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Nova Scotia film and TV industry see rise in productions

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The Nova Scotia film industry is back on solid ground.

That was confirmed at a legislative committee held in Halifax Tuesday where officials from the Department of Communities, Culture, Tourism and Heritage, confirmed the number of film and TV productions is up.

The landscape and natural beauty the province offers production companies contribute to the solid footing, but a major factor is an improved relationship with the provincial government and competitive financial incentives.

"We are attracting some very large-scale productions here to Nova Scotia and it's providing some very significant investments," Christopher shore, associate deputy minister of the Department of Communities, Culture, Tourism and Heritage.

The film industry took a major hit in 2015 when the Nova Scotia Liberal government led by Premier Stephen McNeil cut the film tax credit.

Productions pivoted to other locations in Canada – like Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver – and marked a challenging time for those working in the Nova Scotia industry.

"Bad news travels a lot further than good news," said Mark Almon, founder and former chair of Screen Nova Scotia. "It took us awhile to re-establish confidence in the international marketplace place but now Nova Scotia is known as a place to do business."

Almon credits a better relationship with the provincial government that's more in tuned with the film and television industry and understand its importance to the economy.

Last year the Tim Houston government increased the film and television production incentive fund by more than $14 million to $39 million and that access to funding is a major part of what attracts production crews here.

"There isn't a jurisdiction that doesn't provide an incentive for film and television production," said Shore. "So our incentive program needs to be competitive and it is competitive right now.

Those incentives bring in TV and film crews who in turn bring in business to their locations.

"We feel it's a very good deal for the province," said Almon. "They are spending tens of millions of dollars in the local economy."

Shore said revenues last year from the film industry helped bring $140 million to the economy and they are looking to build on that success by crafting a tourism campaign around some of the major film and TV content produced here.

Seventy-seven productions accessed the provincial incentive program in 2021-2022. That number jumped to 82 productions in 2022-2023 and there are already 118 productions underway this year.

That's good for the economy and the local industry, which employs more than 1,200 full-time workers, and part of the allure for major productions, knowing there is a list of skilled workers here.

"They (the production companies) can rely on great crews and great casts and people that are very passionate about the industry here," said Almon.

For more Nova Scotia news visit our dedicated provincial page.

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