Bleak future for Nova Scotia’s Independent Filmmakers

Apr 10, 2015

AFCOOP is sad and frustrated to hear the recent announcement of changes to the Nova Scotia Film Industry Tax Credit and the closure of Film & Creative Industries Nova Scotia. These changes are substantial and will impact the industry and the practice of filmmaking as a whole. The ripple effect for AFCOOP’s members, sponsors, partners and friends will be truly catastrophic. 

To recap from Screen Nova Scotia’s helpful breakdown:

1.) The Film Tax Credit has been reduced by 75% - making it effectively one of the worst tax credit programs in North America.

2.) This change will be implemented on July 1st, 2015 - essentially in the middle of production season in Nova Scotia.

3.) Film & Creative Industries Nova Scotia no longer exists, effective immediately. The money they use to give towards productions will now be rolled into a new fund, which will be watered down among ALL creative industries

The effects of this change will be dramatic for independent filmmakers. The already truncated budgets they work from are based on the refundable Tax Credit labour rebate. It is an integral component of project funding for Micro-Budget productions and industry-modeled short films. This change to the Tax Credit will further marginalize Nova Scotia filmmakers who are trying to tell the stories of our region. Many of them will move away. 

For AFCOOP as an organization, one of the most concerning announcements is the closure of Film & Creative Industries Nova Scotia. FCINS was the major funder for FILM 5, AFCOOP’s flagship training program for emerging filmmakers. In addition to funding FILM 5, FCINS provided infrastructure and training to emerging filmmakers helping them transition to longer form work. New initiatives like the FCINS' First Feature program were forward thinking programs designed to develop new voices and new producers. These initiatives came from years of working closely with the industry and coming to a deep understanding of the needs of the community. 

FILM 5 is celebrating its 20th Anniversary this year and has been instrumental in fostering the development of the region’s most celebrated and prolific filmmakers. The program provides a next step for film school graduates looking to transition to the industry and the films created through FILM 5 screen at festivals all over the world. Program alumni include Thom Fitzgerald, Andrea Dorfman, Jay Dahl, Marc Almon and Jason Eisener to name a few. These are Nova Scotian filmmakers who tell Nova Scotian stories. 

It is unclear at this point which funding programs from FCINS will be transferred to Nova Scotia Business Inc. but what is clear is that all the industry expertise that FCINS possessed has been destroyed. At this point AFCOOP is not sure if the FILM 5 program will be able to continue beyond its 20th year. 

What can be done?
Follow Screen Nova Scotia on Facebook and Twitter for up-to-date info on what the industry is planning. There is talk of a big rally, tentatively scheduled for early next week. 

Continue to write your MLAs and express your concerns on social media using the hashtags: #NSfilmjobs #NSpoli

Find your MLA’s contact info here

More information about this issue can be found on the Screen NS website