Message from the Chair: Happy Holidays, Looking Forward to 2015
2014 was a busy year with some important issues to navigate along the way; at the same time MPPIA Executive spent the year evaluating the Association’s role as an industry voice and leader, discussing ways we can be more representative at our own table. Equally important, we want to find better means to effectively collaborate with all external partners across industry, government and community. While collaboration has always come relatively easy to us, we know we can be more strategic in these efforts for the mutual benefit of all concerned. This premise will be at the foundation of the short and long term plans we develop in early 2015.
MPPIA highlights in 2014 include: multiple team missions to Los Angeles; participation in a provincial trade mission to India that provided some meaningful insight into this screen production giant; successful completion of a three year international marketing project funded by the Federal Western Economic Diversification that hit all its marks in investment attraction and market development; further development of a multi-sector creative industries communications strategy that will be introduced in 2015.
2014 was not without its challenges and at the top of that list was the new Federal Temporary Foreign Workers policy, an issue that the industry is still trying to negotiate and find some workable solutions with government. This well intentioned policy created some unintended consequences for screen entertainment production, particularly in segments of the the industry where worldwide talent is in short supply such as visual effects and animation production. Ironically, Canadian jobs are lost when a project cannot find a full complement of talent in the jurisdiction and effectively must go elsewhere to do so. The compound negative impact is the drain of Canadian talent following the work to jurisdictions where less restrictive policies are in place. Unfortunately, BC lost some significant projects last year due to the new policy, but stakeholders have made progress working within the policy and proposing adjustments that will help reduce the negative impact of a policy meant to ensure employment for Canadians.
When MPPIA’s Executive Committee meets in January we will develop and articulate our one to three year plan in categories of Association growth and sustainability, and strategic communications and events — for the Association, across the broader screen production community, as well as collaboratively across the creative industries. We look forward to working closely with all our industry, government and community partners in 2015, ensuring that our vision and plans are appropriately aligned to advance all our respective objectives.
I want to thank everyone across all of the communities I’ve mentioned for the support and cooperation over the past year. Reflecting back, I know that it has at times seemed that advancing our objectives is slow work. But we have made meaningful progress understanding priority shifts across screen production and envisioning our role to support these priorities. I would particularly like to thank MPPIA members & staff, the Board of Directors, and especially our Executive Committee who dedicate significant volunteer hours to carry out work that benefits all of us: Cheryl Nex (EP Canada), Crawford Hawkins (DGC-BC), Pete Mitchell (Vancouver Film Studios), Paul Klassen (IATSE 891), Ron Hrynuik (Bridge Studios), Suzanne Thompson (Encore/Deluxe), Liz Shorten (CMPA-BC), George Paterson (Cool Air Rentals), Tracey Wood (AMPTP), Michelle Grady (MPC) and Jim Westwell (Line Consulting). I would like to make special mention of retiring Board members Neal Clarance (Ernst & Young), Marcus Handman (IATSE 669) and Steve Taylor (Western One) all of whom contributed many years of service at the MPPIA Board.
In 2015, we are well positioned to begin executing a renewed vision for BC’s screen production industries and I look forward to the exciting work ahead. I believe that the positive energy we experienced at our MPPIA holiday breakfast last Tuesday will be the same energy that drives our work in the new year. We closed the year on a high note for the community with our $10,000 donation to Dream Big Productions, a vital youth-at-risk program that develops young talent for a career in screen production. In addition to our industry objectives, we will continue to engage with our community partners and fundraising efforts to support worthwhile programs such as this one.
In the meantime, I wish everyone a peaceful holiday season and a prosperous year ahead.
Peter Leitch, Chair
Motion Picture Production Industry Association of British Columbia