News / Halifax

Film industry hopes Wednesday rally makes government 'rethink' tax credit cut

A film industry rep is expecting one of the biggest rallies in the province’s history Wednesday as talks between the industry and government on the film tax credit continue.

Screen Nova Scotia chair, Marc Almon, and other industry members met with finance minister Diana Whalen for two hours Tuesday in what seemed a hopeful session where the minister acknowledged the proposed change wasn’t workable for the industry, Almon said.

“It was revealing. I think they learned a lot and we learned as well some of the challeges they’re facing,” Almon said.

Last week, Whalen tabled the 2015/16 provincial budget, which reduces the refundable portion of the film tax credit by 75 per cent starting July 1.

Although Almon says he felt the minister understood the changes to the tax credit weren’t workable, Whalen told reporters Tuesday afternoon she was only acknowledging that the film industry has a problem with the change – “we do not.”

Whalen wouldn’t say whether it is possible to return the tax credit to its former status, or how else the film industry could access more funds, besides repeating they must work with what has been laid out in the budget.

There may be another $6-million allotted for a new Creative Economy Fund that would be shared with film, animation and sound recording, Whalen said, but stressed that money must be shared.

“The next step is to look at what funds are available in the fiscal envelope and to talk about how best to put it in a way that they can access it,” Whalen said.

Almon said they have put forward an alternate proposal to the finance minister and another meeting is set for Friday, which makes it especially important to see hundreds come out to protest the tax cut from noon to 7 p.m. Wednesday.

“I think it’s going to be the biggest rally in [Nova Scotia] history,” Almon said.

“I’m hoping this is really making the government rethink their plans, because we’ve got to turn this around.”

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