Update From the Chair: The Industry is the Message
Since the last update from MPPIA’s Executive in December 2012, BC’s motion picture production community has mobilized in unprecedented numbers to communicate to government stakeholders the challenges facing our industry at the present time.
In December, MPPIA announced a forthcoming communications plan that would raise the profile of BC’s production industry, originally set to be rolled out in late January under the banner We Create BC. In the interim, a grassroots movement of concerned industry professionals convened through social media, galvanizing their energy and commitment to “Save BC Film”. This movement grew very quickly in numbers and in resolve to be heard, putting the production industry’s issues firmly into the media spotlight in early 2013.
To support the Save BC Film movement, MPPIA moved up its plans to launch We Create BC and collaborated with the Save BC Film movement on communications across industry, government and public stakeholder groups. An industry ‘town hall’ meeting was convened and more than 4,000 people from the production community gathered to discuss the challenges and how we might collectively work to overcome them.
In 2009, when Ontario and Quebec implemented aggressive ‘all spend’ tax incentives for production, it triggered a slow erosion of foreign business in British Columbia. Since then, the industry infrastructure and talent pool here in BC has begun to erode along with it. It’s taken some time for the full impact to be felt but the predictable loss of market share has materialized and is building.
This is a message that MPPIA has been bringing to government stakeholders for some time now and we are continuing to meet with decision makers — to convey to government the significant risk the industry faces, but also the true value and future potential of the industry through direct production spending, burgeoning new technology driven opportunities and the multitude of economic spin offs.
The Save BC Film movement, driven by a few determined people and the power of social media,has accomplished in recent weeks what we as an industry association could not have done — it has identified the thousands of people, families, and businesses small and large, that depend on the production industry for their livelihoods. Hundreds of people have taken up the message and are bringing it to their provincial MLAs, Ministers and new candidates across the lower mainland.
The message to government is a positive one: work with us on a strategy to be more competitive so we can continue to excel in this business. We have been at it for more than 30 years in British Columbia and we do it very well. It’s knowledge and technology driven, it’s easy on the environment, and brings great returns to the province — economic, social and cultural. BC’s economic mix can continue to diversify with the help of industries like ours.
MPPIA commissioned a public opinion poll conducted by the Mustel Group in January of this year and it is clear that the majority in British Columbia agrees with us. The poll results were resounding – demonstrating that BC residents value the industry we have built here and would like it to flourish for future generations.
Our sitting government has recently established a new umbrella organization for BC’s creative industries in the new agency Creative BC. This is a positive step towards what we hope will become a strong private-public strategy to get BC back on top of its game.
Running up to the provincial election in May we have a great opportunity to communicate with all of our political candidates — to ensure our elected leaders understand the nature of this business and the incredible potential it holds for the province if we position ourselves strategically in the marketplace.
That is our job in the coming months. MPPIA will continue its work with all stakeholders,while Save BC Film is working alongside us in bringing the industry’s message across BC. MPPIA’s We Create BC communications campaign is also under way, serving as a hub for positive action and for telling the story of the production community in BC.
We want to encourage everyone to keep up the great work and would also like to particularly acknowledge the founding members of Save BC Film — David Markowitz, Sandra Montgomery and Wayne Bennett for their exceptional efforts. With the help of this industry’s dedicated ‘film family’ of volunteers, they have accomplished a great deal in recent weeks, spending many hours keeping the production industry on the public radar.
We look forward to working together on a strong future for the production industry in BC. Stay tuned to the social media and websites of MPPIA, Save BC Film and We Create BC. We will keep you informed of new initiatives and developments going forward.
Peter Leitch, Chair
Motion Picture Production Industry Association of BC
www.wecreatebc.com (coming soon)