City of Victoria Councillors fighting to restore film commission funding


WATCH: Two Victoria city councillors are fighting to maintain funding for film and TV production in Greater Victoria. Ceilidh Millar reports. 

The last two years have been big for the film and television industry in Greater Victoria.

Major productions in the area have included Richard says Goodbye featuring Johnny Depp, and Deadpool starring Ryan Reynolds.

Despite the boom, the Vancouver Island South Film and Media Commission says their funding from the City of Victoria has been cut in half.

“We really need the city to come back to the table and restore the funding,” said Kathleen Gilbert with the Vancouver Island South Film and Media Commission.

In 2004, the city provided $50,000 per year to the film commission through grants and fee-for-service funding.

In 2005, the funding was dropped to $45,000 and is now at $20,000 per year.

“On a budget of $200,000 that has had a huge impact on us,” Gilbert said. “We’re talking about 20 per cent of our [yearly] budget.”

Gilbert says the film industry brings in on average $12 million to $15 million per year from dozens of visiting film productions.

Councillors Marianne Alto and Jeremy Loveday have put forward a motion calling for another $25,000 to be awarded to the film commission.

“We need to look at this differently because the money that we invest in the film commission comes back the city exponentially,” Loveday explained.

The motion will be brought forward to council on Thursday, Aug. 2. It calls for the city to restore the funding for the year and consider a different funding model in 2019.

“It’s the only grant in the stream that’s for economic development,” said Loveday. “It’s hard to weigh that against things like social issues, environmental issues and community building.”

Vancouver Island has become a popular filming location with the province’s lucrative tax credits and the low Canadian dollar and Gilbert hopes to see the city further invest in the industry.

“They’re also investing in the income of more than 952 people in the Capital Region and that’s not including the people that service the industry,” Gilbert said.

Ceilidh MillarCeilidh Millar

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