#SaveBCFilm Keeps Getting The Facts On Film Subsidies Wrong

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60 Responses to #SaveBCFilm Keeps Getting The Facts On Film Subsidies Wrong

  1. vfxscrub says:

    Oh dear.

  2. Marty says:

    who’s this lady? I like her. What’s her name again? Can’t find her online.

  3. jonavark says:

    Above and beyond the actual points this video is trying to make.. if THIS is the best the BC film industry can do they have a lot more problems than they think. I couldn’t watch the 2nd half of it.

  4. John Stantton says:

    Stop quoting Bill Bennett in your “evidence”. It makes you look ridiculous.

    • VFX Soldier says:

      Is there anything particular that you would like to dispute? The sources cited are government sources.

    • The only people looking ridiculous are the film backers in BC who keep making totally false statements. Getting simple facts correct seems totally beyond their reach.

      • John Stantton says:

        Totally false statements? Like the ones that suggest over and over again that tax credits are “subsidies”?

        Yeah, I’m such an asshole.

      • Oh, John Stanton, you are not an asshole. You are adorable. You think that calling free money handed out as cash but (wink wink) called “tax credits” magically means they aren’t a subsidy. The US studios and the MPAA would be so proud of you. Now go clap your hands and maybe a fairy will come back to life! xoxo

      • John Stantton says:

        Tax breaks aren’t government expenditures. You can argue that they represent reduced potential public revenue all you want, and that may or may not be true, but calling them subsidies is being either disingenuous or ignorant. Even though I’d like to believe you just don’t know what you’re talking about, I hardly think that’s true.

        Go ahead and rail against the BC film supporters all you want, but assaulting them for making “totally false statements” when you continually perpetuate the lie that tax credits in this industry are subsidies is hypocritical in the extreme.

        So yeah, maybe you’re right. Maybe I’m not the asshole around here after all.

      • VFX Soldier says:

        “Tax breaks aren’t government expenditures. ”

        In BC’s own budget the film subsidies are under expenditures. Page 126:

        http://www.bcbudget.gov.bc.ca/2012/bfp/2012_Budget_Fiscal_Plan.pdf

      • Ymir says:

        John, you can’t have a ‘tax credit’ that pays back more than taxes collected. At the point it becomes more, it becomes a subsidy. It’s that simple.

      • Hi John. Sorry I got snarky last night. It was late and I was a little cranky. It’s fine if you don’t want to call them a subsidy. But I think it’s a silly waste of time to put energy into debating word choice. IMHO.

      • vfx oldster says:

        I used to think like John that the name “tax credit” could only mean some kind of tax break. Once you go read the government website about how they work, you see that these are not just a tax break, a reduction in taxes. Instead it is a check paid to a production regardless of any taxes owed. The only thing tax-related about it is that any taxes owed are deducted from the check the production receives. (and that the check ultimately comes from tax-payers.)

        I agree that it is silly to debate what words to call them. But naming these thing “tax credits” seems deliberately confusing since people automatically assume tax credit = tax break.

      • deanareeno says:

        Here’s what I think causes so much confusion:

        (1) It’s called a “tax credit”, but in function it’s a “principle labour cost rebate”, and doesn’t actually have anything to do with taxes paid. (It’s badly named, but perhaps the tax system was the most efficient system to implement it with.)

        (2) The studios get more back in the “tax credit” than the government collects in taxes, but the labour spend minus the rebate is still greater than the value of the rebate, and that money goes…somewhere.

        (3) Some seem to think that you can’t call it a “subsidy” if it requires that studios have to generate a labour cost before they can get the rebate, especially if the labour spend minus the rebate is greater than the value of the rebate.

        P.S. I’d also like to mention that I’m not the “Dean” posting comments on the Film Works LA Facebook page, just in case anyone might mistakenly think that.

      • vfx oldster says:

        That’s an excellent clarification, Dean. Perhaps the most politically neutral thing to start calling it is “labor cost rebate” (or “total production cost rebate” in the case of Ontario and Quebec) since it has nothing to do with taxes, and people seem to have varying definitions of “subsidy.”

        Then the discussion can return to the pros and cons of these government rebates.

  5. Dave Rand says:

    I was thinking that Bank of America could take advantage of a new fat USA tax subsidy and lure the entire Canadian finance industry across the border taking all their jobs with them. The Canadian banks and brokerages could be replaced with free standing ATM’s touting a big American Flag and a sign saying

    “Dollars for Loonies”

    After all bankers love Starbucks to.

