Nova Scotia

N.S. government offering extra incentives to lure film, TV projects out of Halifax

The Nova Scotia government is trying to lure film and TV productions out of Halifax with bigger bonuses, but production teams will have to spend at least half their shooting schedules outside the capital city to qualify.

Film and TV companies are already eligible for a two per cent bonus on eligible costs for shoots at least 30 kilometres from Halifax City Hall, but now productions taking place at least 100 kilometres away could earn seven per cent on top of the two per cent incentive.

Productions even farther away — at least 150 kilometres from city hall — will be eligible for a 10 per cent bonus in addition to the two per cent incentive under the province’s Distance Location Incentive. 

“The new incentive will encourage more film production in rural areas of Nova Scotia,” Premier Tim Houston said in a news release Tuesday. “It means more hotel rooms being booked, more restaurants being filled, more local stores being visited.”

The release said the incentive, which is backdated to April 1, is designed to compensate film and TV companies for the logistical challenges and “significant cost burdens” associated with filming in rural areas.

‘So much opportunity’ for rural N.S.

The executive director of Screen Nova Scotia, the association that speaks for the industry in the province, said the incentive is expected to make a difference to producers.

“Now they’re going to be able to make a decision to go film in rural communities in Nova Scotia that they would never have considered because of the added cost,” said Laura Mackenzie.

“It absolutely removes that from the conversation, which provides so much opportunity to rural communities in Nova Scotia to attract production.”

A behind-the-scenes look at the making of The Lighthouse. The black-and-white film was shot in the Yarmouth, N.S., area. (Submitted by Christopher Ball)

Mackenzie said when The Lighthouse filmed in the Yarmouth area in 2018, businesses in the town benefited greatly. The psychological thriller/horror film, starring Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson, was filmed largely in Cape Forchu.

“Yarmouth was so excited about that production because it filled up all of their hotels and their restaurants in the off-season,” said Mackenzie. “It was like $300,000 in hotel rooms … between February and April.”

“That’s the kind of impact that this could potentially have on some of those communities that are very, very sleepy in the off-season, if they even have a season,” she added.

Figures supplied by the Department of Communities, Culture, Heritage and Tourism show just over half the productions shot in the province in the past five years – 172 of 333 — have been eligible for the distance incentive. They received a total of a $5.7 million for shooting at least 30 kilometres from Halifax City Hall.

See also  Art Gallery of Nova Scotia will not reopen Yarmouth location

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