Film and TV industry representatives gathered around Alberta Culture and Tourism Minister Ricardo Miranda after his announcement on the Screen-Based Production Grant.
The Government of Alberta has boosted its financial support for film and TV production in the province with the creation of the Screen-Based Production Grant (SPG) program that’s both more sustainable and responsive to the needs of the industry.
The enhanced SPG has an annual budget of $45 million – an increase of $15 million from the previous program and projects that provide significant contributions to Alberta’s culture and economy may be eligible for the maximum per-project grant, which rises from $5 million to $7.5 million.
To ensure the film, television and digital media sector has sustainable support, the SPG will introduce new funding criteria, specific application intake periods and stricter financial controls, Ricardo Miranda, Alberta’s Minister of Culture and Tourism, said at a news conference at the Calgary Film Centre.
The SPG program goes into effect on Oct. 25, 2017.
Existing agreements under the Alberta Production Grant program will be honored and the other grants within the Alberta Media Fund are still available to eligible applicants.
“It is our hope that this will begin a new chapter for Alberta’s film, television and digital media industries, one that leads to the continued growth of the sector, more of Alberta’s stories shared with the world, and an even greater contribution to Alberta’s economy,” Miranda said.
Film & TV production generated about $165 million in economic activity in Calgary and area in 2016 and the added government support will help the industry grow.
“There was a lot of collaboration between the industry and the government to ensure a sector with a lot of growth potential gets the appropriate support,” said Mary Moran, the President and CEO of Calgary Economic Development. “This is something we needed to get this industry to a place commercially that matches our creative success.”
Film and TV productions shot in Calgary and area have won more Oscars, Emmys and Golden Globes in the last 15 years than any jurisdiction in Canada.
“The SPG will allow us to compete more effectively for the large budget episodic TV series – like Fargo, which was shot on the sound stages here – that’s a significant growth area in the industry,” said Luke Azevedo, Commissioner of Film, Television and Creative Industries and Chief Operating Officer, Calgary Film Centre.
The new program was applauded throughout the industry.
“The opportunity to increase the production cap for larger-budget productions is important for attracting more business to Alberta, and I’m also glad to see a focus on supporting local cultural productions,” said Tom Cox,Managing Director of Calgary-based SEVEN24 Films.
Damian Petti, President of Local 212 of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees called it “wonderful news, not only for supporting our award-winning crews, but for creating more jobs and cultivating new local talent and opportunities for Albertans entering the industry.”