    • BTW Dave, they still think you are VFX Soldier. Another totally incorrect “fact” from BC. :)

      • Dave Rand says:

        Nope I’m “A’ VFX Soldier…not “THE” VFX soldier….and there are more of us every day…..how do you like them cookies?

        If I were to compare myself to the truly intelligent and heroic voice that is the real VFX Soldier…I’d say I’m more like Jimmy Olsen.. I say “Gee” often and take good pictures.

        I can honestly say I do not even know who VFX Soldier is, but I’m seeing more and more of their spirit reflected in the eyes of my colleagues, I’m seeing the site illuminating their faces,

        and seeing it’s influence spreading out over Metropolis.

  6. The Scarlet Pumpernickel says:

    I want that “Nailed It” as a ring tone now.

    But great job Soldier! Someone beat me to the punch but..Naiiiiled it~!

  7. lol, she used Twilight tourists as an example of something that places get as an advantage.

    • Dave Rand says:

      …you mean it really wasn’t filmed in Washington? Gee, maybe I can unload all these wooden stakes on Ebay

      • VFX Soldier says:

        Rofl… The notion that someone would visit BC where apes was shot over where is was portrayed in San Francisco is dubious.

        One might think people visit BC because of its great skiing and snowboarding…

      • I don’t know….I am dying to see the locations from Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem. I have no doubt there is a movie tour for that one as well. :)

    • louisaphung says:

      Actually, you’d be surprised at how much money fans will spend to go to the locations that certain shows were shot. For example, NY has a Sex in the City tour. When the Supernatural Convention happens here (a two day event at the Sheraton Hotel downtown), amongst other things including fans flying in from all over the world, there is a locations tour set up by the Locations Manager. When Stargate was shooting, tour buses full of fans would stop and stand outside the gates of Bridge Studios in hopes of catching a glimpse of the stars. I’m not a fan of Twilight, but I’ve gone to LA and taken the WB studio tour because I like that I stood in the same stage as Gene Kelly and Billy Crystal. It’s called movie magic for a reason.

  8. Paul says:

    I’ve been removing so many nails this morning…true! I’m ready to hire her for my hardwood floor.

  9. Someone from BC is bashing the video on the Film Works LA facebook page. His response to the girl who countered him is pretty telling: http://www.facebook.com/filmworksla

    • Paul says:

      …pretty telling how?! His main argument is “It’s not cool what these VFX peps are doing and very counter productive to getting film work back to the west coast for all of us.”

      Yeah right and the rain is wet and the sun shines.

      jesus…

      • Not that. Someone made this comment: “Since when is telling the truth and correcting misinformation counterproductive?”

        And Dean’s telling response was: “Have at it if that makes you feel better about yourself.”

        Thanks, Dean, telling the truth and correcting misinformation DOES make many people, myself included, feel better

  10. LMP says:

    The worse enemy in the world is called IGNORANCE!

  11. Steve says:

    Say what you like about these SaveBCFilm guys – at least they’re willing to their names and faces to their cause rather than hide behind an anonymous handle, ready to disappear at anytime should the going get a too tough.

    • VFX Soldier says:

      Yes thank you for bravely pointing that out Steve.

    • Steve Jobs in Hell says:

      Says the guy who chose the random name “Steve” to post. Since you are so concerned about others anonimity on the web, how about posting your full name or a link to your IMDB credits? Didn’t think so. Closet Canadians….

      • Steve says:

        I’m based in the UK and nothing to do with BC. But as this debate gets increasingly pointed, it does seem increasingly ridiculous that one side is cloaked in anonymity.

        One side is putting their name and identity on the line, one side isn’t.

        One side can slink away when this is all over and pretend it was nothing to do with them. One side can’t.

      • VFX Soldier says:

        Again thanks Steve for your bravery.

        To be clear: one side is for the status quo so it’s easy for them to reveal their names.

        While this blog argues against the status quo, we have people like Adrian McDonald and Dave Rand who also reveal their names.

        I chose not to reveal my name because of how effective it is. You can’t make the issue personal, you’re forced to debate me on the facts which seems to favor my argument.

        I’ve invited anyone on the other side to come here and state the facts. Daryl makortoff did just that and it revealed he was woefully wrong.

      • Steve, considering what I have gone through with the MPAA (long story that I won’t fully tell until I retire), Soldier made the wise choice to stay anonymous. Many on “our side” are not anonymous–most of them are. I think the way the admins have been operating on Save BC Film reeks of the shady anonymity that you speak of. Not to mention (again) their overzealous willingness to ban people and delete any dissenting comments.

    • No, Steve, they just block and ban anyone who disagrees with them or who asks questions they don’t like. It’s actually gotten hilarious, especially since the group was created because they were upset about having their own comments deleted. Hypocrites.

