Thousands gather in B.C. to boost film sector

At a crowded town hall meeting, the We Create BC plan was announced in hopes that awareness of a struggling film industry will lead to drastic changes.

On Tuesday night more than 3,000 B.C. film industry workers came together at North Shore Studios in hopes of bringing attention to what many say is withering business in the province, largely affected by a tax credit related increase in Ontario and Quebec productions.

Peter Leitch, chair of the Motion Picture Production Industry Association of British Columbia, is determined to bring change to B.C.

“With more than three decades of industry building in British Columbia, our motion picture production sector is a major contributor to BC’s creative economy, so we’d like to get the ball rolling,” said Leitch in a statement.

During the Tuesday night gathering, the “We Create BC” plan was announced by the MPPIA.

The stories of local actors, producers, film crew members and other local artists will be told under one common banner in hopes of showcasing to the community the importance of the industry as well as inspiring understanding and ownership of BC’s film industry.

“Thousands of British Columbians are invested in this industry’s success and we want to tell that story through We Create BC,” said Leitch. “It is ours to be proud of and to build upon for future generations.”

As Leitch had told Playback in a previous interview, a lack of awareness about the importance of the industry is one of the catalysts of the current situation.

“We have to do a better job  at communicating the amount of employment and the value of the industry in the province,” he said. “So we’re certainly working on that BC representing more profile than we’ve had prior to that.”

To that purpose, We Create BC will bring attention to the industry in hopes of improving the current situation and showcasing the film sector’s value in B.C.’s broader creative industries. The campaign will be led by the production community across social and traditional media platforms and through special events

An independent consultant has also been hired to determine the economic impact of the film sector.

During the meeting, Leitch also called for a more effective relationship with the government, mentioning that they weren’t sure of the structure but it could be a crown corporation or a separate ministry.

“We believe it’s time for British Columbia to celebrate our vibrant creative economy that together represents $4 billion in GDP and more that 85,000 jobs,” Leitch said.

Top image courtesy We Create BC; Save BC Film image courtesy Tony Lee via Save BC Film