Sask. film producers can now apply for up to $5M in grant funding

·3 min read
The Soundstage is a film and TV production facility in Regina. The Creative Saskatchewan's Feature Film and TV Production Program will now have a $5 million funding threshold for eligible production companies to access in the 2022-23 year, according to the province. (Saskatchewan Government - image credit)
The Soundstage is a film and TV production facility in Regina. The Creative Saskatchewan's Feature Film and TV Production Program will now have a $5 million funding threshold for eligible production companies to access in the 2022-23 year, according to the province. (Saskatchewan Government - image credit)

After boosting its grant program for film and television by $8 million in its last budget, the province announced another change which allows filmmakers to apply for more grant money to produce a movie.

Eligible production companies can now access $5 million in grant funding through the Feature Film and TV Production Program — operated through Crown corporation Creative Saskatchewan — up from the previous $600,000 threshold for a single film and television project.

"These changes will ensure that Creative Saskatchewan has the flexibility to attract larger productions with the increased funding provided in this year's budget," said Parks, Culture and Sport Minister Laura Ross in a news release on Monday.

The announcement about the change in threshold comes just over a month after the provincial government released its latest budget, boosting the Production Grant Program from $2 million to $10 million.

Sask. filmmaker hopes for ongoing support

Applicants planning to film at least 50 kilometres outside of Regina or Saskatoon may be eligible for a 5 per cent bonus, according to Creative Saskatchewan.

The province hopes this bonus structure will encourage spending in rural areas, as well as co-production and post-production opportunities.

While the application window for the 2022-23 Feature Film and Television Production Grant is now open, one filmmaker in the province hopes the funding will remain in place beyond this fiscal year.

"This is just an announcement for this upcoming fiscal year, but what's going to happen for the years after that?" said Mike Rollo, head of the Film Department at the University of Regina.

"I'm hoping that the Saskatchewan government allows for a sustainability of our creative industries and keeps the funding, either at this level or increases it over the years, to allow for a reliable and sustainable and consistent industry in this province."

In an email to CBC, the Ministry of Parks, Culture and Sport said the threshold will remain at $5 million unless it is changed by an amendment to the Creative Saskatchewan Regulations.

Creative Saskatchewan told CBC that the new threshold is for this year, but it is yet to be determined what the future will look like.

A lot of crew members left province after 2012, said Rollo

Rollo is happy about the funding changes, which will provide more opportunity for production companies to realize their ideas in Saskatchewan, he said.

"You're dealing with competition with other provinces in terms of the amounts that are given either as grants or tax credits," said Rollo.

"We were just not as competitive to say, like, what's happening in Alberta and what's happening in Manitoba."

The next challenge will be to rebuild the pool of talent and film crew members in the province, he said, with many leaving Saskatchewan after the elimination of the tax credit ten years ago.

The province hopes that increasing film and television production will create spin-offs in other parts of the arts sector, such as jobs for designers, costumers, performers and writers, Monday's news release says.

Producers applying for the grant must be incorporated in Saskatchewan, or incorporated federally and registered in the province, according to Creative Saskatchewan.

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