"Crash" the movie, or a Crashed Film and Television Production Industry? - Producers say federal tax credits must be about content, not conservative politics

    TORONTO, March 2 /CNW Telbec/ - Would they have made "the cut"? The
"censorship cut" and federal tax credit "cut" that is. Award-winning Canadian
productions like Crash, Exotica, Borderline and The Boys of St. Vincent are
edgy, innovative, and celebrated in Canada and around the world. They wouldn't
have been made unless they had been eligible for federal tax credits and in
the current political climate, their controversial subject matter might mean
they might not be made at all if special interest groups have their way.
Canada's film and television producers say that future productions like this
are now at risk.
    An omnibus income tax bill before the Senate of Canada contains a
provision that could dramatically affect the financial viability of film and
television production in Canada, and the ability of Canadian productions to
compete with Hollywood. Bill C-10 (An Act to amend the Income Tax Act)
includes language that permits the Minister of Canadian Heritage to establish
as yet undefined post-production guidelines that determine if a film is
"contrary to public policy", thereby denying federal tax credits that are
vital to the financing of productions.
    "Producers are shocked by what they perceive to be a political agenda
masquerading as public policy. If we must seek consensus on "taste", nothing
will get made. There are already layers of safeguards in place to protect the
public and producers in Canada already abide by strict guidelines and
acceptable content boundaries throughout the funding process", said Sandra
Cunningham, Chair of the Board of the Canadian Film and Television Production
Association (CFTPA). "Every production that receives funding is already
subject to a provincial screening as well as other measures, including
broadcaster rules and codes, rating systems, Canadian Broadcast Standards
Council and the Criminal Code. There are already guidelines in place that
aren't politically motivated, and producers are following them".
    Canadian film and television productions are financed in many cases
through bank loans that are contingent on federal tax credits that are only
granted once a production is complete. By increasing the subjectivity of
production eligibility, and de facto after-the-fact censorship, the entire
financial viability of many projects are at risk.
    "Banks won't loan money if it's a crap shoot on federal tax credit
approval criteria, and without loans, movies and TV shows won't get made. It's
not sustainable and will devastate the Canadian industry. Producers must have
input into measures that will impact the viability of our industry and we look
forward to open and transparent consultations with the Department of Canadian
Heritage that begin Monday, March 3rd ", Cunningham added.
    Canada's film and television producers will begin consultations with the
Department of Canadian Heritage to ensure that the industry's position is
clearly heard.
    The CFTPA and the APFTQ want to ensure that an open and transparent
dialogue between the industry and the Department of Canadian Heritage takes
place and that the outcomes are not politically driven by conservative special
interest groups. These discussions will reinforce the need for certainty for
Canadian producers, the successful continuation of Canada's internationally
acclaimed production industry and demonstrate that there are already measures
in place to safeguard against truly inappropriate content.
    The CFTPA and the APFTQ were also pleased to note that on Friday, Feb 29,
the Senate of Canada delayed Third Reading of Bill C-10 in response to broad
industry pressure.

    The Canadian Film and Television Production Association (CFTPA) is a
non-profit trade organization that works on behalf of almost 400 companies
engaged in the production and distribution of English-language television
programs, feature films, and interactive media products in all regions of
Canada. More specifically, the CFTPA promotes the general interests of members
provincially, federally, and internationally; negotiates and manages labour
agreements with guilds and unions; administers copyright collectives; trains
new industry entrants through 7 national internship programs; and undertakes a
number of other specific initiatives that help increase awareness and enhance
communication within the Canadian and international production communities.

    The Association des producteurs de films et de television du Quebec
(APFTQ) represents more than 130 independent film and television production
companies in Quebec. These corporations are specialized in feature film,
advertising film and any genre of TV production (animation, drama,
documentary, variety). The Association negotiates all collective agreements
with artist and technicians' associations and acts on behalf of its members
with government and industry organizations. www.apftq.qc.ca

For further information:

For further information: Susan Smith, Bluesky Strategy Group, (613)
371-0624, susan@blueskystrategygroup.com

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