Quebec increases tax credit for film and TV

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Quebec increases tax credit for film and TV
The Quebec government raised the tax credit for provincial film and TV producers as part of a package to help Canadian filmmakers. Finance minister Monique Jerome-Forget said that the province’s two main refundable tax credits for indigenous film and TV productions will go from base rates of 29.17% to 35% and from 39.38% to 45% respectively for 2009. The province will also introduce a 10% bonus for more commercial films that do not qualify for public funding.

British Columbia also extended its tax credit, which refunds 35% of local labor costs to filmmakers from across Canada who choose to shoot in BC.

Stratford Fest Comes to Cinemas
A film capturing the Stratford Festival’s 2008 hit production of George Bernard Shaw’s Caesar and Cleopatra, starring Christopher Plummer, played on 80 Cineplex screens across Canada at the end of January.

Inspired by the Metropolitan Opera’s success with filmed versions of its stage productions, Canada’s largest exhibitor joined forces with CTV and the Stratford Festival to create this filmed event which played to sold-out audiences.

The movie was shot in front of theatre audiences over three days during the play’s run at Stratford last fall, using nine high-definition cameras and Dolby surround sound.
The project was largely driven by star Plummer and Stratford board member Barry Avrich, who served as the producer. Together they brought in broadcaster CTV, which will air the show in April, as well as corporate sponsor American Express.

The CA$12 million production broke even quickly, with the six Toronto venues selling out before the actual screening. The producers are now preparing for the DVD rollout as well as for sales of both the film and DVD version for the International market.

Plummer is already working with artistic director Des McAnuff on a similar project for the 2010 season.

Genies Head to Ottawa
The Genie Awards are moving to a new city. The 29th annual event will take place this spring at the Canadian Aviation Museum in the nation’s capital, Ottawa. Nominees are announced in February and CanWest is back on board as a broadcast partner.

Neeson, Moore Join Egoyan’s Chloe
Canadian director Atom Egoyan has lined up a stellar cast for his new film, Chloe. Liam Neeson and Julianne Moore are being joined by Mamma Mia! star Amanda Seyfried. The screenplay is by Erin Cressida Wilson (Secretary).

Moore plays Catherine, a doctor who suspects husband David (Neeson) is sleeping around. Aiming to catch him red-handed, she hires the stunning Chloe to bait him. But the tables turn when Catherine herself is smitten with Chloe. The mood changes from erotic drama to thriller as Chloe’s intimate involvement threatens the family’s perfect world.
Producer Ivan Reitman optioned the rights and commissioned Wilson’s adaptation of the 2003 French film Nathalie in 2005. Reitman and Tom Pollock’s Montecito Picture Company will produce the film along with a bevy of other partners in both Canada and Europe.

Passchendaele Earns Top Spot
Director Paul Gross’ Passchendaele was the number-one Canadian production in 2008, ending the year with a total take of almost CA$5 million. Gross and producer Niv Fichman of Rhombus Films will be honored with the 2008 Golden Reel Award offered by the Academy of Film and Television for the highest-grossing Canadian film, as well as ShowCanada’s prestigious Hector G. Ross Award rewarding box-office success.

Gross and Fichman have joined forces once again for a quirky comedy called Gunless, a spoof of the western genre in which an American gunslinger finds himself “a fish out of water” on the sedate Canadian range. This time, Fichman will be joined by Stephen Hedges of Brightlight Pictures in the producing role.

The film is in pre-production and will be shooting in the spring, with Telefilm Canada and various provincial agencies and tax-credit programs being utilized as part of initial financing plans.

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