Is Ontario Next To Fall Over Film Subsidy Cliff?

ontario

Last week I posted about Quebec winding down it’s film and games subsidy program by instantly cutting it by 20%. This week report Will Campbell uncovers an internal Ontario document that seriously questioned the sustainability of offering film subsidies and it seems to repeat what this blog has said for a long time:

The document states the subsidies may be a “zero-sum game or simply a race to the bottom” as Ontario and other jurisdictions outdo themselves to offer juicier tax credits while the total number of film and TV productions remains static.

You can view the original document here. Film Incentives 101 has more info on the number.

Some of the juicy parts:  Almost 70% of foreign films (mostly US based) and 60% of VFX companies who received subsidies that pay 60% of labor and 25% on non labor costs paid ZERO taxes.

Soldier On.

 

 

38 Responses to Is Ontario Next To Fall Over Film Subsidy Cliff?

  1. minoton says:

    I am shocked! Shocked, that gambling with the people’s money has been going on in this province!

  2. Don't Pick On The Little Guy says:

    I work as an animator in Ontario and I can tell you first hand that there isn’t much game in this town. 2 or 3 boutique vfx shops who have bits of work on various films, and 2 main larger animation studios, one of whom creates it’s own I.P.s and one who goes through frequent dry spells. Other than that, there’s a number of tv animation studios. Vancouver and Montreal get all the work. Ontario is just coasting along, so leave us alone please. I’d like to be able to continue working here and be near my family.

    • Peter Greenaway says:

      ” I’d like to be able to continue working here and be near my family.” same thing in LA my friend. We all would love to stay where we are, but thanks to companies welfare, we have to travel a lot.

      • Don't Pick On The Little Guy says:

        The difference is that I currently have the ability to stay close to family already. You can work on getting yourself into the same situation, without having to also rob me of that luxury. The amount of work in Ontario is virtually nothing compared to the amount of work in LA even when LA is drying up. I know this because I’ve worked in both places. You guys don’t have to try to scoop up every single grain of sand for yourselves.

    • chexmix says:

      @little guy

      I would have loved to have stayed in my home country and be with my family….

      …..but i had to move to your country to take your jobs …..because of the subsidies your country made for jobs your country can’t fill….for an industry your country bought its way into.

      I suggest you deal with it……….like all the other US and UK
      X-patriots who have been dealing migrant VFX work.

      Welcome to the party……

      • Don't Pick On The Little Guy says:

        @chexmix

        LOL my country has been pumping out half of the animation talent that your country has been swallowing up for decades. Now some of those folks have a chance to work in their own country. All I’m asking for is to leave our little piece of the industry alone. Even with LA falling on hard times, there’s still more work there than Ontario has at our busiest times. There aren’t that many Americans working at the studio I’m currently employed at. That’s generally true at most studios in Toronto and Ontario at large.

        I’d also like to say that that your sob story about having to leave your country is falling on deaf ears here. I’ve done my time working at the big studios in Los Angeles too, and had a fun time doing it. Now I’m back home and I plan to stick around here for the foreseable future. So don’t talk to me like I’m ignorant to what’s going on here. I’ve done the migratory thing and I’m sorry that you’re still doing it. Yes B.C. has taken all the work, but Ontario hasn’t. So leave us out of this. We’re not the problem.

      • studio_spotter says:

        “I’d also like to say that that your sob story about having to leave your country is falling on deaf ears here.”

        So why should yours fall on open ears? I don’t want to leave my country either. As he/she said, “welcome to the party”

    • Don't Pick On The Little Guy says:

      I used to be a big supporter of what this blog presented as it’s cause. The facade of trying to “unify” vfx workers to bring us all up to a higher standard of living kind of disappeared as soon as you started pointing fingers and saying “OMG YOU GUYS, LOOK OVER HERE YOU GUYS!!! THIS LITTLE TOWN HAS SOMETHING THAT THE REST OF US DON’T!!! YOU GUYS WE HAVE TO STOP THEM BEFORE THEY TAKE ALL OF THE JOBS!!!”

      Ontario doesn’t have much to offer to Hollywood as it is already. There’s very little work here. Now you’re just squishing an ant under your boot, while Vancouver, London, and New Zealand stand by and laugh.

      • VFX Soldier says:

        I disagree. The report I cited shows the very government that is paying 60% of your salary and 25% of non labor costs to US productions that pay 0 taxes doubts that is sustainable.

        It’s sad this comment made it’s way on here at this time. Last week an artist at Prime Focus London criticized me for almost the same reasons. This week he’s backtracked on the criticism: PFL will be closing the office because of larger subsidies in Canada.

        Perhaps you’re right. We should all tell reality to stop bothering you.

      • polyphemus says:

        I’m speaking as a Canadian ex-pat in California.

