New Incentives Aim to Give Alberta Expanded Role in Hollywood Films

Fifty Academy Awards and 22 Emmy Awards out of 90 nominations would make an impressive trophy case – and it’s precisely how much bling Alberta has earned in the past 15 years, more than any other jurisdiction in Canada.

Luke Azevedo believes the province is poised and ready to achieve even greater success in the limelight. “We generated $246 million dollars last year through the film and television industry in this province. And, we anticipate that this year (2017) it will be higher,” says the commissioner of film, television and creative industries with Calgary Economic Development. “We are going to see this industry grow exponentially over the next five to seven years.”

Alberta has a lot to offer potential investors. As of October 2017, the industry is getting a boost from the Screen-Based Production Grant from the Alberta government, which will make $45 million per year available to production companies working in Alberta.
Movie makers can apply for up to 30 per cent of their eligible expenditures made in the province.

“For each project that moves the cap from $5 million to $7.5 million. We’re much more globally competitive now for higher budget films and series. We’re in a position now where visiting studios can do much larger spends in Alberta while working with the Calgary Film Centre, CL Ranch and many others across the province,” Azevedo says.

Over the last few years, Alberta has played centre stage for a number of blockbuster movies including, Interstellar starring Matthew McConaughey (2014) and The Revenant starring Leonardo DiCaprio (2015). The list of credits also includes critically acclaimed television shows, such as Fargo and Canadian-made favourites, such as Heartland.

In November 2017, Azevedo was in California attending the American Film and Market Conferences. It’s one of the industry’s most significant international events. Thousands of movie and television-making leaders arrive in Santa Monica, Calif., for a week of deal-making, screenings, conferences and networking. Calgary’s film commissioner was among representatives from more than 80 countries.

“We’re meeting with all sorts of folks from all of the major studios and large independent producers, as well as supporting some of our local producers from Alberta who are there to connect and make deals,” Azevedo says.

As well as the variety of scenic backdrops – from the brawn of the Rocky Mountains to the beauty of the prairies and badlands – Alberta also boasts experienced movie crews, and other incentives that bring casts and movie-making teams from around the world to shoot here.

“With continued government support, we would like to see it grow to a half a billion-dollar industry over the next five years,” Azevedo says. “We have some of the best crews and talent in the world here, not to mention amazing facilities. All of this accumulates
to make Alberta one of the top locations in North America for productions to look to.”

Albertans should probably keep their stylists on speed dial for the next red-carpet event because it’s only a matter of time before we start, once again, racking in the Hollywood awards.