By Alan Wong
Since the release of last year’s financial report by accounting firm KPMG, sectors have been on the defensive, including ours. However, with the announcement of the provincial budget on March 12th, members of Manitoba’s film industry can breathe a (temporary) sigh of relief that no major changes were announced.
A coalition of industry representatives, of which ACTRA was a voice, proposed that a working group be formed to review the effectiveness of the Manitoba Film & Video Tax Credit, in order to help the government make an educated assessment. In his speech about our sector, Minister Friesen announced that they will be proceeding with this idea; the successful result of months of advocating by our industry associations and unions.
All of the research and information collected over the past few years on the impact of the creative industries, in particular – the booming film and television industry – will be used to help our case. Our stance is that a stable and consistent tax credit is a valuable and worthwhile investment in our industry: the hundreds of talented artists, craftspeople, technicians, and administrative staff who work, pay taxes, and are otherwise involved in making the city great. Not to mention all of the side businesses who benefit: vendors, hotels, caterers, just to name a few.
But this article is not to inundate you with facts and statistics, nor is it to tell you how great the tax credit is. You can find that information easily online and through organizations like On Screen Manitoba, or Manitobans for the Arts. This article is to offer gratitude to all of our members who have been pro-active during this time of insecurity. If you shared a post on social media, wrote a letter to your MLA, or even just talked about the issue with people in your circles, you were advocating for us, and for that – a huge THANK YOU!
The work isn’t done. however, as the committee has until June 30th to submit a report. We hope that the outcome will not only continue to support our industry, but see initiatives to help ease our growing pains (e.g. shortage of production space, skilled crew, etc.). It’s an exciting time to be an active and involved ACTRA member, and if it means more auditions, better roles, and more opportunities for you to practice your craft, then it is all worth it.