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This article was published 15/1/2019 (279 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Seasoned show business folk can be a tough crowd, but an assembly of film and video professionals at the Fairmont Hotel rose Tuesday afternoon to give a standing ovation to Cathy Cox, provincial minister for sport, culture and heritage.
"I'm absolutely thrilled to announce today that our government will be making the Manitoba film (and video production) tax credit permanent," Cox said, to rapturous applause from forum attendees.
The announcement means simply there is no expiry date on what is one of the most competitive film tax credit programs in North America. Prior to the announcement, the program was set to expire at the end of 2019, which had the potential to cause uncertainty for producers looking at working in Manitoba.
"We recognize that removing the sunset clause is very important to ensuring that you have the stability to know that down the road, this tax credit will remain permanent," Cox said.
Manitoba Film & Music chief executive officer Carole Vivier, who leaves the position at the end of June, heralded the move as something that will secure film production into the future.
"It was on a renewal cycle," she said. "There's a date when (the tax credit) would be renewed. And that date is in the legislation. So when people are looking to shoot here, they look at the tax credit and they look at when it needs to be renewed. And when there's a date there, it makes them nervous, because they go: 'Oh, what if they don't renew it?'
"Removing that sunset clause makes all that go away. It really is a strong message from the government that this is a sector they believe in and are supporting."
The move brings Manitoba in line with other provinces offering tax credit programs, including Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia. While Manitoba doesn't match the production dollars brought in by those provinces, the industry has grown dramatically.
The 2017-18 fiscal year reported $173 million in production in the province. The sum is already at $210 million for 2018-19 and is expected to be $250 million by the end of the fiscal year, Cox said.
"So it's very important that we contribute to this booming industry in Manitoba. Even Sean Penn was here (in Winnipeg) last week," the minister added, referring to the Oscar-winning actor who was, according to industry scuttlebutt, scouting for two different projects he intends to produce and direct.
In a way, Randall King was born into the entertainment beat.