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New B.C. tax credits got nothing on location, location, location

Friday, March 5th, 2010 | 12:05 pm

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By Marshall Jones

Jon Summerland pulls over to the side of the road to take a phone call and answer questions about the benefits of new tax credits for the film industry announced in this week’s provincial budget. The call interrupted his trip to take photos of a location he was pre-scouting for a major film with potential to be shot in the Okanagan.

That alone may explain his subdued support for the provincial initiative.

“Tax credits are kind of a tough thing,” he says. “You don’t really want much more tax credits because when do you stop giving them out?”

It’s an interesting take, considering the film industry is notorious for re-routing everything to save a penny on a dollar. In Canada, that usually means moving back and forth between Ontario and Quebec where tax credits are the real draw—and B.C. which always has the fantastic locations and sporadic tax incentives.

“I get emails every day from this state or that state and their new tax credits,” he says. They aren’t always that effective, but they do put those states on a radar — at least until a new credit is announced.

“No one forgets B.C. We’ve got everything all around us; we’re 3.5 hours from a great city, we’ve got desert, mountains, snow….”

Ontario and Quebec will never have the location Summerland is photographing and that is ultimately the difference, he says. While he can take a long term view of the latest salvo in the provincial film tax credit battle, he is also aware that Tuesday’s announcement will result in more phone calls this spring, typically his busiest time.

And it just may be the clincher on a project the film commission has been working on for years.

“I am working with a very large feature film. They liked our tax credits, but now that we have new ones they are even happier,” he says. “However it’s our locations that make the difference.”

The tax credits are specific to studio locations and labour — two ways to get added value out of productions. They will help ensure anyone shooting here will use local studios and local workers.

Summerland believes he may also be close to landing a major television series for Kelowna that could set up shop here for some time. He hopes that may be the catalyst to create a local industry — not just those location shoots.

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One Response to “New B.C. tax credits got nothing on location, location, location”

  1. Denny L. says:
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    Is that why many of the film prefessionals I know in Vancouver are moving to Toronto?

    Please continue discussion on the forum: link

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