News Updates

Production Soars in ‘Banner Year’ for Film Industry

Posted on November 3, 2016

Film Commission/Unions report millions in production, unprecedented employment

MANITOBA – November 3, 2016 – With a total of nine projects shooting and many more in the works, Manitoba’s film industry is experiencing an exceptionally high volume of production this year - resulting in millions toward the province’s GDP and unprecedented crew employment rates. So far this fiscal year, Manitoba Film & Music (which also serves as the Film Commission for the province) reports that although the industry is just over halfway through the fiscal year, production volume has already exceeded last year’s totals.

“We have much to be proud of including the thousands of jobs and business opportunities created by the film industry, the hundreds of films, documentaries and series that puts Manitoba on the map and makes us a serious player in this dynamic and international market,” said The Honourable Rochelle Squires, Minister of Sport, Culture and Heritage.

“We have seen nearly $86 million in production this year so far,” said Carole Vivier, CEO & Film Commissioner at Manitoba Film & Music. “We currently have five scripted and four unscripted projects shooting, with many others in pre-production or slated for production in the coming months. This bodes well for a stellar year.”

Last year $84 million in production took place in the province. The annual production average is around $100 million.

Production highlights this year include the Universal Cable Productions series Channel Zero, which began filming its first season in the spring and is currently filming season two. Channel Zero was created by Max Landis (Chronicle), Nick Antosca (Hannibal) and Don Mancini (writer of Child’s Play) who previously had a positive experience shooting Curse of Chucky in Manitoba. The local production company attached to the project is Original Pictures, and the Unit Production Manager is Manitoban Ellen Rutter.  As the provincial Film Commission, MFM was instrumental in securing the series with Universal. MFM has been meeting with the studio for over 15 years and has managed to secure several direct-to-video productions in the past. Based on their past experiences shooting in Manitoba, the studio decided to shoot Channel Zero in the province.

Among the projects slated for future production is the series The Council for CBC, which will begin filming in 2017.  The local production company attached to the project is Buffalo Gal Pictures.

 “When we have a series shoot here, it does incredible things for the growth of our industry. Series like these not only allow long-term employment for crew, they also provide valuable training opportunities for newcomers in the industry,” said Vivier. “With The Council slated for production in the spring, employment and training opportunities will remain strong well into 2017.”

With production soaring, unions are reporting a major increase in salaries being paid out to Manitoba crew.

 “We have never had production levels this high going right up to the seasonal break”, said Rob Rowan, Business Agent for IATSE 856 Manitoba. “It will likely be a banner year for IATSE technicians.”

“Production levels in Manitoba have increased in 2016 compared to recent years, and we are optimistic work opportunities will continue this upward trend into 2017,” said Steven Foster, Manitoba Representative for the Directors Guild of Canada – Manitoba District Council.

Rob Macklin, Branch Representative for ACTRA Manitoba reports that productions are employing a high number of local actors in major roles. “2016 is proving to be a most rewarding year for Manitoba performers in both film and television - both in the number of roles and their profile,” he said.

Manitoba Film & Music has also seen a demand on its funding programs, which support the development and production of projects that shoot in Manitoba. MFM recently committed to participate in the France co-production Incident in a Ghost Land which will begin shooting at the end of the month. Among many other projects, MFM also supported the made-in-Manitoba production Lovesick (written and directed by Manitoban Tyson Caron and produced by local company Eagle Vision Inc.) which is slated for release in early 2017.

There are over 1,400 Manitobans employed full time in the province’s production industry. In the past 10 years alone, there has been over $1 billion worth of production in the province, and over half of that amount was spent here on salaries, supplies and services. Manitoba has over 40 active production companies.

Manitoba Film & Music exists so Manitoba's film and music industries flourish. We support Manitoba film and music through our objectives, which are to create, stimulate, employ and invest in Manitoba by developing and promoting Manitoba companies, producing and marketing film, television, video and music recording projects. As the province’s film commission, MFM promotes Manitoba as a film location for off-shore production companies.

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