2018: Paving the way for long term industry growth

April 23, 2018
Posted by: Leslie Wootton

We opened 2018 with a clear set of priorities set in 2017 – so with our new fiscal year just upon us as of April 1, we are already well into our mandate for the year.

Foremost on the radar is our active pursuit of a collaborative, forward thinking industry stewardship model for today’s busy production environment in BC. The first phase of the strategy was developed over the last two years by the Motion Picture Community Initiative (MPCI) to carry out community/municipal relations in appreciation for the increasing demands of our industry on location. The initiative was a success and our message heard.

The greater outcome of the initiative however, is our improved understanding of the ways we can work to offset the pressures of our industry’s growth, particularly in lower mainland municipalities. The ‘new normal’ in production in BC demands new strategies if we expect to be the home of an enduring film and television production sector.

To this end, the MPCI – now an MPPIA task force – is leading an industry stewardship pilot project that is grounded in three pillars of activity: engagement, advocacy and education. Working closely with our partners in Labour, the CMPA, the MPA-Canada and the Provincial Film Commission at Creative BC, a phased strategy working with stakeholders from all levels of production is underway.

Especially important to this strategy is a meaningful collaboration with our LA-based studio clients, BC’s own production companies and our newly established relationship with the Locations Manager International Guild (LMGI). MPPIA recently joined the latter to ensure that we have insight, are aligned with, and helping to influence locations best practices around the world.

We have already earned a respectable measure of success in this regard. Recent recognition by the LMGI of veteran BC location manager Rino Pace on April 7th in Los Angeles is a case in point. Rino’s exemplary professional conduct, acknowledged with an LMGI Lifetime Achievement Award is aspirational for the many new crew members joining our industry ranks in these busy times ‘ congratulations Rino.

The MPCI pilot project ties directly into our ongoing work with government partners at every level. Our aim is to move beyond issues management to set a new standard for productive collaboration that leads to issues prevention. Our recent ’roundtable’ with Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, his City of Vancouver Operations team and Senior Manager of Film & Events Sandi Swanigan is a great example of this — planning together for the future of our sector instead of trouble shooting growing pains as we go. With wide open channels of communication between all partners in production, we’ll be in a position to establish the best possible returns on our collective investments.

We also continue to pave the way for our work by continuing to tell our story — the story of the motion production sector’s economic impact, our social and environmental leadership, and how we help to shape and grow British Columbia’s creative economy. The provincial government provides us with an excellent storytelling platform, Creative Industries Week in BC, being proclaimed this year from April 23rd to April 30th. BC’s creative sectors gather around the common message that ‘BC Creates’, and we look forward to our showcase events taking place in Victoria April 25th and 26th.

Last but not least, on the MPPIA home front we have been been doing some important housekeeping to ensure the Association is aligned with the new Societies Act of British Columbia. This modernization of provincial policy has necessitated a closer look at MPPIA’s organizational structure, our compliance to the Act and the practicalities of our operation as a member driven, non-profit society. Thanks to the diligent stewardship of MPPIA Executive Secretary George Paterson (Cool Air Rentals) we are set to propose new Association by-laws and a streamlined operating model to members that better serve the organization and reduce risk to members.

As our Governance review has unfolded, we have simultaneously been exploring a new Association membership category for visual effects and animation sector stakeholders who straddle the interests of two industry associations — MPPIA and DigiBC. Thanks to Michelle Grady (Sony Imageworks) and her work brokering a dual membership model that marries the cross sector interests of MPPIA and DigiBC stakeholders, we are in a good position to grow our membership in this sub-sector, and add value and clout to both industry associations.

Once again, the important work of the Association is carried out by a small number of industry professionals who invest a great deal of time – much of it outside of regular business hours — to ensure BC’s success in motion picture production. In honour of National Volunteer Week (April 15-21), I’d like to thank all MPPIA volunteers for their dedicated service. We could not carry out our mission without you.

Peter Leitch, Chair