      • VFX Soldier says:

        Yes, whether you agree or disagree with this blog I full welcome open discussion regardless of you identity. Hell you can call me names and i let it fly.

        SaveBCFilm has engaged in the same tactics they criticize BC Premier Christy Clark : deleting comments and blocking dissent.

      • Steve says:

        I’m not defending that – it’s a different issue, though.

    • Studio_Spotter says:

      Oh really?
      People in support of 100s of millions being paid to studios are willing to use their real names? Im shocked. The courage that must entail is mind blowing.
      Argue against free money paid to the studios and it becomes a different ball game. That you argue this point at all is telling. You are not addressing the issues. You are relegating your argument to name calling.

  12. Steve Jobs in Hell says:

    Besides its easy to put your name behind whining about getting more free government money. Its a different story when you are trying to change the industry you work in where it is easy to get blacklisted the more noise you make about discrepancies in said industry.

  13. Jocelyn Winters says:

    Interesting how vfxsoldier claims he is not Dave Rand YET.. it was Dave Rand who appeared on CKNW when, earlier that day, vfxsoldier said “I will be on CKNW later today”. And again, when it was over, Wayne Bennett said that Dave Rand was misrepresenting the facts and, shortly after, vfxsoldier said that “Wayne Bennett called me a liar today on CKNW”.

    Seems to me you don’t have a good enough memory to remember which persona you are using when you talk of yourself.

    • El Pumpernikel Escarlet says:

      Hrm. Maybe Jocelyn Winters if VFX Soldier and is trying to misdirect us to keep her alter-ego secret.

      /Tinfoil hat on.

    • Yeah, Jocelyn, his video was on. How dense are the BC film people who keep engaging in these conspiracy theories? Why would Soldier go to all this trouble and then comment on his own blog as “VFX Soldier” and “Dave Rand”.. Hell, doesn’t Dave even have his own blog where he writes about this openly? As for you, “Jocelyn”, is that your real name?? BTW–I don’t care if it is or isn’t.

    • gauta says:

      Is the identity of a publicizing entity really more important than the subject matter it publicizes?

    • Dave Rand says:

      Although I’m truly flattered by your impressions as I’ve nothing but respect for VFX Soldier and the message that person is conveying. I’ve not only never met that person, I’ve sometimes wondered myself who they may be but it’s really not important.

      The message is.

      However, given your flattery I feel bad about giving you any sort of critique on your detective work, except to politely suggest you don’t leave your day job anytime soon for a gumshoe or spook career.

      I’ve only used my real name since 2006 when I became outspoken over the injustices in Montreal….I mean, to the point where if anyone were to be “blacklisted” “hassled” or otherwise fucked with…that would have been me. So why hide now?

      Soldier was promoting a different segment regarding his video edit that came on way before I called in to talk with Pete Mitchel former BC film commissioner as described by the twitter feed.

      But again thanks for the compliment. There’s more of us every day so it will get even more confusing in days to come, but you can probably safely take these photos off the cork board..Dave Rand, Scott Squires, Scott Ross, and Steve Kaplan….and most definitely Caleb who’s opinion is always respected.

  14. wearevfxsoldier says:

  15. Undertaker says:

    Chelah. Yeah, I’d tap that..

  16. louisaphung says:

    So, after all of that, what is the solution? You can bash all you like, because everyone is entitled to their opinion, but please put forth a solution or an alternative, otherwise all this debate is pointless.

  17. vfx oldster says:

    Hi Louisa,
    You may be new to this blog, so if you click on the link on the upper right labeled “End VFX Subsidies,” you will see that one of the solutions advocated by this blog is to legally challenge the film subsidies (or “rebates” if you prefer that term). Rather than just pointlessly debate, people donated real money for this cause. There is no solution that will cause everyone to get everything they want, but the hope is that an end to the subsidy race can at least help stabilize the situation for artists and companies, so they don’t overextend themselves being forced to move or build out in subsidized locations every few months just so that film studios can get that rebate check.
    For VFX that is only part of the solution. Another solution put forth on this blog often is for VFX companies to band together and form a trade association so that united they have some leverage when dealing with the film studios. If they all agreed to certain business practices which could help avoid situations where they have to eat the cost completely when work gets pulled or delayed, they could all stand a better chance of surviving unforeseen events rather than being forced into bankruptcy.
    The third solution put forth a lot is for artists to unionize in order to assure fair labor practices and provide portable health care and retirement benefits. The fear that some express about doing this now is that it will hasten the departure of jobs completely to the subsidized regions so that these unionized workers now have no one to work for. That is why ending the VFX subsidies is so important to many people here. That may have to come first for stability reasons.

