MONTREAL, June 19, 2014 /CNW Telbec/ - In a spontaneous and
unprecedented move, the key players in the audiovisual industry have
joined forces following the announcement of cutbacks in the latest
provincial budget and the threat these pose to the industry as a whole.
Producers, directors, scriptwriters, actors, craftsmen and companies
offering a range of services - production, postproduction, dubbing,
visual effects and interactive media - representing more than 50,000
workers and entrepreneurs, have sounded alarm bells over the
announcement of cuts to provincial tax credits for film and television
These industry players came together to voice their concerns and stress
the urgency of the matter to the government. While they plan to answer
the call of Ms. Hélène David, Minister of Culture and Communications,
to submit briefs before a parliamentary commission on Quebec's tax
systems in September, they deemed it necessary to act in the interim
and inform the government of the immediate ramifications of its
decision. In concrete terms, thousands of jobs would be affected in the
short to medium term if the government moves forward with these cuts.
In fact, a number of Quebec productions risk never seeing the light of
day as a direct result of these announced cuts, while many foreign
productions will set up shop outside of Quebec if the fiscal parameters
aren't quickly secured. Not only will local and foreign productions be
in jeopardy, but the companies offering them a variety of services will
also find themselves having to reconsider investments and, eventually,
resort to employee layoffs to offset a forecasted drop in activity.
Certain targeted sectors are among the most sensitive to the cutthroat
competition played out on the global stage with regards to tax credits,
most notably production services, digital special effects, dubbing,
co-productions and animation.
"The trust relationship is at risk of being broken not only with the
province's investors, but also with foreign investors, especially
regarding the long-term sustainability of the programmes that draw them
to Quebec," says Jean Ducharme, Vice President, Operations at
Technicolor in Montreal. For her part, Janis Lundman, producer and
Co-President of the Quebec English-Language Production Committee
(QEPC), says: "English-language production is very mobile and risks
disappearing altogether if Quebec's tax credits aren't competitive
enough with those of other jurisdictions such as Ontario, British
Columbia or the state of New York. Skilled talent will go where the
jobs are and will be very difficult to recover once lost." Sophie
Prégent, President of the UDA, adds: "The dubbing industry could
completely topple over. It's extremely fragile."
All interested parties stressed that tax credits on media productions
should not be seen as an expense, but rather as a profitable
investment. It will be clearly demonstrated before the commission on
tax systems that each dollar spent in tax credits is not only repaid in
full, but also generates positive tax revenues for Quebec. And that's
without quantifying the major economic spin-off generated, a benefit
that translates into hundreds of millions of dollars injected or
reinvested in the Quebec economy. Producer Nicole Robert sums it up as
follows: "Cutting back on tax credits in cinema and television won't
reduce Quebec's deficit; it'll increase it!"
Quebec's audiovisual industry has established itself as a leader in
national and international markets. "It's a question of money and jobs
because that's essential, but we shouldn't forget that it's also about
our ability to distinguish ourselves, to promote our culture, which is
under threat if we don't sufficiently invest in it," added Gabriel
Pelletier and Bernard Arseneau, presidents of the ARRQ and AQTIS,
respectively. In other words: why weaken a winning formula?
Who is part of this coalition?
The majority of professional associations representing different sectors
of the targeted industry, or more than 50,000 people, are signatories
of this coalition's call to action.
In alphabetical order: the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and
Radio Artists Montreal (ACTRA Montréal), the Association Nationale des
Doubleurs Professionnels (ANDP), the Alliance Québec Animation (AQA),
the Alliance québécoise des techniciens de l'image et du son (AQTIS),
the Association des réalisateurs et réalisatrices du Québec (ARRQ), the
Canadian Association of Film Distributors & Exporters (CAFDE), DOC
Québec, the Guilde des musiciens et musiciennes du Québec (GMMQ), the
Quebec Council of the Directors Guild of Canada (DGC Québec), the
Quebec English-Language Production Council (QEPC), the Regroupement des
producteurs indépendants de cinéma du Québec (RPICQ) , the Société des
auteurs de radio, télévision et cinéma (SARTEC), the Union des artistes
(UDA) and suppliers of production services such as Technicolor. Also
joining them are the majority of visual effects companies and a dozen
of the most important English-language film and television producers.
SOURCE: Coalition for the maintenance of tax credits in production
For further information:
Mélanie Mingotaud / Brigitte Chabot Communications
514 861 7870 extension 222