The Post-Production, Visual Effects and Digital Animation grant started as a pilot project in 2017, and on Tuesday, Minister of Culture and Tourism Ricardo Miranda announced the grant would become permanent.
The $1.25-million grant will cover up to 18 per cent of labour costs with a focus on hiring local talent. Companies can apply for up to $200,000 a year in funding.
Miranda said it’s important to support all aspects of the film and television industry if Alberta wants to be seen as a one-stop shop for movie and TV projects.
“[By giving] post-production the incentive to stay here, we’re actually keeping those jobs that would have normally gone outside of the province,” Miranda said. “We are creating an ecosystem that’s going to support not just growth in film but also post-production and other cultural industries.”
The Alberta Post Production Association said post-production is a $20-million-a-year industry in Alberta, but it still ranks well below similar industries in Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec.
APPA chair Susan de St. Jorre said the grant will help Alberta start to close the gap on other provinces.
“We wanted to start competing with those other jurisdictions and their tax intensives,” said Jorre. “This grant program has been of great assistance.”
Patrick Butler runs Propeller Studios in Calgary and says the grant helped him hire more staff last year and keep them employed during the industry’s slow season.
“Over the winter, we were able to take some of our staff, and instead of laying them off, we were able to cross-train them doing other tasks, such as audio for virtual reality,” said Butler.
He said he’s excited about how the current boom of on-demand television will affect not only Alberta’s film industry, but also post-production.
“We’re very hopeful that we’ll start to see more production going wall to wall in Alberta,” said Butler. “Right from script and development to final post.”
Butler’s company was involved in producing audio for TV series like Fargo and Van Helsing.
He’s also landed Wu Assassins, a martial arts series set to air on Netflix in 2019.
Application for the Post-Production, Visual Effects and Digital Animation fund starts October 1, 2018.