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 productions.
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