    • louisaphung says:

      I agree that VFX artists have the short end of the stick, especially since they are not unionized and protected. Studios definitely take advantage of it. I also agree that continuing to raise tax incentives isn’t the best solution, but I find that attacking the film industry as a whole isn’t productive either. The film industry is not only trying to solve the short term problems (by being competitive with Ontario and other regions), but also the long term (in luring and creating domestic productions here). We’ve created a large industry based on foreign /new dollars (as have New Zealand and other countries)over the last 40 years with the help of the Governement. Is it any wonder that we want to keep it going, and not lose our livelihoods? So, how do we continue bringing productions here if we can’t even compete within our own country? If we get rid of the incentives, then what keeps those new dollars from going elsewhere? It’s a global issue because to the studios, it’s all about the bottom line, and they will shoot where they can find the best resources at the cheapest price. LA and NY have tax credit caps which is why productions go to other places to film in the first place.

  18. Cool, the video is now on youtube:

    Let’s share it just to tick off the save BC film folks!

  19. Charlie, Vancouver says:

    I think you can expect some hostility from a variety of Canadians when your findings quote a controversial 2005 budget report and a seemingly out of touch MLA who is in charge of “Community, Sport and Cultural Development” while also representing his constituents in provincial parliament, then upload a video of an ill-informed actress to make your point that we are “bribing” business owners to invest here. To quote John Kenneth Galbraith “Emphirical evidence and the requisite amount of righteous indignation are available to anyone with the money to pay for them”. Local film producer’s are working with the government to have a provincial department dedicated to the business of the BC arts, such as the one in Ontario, and to lock down what the benefits actually are to investing in this plan.

    What is clear to me is that there is no clarity on what the ultimate economic benefits are to BC and Canadian citizens for their investment in bringing the global film and television business into Canada. I am pushing for that to change.

    I have only just discovered, and perused, Adrian McDonald’s very thorough and compelling book “Down The Rabbit Hole”. Clearly BC is not alone in this idea of investing in, for better or for worse, International English Film and Television production, currently dominated by Hollywood. I do not see how anyone is entitled to the production of English film and television. As you mentioned, the ever expanding 6 US based international studios seem to control the market, including our own: “As The Globe and Mail noted – the United Kingdom and Australia and other English-language countries annually only buy a “smattering” of US television programming. We fill up 65% of our Prime time schedule with US owned and created TV programming. In terms of our movie screens, our filmmakers, including people like Atom Egoyan and David Cronenberg, have difficulty accessing Canadian movie screens. Only 2% of movie screens in Canada are available for Canadian features. This is quite amazing when you remember that English is not the first language of choice for close to 30% of Canadians” (Elizabeth McDonald; Harvard Club NY Speech; June 3 2002)

    While there is a solid group of BC based producers and filmmakers producing great work, a healthy local industry and infrastructure has depended on the investment from global English film and television production, primarily Hollywood. Evidently this establishment has convinced global governments that tax credits/labor rebates/bribes are essential to financing their projects. It seems to be take it or leave it. I feel the initial interest in producing film and TV in BC was the favorable currency exchange rate and time zone, which was later buttressed with tax credits as it was deemed beneficial to the local economy and also trained a generation of filmmakers while building a significant infrastructure As tax credits have become more favorable in other Canadian provinces, Bulgaria, Australia, and the Southern United states, the local skilled workforce is not clear on what should be done. When the market maker’s were asked what to do, the financiers/studios simply suggested more “tax breaks”. This is seemingly a sad race to the bottom, down the rabbit hole, but It is up to the citizens and government to understand if there is any benefit to this at all; this includes BC’s DAVE tax credit that I recognize has become a painful game changer for now but as other lower labor rate nations build their infrastructures, I am assuming much of this work will be moving to there instead, as mentioned in this scary article I am sure you are aware of: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/las-visual-effects-community-fears-421201

    How would you like Canadians who wish to remain employed but are at the mercy of the US market makers, deal with international commercial subsidies/labor rebates?

    NOTE: Canada currently has a $901 million trade deficit, America is our largest partner accounting for %54 of all imports; According to a 2007 study commissioned by the Canadian Embassy in the United States, Canada–U.S. trade supported 7.1 million U.S. jobs with approx $316.5 Billion of imported US goods and services annually. Are all of these goods and services produced “fairly” in the US without any US government “bribes” that would allow Canadian workers to compete? No! We are the mouse next to the elephant. http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2012/12/01/us/government-incentives.html#CA

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