2021: The Reset for “Business As Usual”
Just into the fourth quarter of 2021, it’s clear that the pandemic recovery and return to ‘business as usual’ is a longer road than we might have expected. COVID-19 vaccines introduced early this year generated some expectation that our work and lives would soon be back to pre-pandemic ‘normal’. While our exhaustively planned return to work last year was successful for BC’s production sector, it was just the beginning of a number of resets that have tempered the rush to work as we did before the pandemic hit in 2020.
As an Industry Association, we aspire to act on the values and priorities of our peers, partners and audiences. Throughout the past 18 months, together we’ve experienced eye-opening, transformative social, cultural and economic events like never before; with it, came renewed and heightened expectations to deliver on our promised vision for a diverse, equitable, safe and sustainable motion picture production industry in BC.
If we had plateaued or made intermittent progress in recent years, then 2020-21 presented a vital opportunity to re-examine and reignite our efforts on multiple fronts. In close collaboration with Creative BC, MPPIA stepped up every committee and working group over the past year to develop and implement changes aimed at measurably accelerating our objectives. Key areas of focus — environmental sustainability, workforce development, equity, diversity and inclusion, and community engagement — have each progressed with renewed strategies designed to yield both near and long term results.
Most important among these are our sustainability plans, both in terms of industry environmental practices as well as workforce development driven by objectives for balanced and equitable representation. In both cases, we’ve made real progress this past year: Industry-funded environmental sustainability initiative, Reel Green™ has transitioned to the umbrella of the Provincial Film Commission at Creative BC, guided and supported by our Industry Advisory Group. Recently appointed Reel Green™ Ambassador Smiely Khurana, has already inspired the movement, bringing the consistent oversight, engagement and momentum we need to keep building in the right direction.
Workforce development plans are also in play across a number of industry fronts, and we’re most excited about the full rollout of Creative Pathways this fall, also a public-private partnership under the Provincial Film Commission at Creative BC. This project marries workforce development with industry priorities for equity, diversity, and inclusion, and we expect it will broadly influence industry workforce development outside of its own purview. With newly appointed Creative Pathways Lead Kat Yee, the program is made possible by the B.C. government’s $400,000 investment through Sector Labour Market Partnerships and a $100,000 seed contribution from WarnerMedia Access Canada.
None of this could have been accomplished without the leadership and participation of Creative BC and its dedicated Provincial Film Commission. It has been gratifying to see the Film Commission team expand to directly reflect and connect to key industry mobilizations and priorities noted here. As a non-profit industry association, MPPIA’s ability to deliver its mandate relies heavily on our symbiotic public-private collaboration, and we are very grateful for the shared vision and goals.
As well, the MPPIA Board, who together represent every sector of the production industry and volunteer extensive time to guide our work, have had some extra heavy lifting to do over the past 18 months. First and foremost I want to thank our 2021-22 Board for committing to our work going forward. Together, in addition to our collective industry priorities and objectives, we have embarked upon organizational succession and representation planning for the Association itself. I look forward to reporting on this in the near future.
In the meantime, on behalf of the MPPIA Board, I’d like to share our message of gratitude — for the hard work and collaboration that continue to make the BC production industry a success in some of these most challenging times.
Peter Leitch, Chair