Manitoba hits $210M in production volume

Film commissioner Carole Vivier attributes the increase to a combination of the province's tax credit, its growing reputation and the relationships being built with U.S.-based studios.

Eight months into fiscal 2018, Manitoba Film & Music (MFM) says the province has already surpassed its best production year on record. According to MFM, the province has hit $210 million in spend for the year to date, sailing past the previous best of $173 million in 2016/17.

All told, 48 projects have filmed in Manitoba since April, with service productions like season four of Channel Zero and A Dog’s Purpose‘s sequel Molly and Max accounting for 63% of the total. Meanwhile, domestic productions like season two of Burden of Truth made up 22% of the spend, and coventures/copros like Percy starring Christopher Walken accounted for 15%.

Manitoba’s production volume has been rapidly rising over the past few years. Manitoba-based industry association On Screen Manitoba (OSM) previously reported that production volume in the province went up from $127 million in 2015/16 to $173 million in 2016/17, which was previously the industry’s best year on record.

MFM CEO and film commissioner Carole Vivier attributes the increase to the combination of the province’s tax credit, its growing reputation and the relationships being built with large U.S.-based studios. “Overall the package has been really appealing and people want to come back and shoot because their experiences have been great and then they’re telling others,” said Vivier, who revealed in August that she will step down from her post after 26 years of leading the org.

TV movies continue to be a strong performer and source of production spend in the province. This fiscal year alone, Hallmark Channel shot six productions in Manitoba including A Shoe Addict’s Christmas, Love in Design, Love Of Course, Once Upon A Christmas Miracle, Under the Autumn Moon and A Christmas in Tennessee. “The great thing with Hallmark movies as well, is [that] local writer/director Gary Yates has written and directed many of those. That’s really fantastic for the creative community here, that it’s not just productions coming in and shooting but they’re also tapping into the creative talent we have as well,” said Vivier.

Another growing  area for the industry is post-production. The CEO points to the success of companies like Urban Prairie Post (who worked on the Canada/U.S./U.K. copro Jeremiah Terminator LeRoy, which debuted at TIFF) and L.A.-headquartered management and production company The Cartel‘s move to set up shop in Winnipeg. This September, The Cartel officially opened its doors in the province with the hope that it will produce around half of its projects in the city in 2019.

Looking forward, Vivier said she expects Manitoba’s screen sector won’t slow down come March, noting that she hopes production spend in Manitoba will hit $250 million through an additional four or five projects – a mix of local and bigger budget film and TV series – shooting in the province.

MFM’s fiscal year started on April 1, 2018 and will end on March 31, 2019.

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