New Brunswick eyes digital tax credit

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Throwing a life preserver to its drowning film industry, New Brunswick is developing a digital-media tax credit while it scraps the existing film tax credit. In an April 14 memo to the New Brunswick film and television industry, the government confirmed that it was withdrawing the 40% film tax credit which local producers could tap into to help fund local film production. Carolyn MacKay, deputy minister of wellness, culture and sport, also indicated that the province was eliminating the development loan and equity investment program for the provincial film industry.

At the same time, the government has pledged to look into a new digital-media tax credit to help the beleaguered industry. At least three other Canadian provinces have already introduced lucrative digital-media tax credit systems to complement their existing film tax credit systems.

Rescue Plan for Montreal’s Ex-Centris
More than two years after software mogul Daniel Langlois shocked Montreal’s cinephiles by shutting down his rep cinema Ex-Centris, two levels of government and Langlois’ own foundation have reached a deal to save the complex which houses the venerated Cinema Parallele and two other theatres.

It was announced recently that Cinema Parallele is buying the three theatres in the Ex-Centris complex for $7.5 million, essentially becoming part-owner of the Langlois building on St. Laurent Boulevard.

Provincial funding agency SODEC is kicking in CA$4 million, the City of Montreal is putting in another CA$2.75 million and Langlois is providing CA$1 million. In addition, the Culture Ministry will give the cinema CA$1.25 million over the next five years to help with operating costs. The complex will reopen in the fall of 2011.

Producers and Unions Differ on Treaty
A new treaty under discussion between Heritage Canada and the film business threatens to divide the industry as producers want more flexibility in casting as well as copyright, ownership and revenue interests in each project, while the unions and guilds want to hold firm on casting and content requirements to protect Canadian jobs, ensuring that their members have accessibility to work over other foreign nationals.

Canada Honors Screenwriters

The Writers Guild of Canada celebrated its own at the annual Screenwriting Awards event. Barney’s Version writer Michael Konyves won in the movie and miniseries category, while Karen Moonah took home the top prize for animation for The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot about Maps. Christine Nielsen’s The Pig Farm earned the best documentary screenwriting award.

Chris Sheasgreen, who grabbed the best TV comedy script prize for his “Less than Kind” HBO series starring Maury Chaykin, gave tribute to the Canadian actor who died in July 2010.

E-mail Canadian news items to Adina Lebo at mptac.ca@ca.inter.net.