Time to collaborate on a creative industries strategy in BC: Together ‘We Create BC’

September 30, 2013
Posted by: Leslie Wootton

Motion picture production in BC is on a roll this fall — on the heels of one of the most challenging first quarters the industry has seen in years. Perhaps one of the greatest challenges that BC’s motion picture industry faces is our mixed message: Are we thriving or stalling? Growing or declining? Is BC’s motion picture production industry at risk of disappearing or are we destined to be a major creative industries contender in the global marketplace?

All indications — most recently, a study released by the MPA Canada and the CMPA this summer– point to the latter: that British Columbia is poised to take advantage of the ‘third wave’ of development in the screen based industries if we play our cards right. Screen based content creators are in the enviable position of producing for multiple platforms and distribution channels that are proliferating. We have a deep talent pool in BC, a well oiled machinery in physical production, extensive capabilities in VFX, animation and post production — and the list goes on. Of course the technology driving all of this new opportunity is also creating change in the traditional economic models and cycles of our industry — which naturally leads to uncertainty in some industry sub-sectors.

Ultimately, at the foundation of BC’s creative economic mix is the combination of talent, quality, experience and adaptability that has helped screen based production to continue . to flourish in spite of competitive conditions that are sometimes daunting. We have what it takes to keep growing BC’s creative economy if we work together on the big picture to build on our successes.

It is the position of MPPIA that all sectors contributing to BC’s creative economy have a great story to tell — whether it is of artistic achievement, economic impact, education & innovation, community involvement — in BC we have constructed a sophisticated, knowledge+talent driven economic engine. Working together we have an opportunity to connect all the dots for a greater understanding of our collective accomplishments and an informed, collaborative strategy for future success.

This is the thinking at the foundation of the industry’s communications vehicle We Create BC. Launched in social media and on the web earlier this year, the We Create BC industry steering committee (MPPIA, CMPA, VEC, Creative BC, DGCBC) aims to reboot the unified communications effort this fall and ramp up the celebration of BC’s creative industries.

With support from advocates and champions from across the province, We Create BC will launch during the Vancouver International Film Festival’s Film & TV Forum Industry Hour on Oct. 3. Industry, government and community partners will gather at the event to kick off a renewed effort to celebrate BC’s creative industries; thereafter, We Create BC will work to report the story of BC’s creative industries, celebrate the achievements and construct an aggregate industry ‘brand’ worthy of the decades of investment, talent and hard work that’s behind and ahead of it.

2013 has revealed a dichotomy of industry conditions in BC that demonstrates both the strengths and weaknesses of our screen based production industry. But the reasons to celebrate — the multitude of benefits of a thriving creative economy — far exceed the competitive issues that are ours to manage.

In the production industry alone the highlights are many and notable: the instant success of BC’sMotive in Canada and US markets; multiple daytime Emmy Awards for local contributions to The Haunting Hour; the August release of Hollywood blockbuster Elysium, made from end to end with BC talent; no less than 5 made in BC series premiering on network/cable television in October (Supernatural CW Oct 8- 9pm, Once Upon a time ABC Sept 29- 8pm, Once Upon a time in Wonderland ABC Oct 10- 8pm, Arrow CW Oct 9- 8pm, . Almost Human FOX Nov 4- 8pm, Tomorrow People CW Oct 9- 9pm, Witches of East End Lifetime Oct 6) — and this captures only a small sampling.

Let’s get together and celebrate the province’s creative industries in public — all British Columbians have a stake in it and can share in our accomplishments.

Peter Leitch, Chair, MPPIA