Film tax credit doubles, sunset clause removed as Manitoba's film industry booms
A rapidly growing industry in Manitoba is getting a major boost from the provincial government.
Major motion pictures like ‘Breakthrough,’ which hits theatres next month, are being shot around Manitoba. That movie in particular, starring Chrissy Metz, Josh Lucas, and Topher Grace, was filmed in Winnipeg, Portage la Prairie, and Selkirk.
The City of Selkirk is becoming a hotspot for film productions, with companies like Netflix flocking to the area.
“All of Manitoba is doing well with the movie business, but out here in Selkirk we seem to be doing exceptionally well,” said Selkirk Mayor Larry Johannson.
He said in the last 15 years the city has played host to shoots for more than 100 movies, shows, and documentaries. In the last couple of years, Johannson said he’s seen a real boom.
“We’ve made it easy in Selkirk to do movie business, and that’s a big thing for us,” said Johannson. “We’ve passed the right bylaws so when they come into town, they know exactly what they have to do, if say they want to close a street or they want to rebrand something.”
Selkirk isn’t the only place benefitting from the growing industry. Last week, the province announced it was nearly doubling the Manitoba Film and Video Production Tax Credit from $16-million to $31-million.
“It’s really an essential tool for attracting productions, and making sure that Manitoba productions are completed,” said Nicole Matiation, executive director of On Screen Manitoba.
The tax credit was set to expire at the end of this year, but after consultation, the province decided to make it permanent – eliminating the ‘sunset clause.’
“It sends a really strong message to markets everywhere, not just in Canada, but internationally that Manitoba is in this business for the long term,” said Matiation.
She said the industry has been growing at a steady rate, but in the last three years it’s seen a real spike. Last year, Matiation said there was $173-million in total production volume, and this year it’s expected to reach a quarter of a billion dollars.
Job numbers have also doubled, said Matiation. In 2019, about 2,200 jobs are expected to be created, up from 1,100 in 2016, and from a variety of high-skilled industries.
“Everyone with training from electricians to hair stylists to costume creation, décor, construction, accounting,” said Matiation.
As for what’s next in Selkirk, well that’s still a secret.
“We can’t say what’s coming yet, but I can tell you it’s going to be a blockbuster,” said Johannson.
On Screen Manitoba said the province is already gearing up for a big year with two series coming, one feature currently being filmed, and two more on the way. It said many others are interested in filming in Manitoba this year.