Moving The Film & Creative Industries Forward

May 4, 2012

Tourism, Parks, Culture and Sport Minister Bill Hutchinson today announced the government has offered the film and creative industries a three-point plan for moving forward.

"The old film employment grant program was not serving to develop a strong film industry in Saskatchewan and it came at a high cost to taxpayers," Hutchinson said. "We are not reversing our decision to end that program. However we do believe there is a promising future for the film industry and in fact the whole creative sector in Saskatchewan if we focus on innovation and growing strong, grassroots, Saskatchewan-based businesses."

The plan includes:

  • a new Film/TV and Digital Tax Credit (FTDC) formula as proposed to government by the film and digital sector however provided as a non-refundable tax credit;
  • consultations for a strategy to encourage development and use of digital technology for all creative industries in the province; and
  • an idea to repurpose the Canada-Saskatchewan Production studio for those creative industries to use.

"For far too long government's focus on the creative sector has been disjointed," Hutchinson said. "This plan will bring the creative business sector together with emphasis on helping the industry, including film, to grow, to advance, and to hopefully be leaders in Canada in terms of digital technology and production."

Creative industries include the businesses and people involved in the production, distribution and marketing of cultural goods and services, such as music and sound recording, writing and publishing, craft and visual arts, film and multimedia (animators and gamers) and performing arts (theatre and dance).

The new, non-refundable FTDC is based on a strong proposal made to the government by the film sector during a meeting this week. It supports Saskatchewan film, television and digital production companies by offering a 25 per cent non-refundable tax credit on all production expenses, including labour costs. There are also significant bonuses for copyright and intellectual ownership, use of Saskatchewan labour, production and post-production that occurs in Saskatchewan and convergence if film and digital companies collaborate on a project. With all bonuses included, the total incentive is 43 per cent.

Unlike the existing program, the new FTDC is a true tax credit as it is fully deductable from taxes paid in Saskatchewan and could be available July 1, 2012. The existing program offered a base rebate on labour of 45 per cent, in addition to a 5.0 per cent rural bonus and 5.0 per cent key bonus rebate for productions with budgets of $3 million or greater. However it was fully refundable meaning companies did not have to pay tax in Saskatchewan in order to still receive the financing.

The new option recognizes additional production costs associated with expenditures made on goods and services purchased and consumed in Saskatchewan - ensuring more tax dollars remain in the province. And with a broader focus on digital screen production, it recognizes the adaptation of the traditional industry to new, modern technologies. Government will now begin work with the creative industries in Saskatchewan to deliver on the vision of building strong use of digital technology in the creative sector. This will include consultations, and a repurposing of the production studio to create a hub where the industries can develop and produce content, collaborate and experiment with new digital products. We will also explore the potential of expanding the non-refundable tax credit to the digital creative sector.

"Consumers today are demanding highly interactive content that is accessible anytime, anywhere and on any device," Hutchinson said. "This means creative content producers have to develop a whole new skill set including digital content creation, distribution across multiple platforms and marketing in a digital world. Helping Saskatchewan's creative industries grow in that area will help Saskatchewan continue to move forward."

Government will launch consultations this year for the digital strategy, including the production studio, for implementation in 2013.