according to Lampard.
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“Increased funding always means more work opportunities,” Sinclair said. “For creators who can access funding directly, this means more films and original content from Saskatchewan. Being able to put your script into production is always a dream come true, especially for young filmmakers.
However, funding isn’t the only way to help build the local film industry.
“Any financial support is great, but even the interest is great,” Sinclair said. “Like going to see a Saskatchewan movie or trying to figure out a way, you know, to share it on social media or something. All of this really helps. So. I think it just takes a bit of enthusiasm for what we do.
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