Did you know that many of your favourite films are made right here in Langley, by people who live here?
B.C.’s film and TV industry is an incredible economic contributor to our province and a lot of the movie magic happens right here in your community.
People at local studios, like Front Street Pictures, work hard every day to ensure sets are a safe and healthy place to come to work. We always stand by this, even when challenges arise – like they did during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the film and TV industry, more than 50 productions shut down in B.C. in March 2020, sending people home from work with no certainty if or when they’d have a job to come back to.
At Front Street Pictures, we decided that the best thing we could do for our teams and the communities where we operate was to get the cameras rolling again.
We committed ourselves to doing everything in our power to keep people working safely, so our studio put in place some of BC’s first on-site health and safety measures to keep people safe and ensure they could keep working.
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Unfortunately, while our teams were focused on keeping people safe at work, local film and TV studios were hit with a surprise.
The B.C. government thought the height of a pandemic was the best time to introduce new paperwork for studios to apply for the BC Production Services Tax Credit.
This tax credit helps us hire local people to work on our films and helps produce well-paying jobs right here in B.C.
We made sure our teams kept their jobs and got paid. Our productions qualified for the tax credits in every single way possible and they’re now simply telling us – too bad, better luck next year.
The impacts of this decision have been felt deeply across our sector, and in the local communities like Langley where we operate.
Every year, we hire as many British Columbians as cast and crew as possible, and budget accordingly for our projects to go ahead.
READ MORE: Filmmakers flock to Langley, now second only to Vancouver for productions
By denying tax credits, the province is sending a clear message to investors and studios like ours – you can’t count on us to be there for you when it matters the most.
What makes this situation so difficult is that the B.C. government is penalizing studios like ours that acted quickly to protect people.
They admit the new requirement was a mistake and have offered compensation to some studios.
The global heavyweights are getting paid, that’s for sure. But many smaller B.C.-based studios like ours are being left out.
READ MORE: Langley studio announces plans to build new 600,000 sq. ft. production centre
We know there’s a simple solution to this problem – it shouldn’t have even happened in the first place.
Our team at Front Street Pictures is committed to finding a way forward, but we need the government to show support to an industry that worked so hard to protect the British Columbians who bring it all to life.
We’re actively reaching out to the government and sharing our concerns, and we’re encouraging our fellow film sector colleagues to find out more at www.protectlocalbcfilm.ca.
So, the next time you watch a movie and recognize the various Langley streets and buildings we’ve filmed in, remember that Langley workers and films can only thrive when government supports the work it takes to make it happen.
President and producer with Front Street Pictures
P.S. While Front Street Pictures operates across B.C., we have a standing stage facility in the City of Langley, at Lumiere Film Studios, and have been making movies in Langley for 15-plus years, making us a key contributor to the workforce and community.
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Film industryLangleyLetter to the Editor