        Ontario is definately an issue because you have a provincial election in the immediate future where you got the Liberals and PC’s neck and neck in polls and one side thinking of doing the political thing and buy the vote by appealing to to a segment with handouts. Case in point, Ontario Liberals thinking of boosting subsidies even though members of the party are internally arguing its a waste of money.

        The only reason the subsides have gone so high for film production is that the average Canadian taxpayer have no idea its occuring… ask any citizen if a business should have the bulk of its labor costs paid for by the taxpayer and the answer is largely no, regardless of industry. I guess the “tax credit” term has everyone fooled.

        Toronto left a bad taste in my mouth 2 decades ago.. especialy the small tv kids shows studios run by small people who are pulling the same shit with labor today as they did back then. You are right, Toronto isn’t a big threat but if they boost the subsides rates to higher than what Quebec has after the cuts, its just moving the problem.

      • SPInsider says:

        I get it dude, you’re scared of the same things we’re all scared of. But we’ve collectively got to stop supporting this notion that our governments need to provide welfare to our employers, and start trying to create sustainable businesses in the places we want to live. I have a feeling that if California decided to up their corporate welfare to match Canada’s (thus having the same effect of eliminating them altogether) then you’d be upset about that too.

        Stop blaming @VFXSoldier that your fellow citizens are realizing that their money is going to Hollywood welfare. If you truly believe in the quality of Canadian artists, then fight for your independence from subsidies and Hollywood studios and do something awesome.

      • SPInsider says:

        Oh and when I said “I get you’re scared of the same things we’re all scared of”… I forgot to add that I ALSO get that you are filled with vitriol and have ZERO sympathy or compassion for anyone but yourself.

      • Jackadullboy says:

        Gah! It was all going so well…

      • Don't Pick On The Little Guy says:

        @SPInsider
        “Oh and when I said “I get you’re scared of the same things we’re all scared of”… I forgot to add that I ALSO get that you are filled with vitriol and have ZERO sympathy or compassion for anyone but yourself.”

        LOL what a load of horseshit. I have friends all over the globe who I have sympathy for. However, I don’t have sympathy for anybody who wants to bring ALL of the work to California. Yes there are huge problems with the amounts of subsidies that are going on. But this blog wants to do away with them completely, which is never going to happen, and would be very detrimental to a lot of people. If you think a few boutique studios in Toronto are a threat to your job on the west coast, you are dillusional. Ontario has traditionally never attracted the big name VFX studios, whether there were subsidies or not. Our industry is more closely tied to the nearby advertizing world of New York than to the Hollywood system.

        This blog is so U.S.-centric it drives me crazy. Everything is about whether money is funnelling back to the U.S.

        I’m currently working on a production that has nothing to do with any U.S. studios. I have many friends who just finished working on a Japanese-Canadian co-production. There’s a whole world of people working together and I think Ontario wants to create relations with other economies, rather than become completely tied to the shit-fest which the U.S. economy has become. Especially California’s economy.

        @VFXSoldier “It’s sad this comment made it’s way on here at this time.”

        In other words, it’s sad that someone might want to voice an opinion contrary to yours.

      • minoton says:

        “However, I don’t have sympathy for anybody who wants to bring ALL of the work to California.”

        As long as I’ve been reading this blog, I can’t recall anyone stating “bring all the work back to California.” What I have read is “Let’s level the playing field.” Subsidies tilt the playing field.

        “But this blog wants to do away with them completely, which is never going to happen, and would be very detrimental to a lot of people. ”

        The presence of subsidies have been very detrimental to a lot of people. Doing away with them will level the playing field, allowing everyone to compete on their own merits, not how much their government is willing waste of their taxpayers’ money on a small portion of their economic workforce.

        “Ontario has traditionally never attracted the big name VFX studios, whether there were subsidies or not. Our industry is more closely tied to the nearby advertizing world of New York than to the Hollywood system.”

        Then the removal of subsidies to Hollywood studios really wouldn’t affect your job then, right? So what are you worried about?

        “This blog is so U.S.-centric it drives me crazy. Everything is about whether money is funnelling back to the U.S.”

        Because that’s where foreign governments are funneling it. It’s the non-U.S. countries that are making the issue U.S.-centric, because you fear that without subsidies, you won’t be able to compete for work based on the merits of your work, which is complete horseshit. Remove subsidies and let the work gravitate to the best supplier.

        “There’s a whole world of people working together and I think Ontario wants to create relations with other economies, rather than become completely tied to the shit-fest which the U.S. economy has become. Especially California’s economy.”

        Then a CVD neutralizing foreign subsidies will help make this happen. Sounds like a win-win for you and us.

        You know, there were a bunch of Jamaicans that decided that they wanted to compete in the Winter Olympics as a bobsled team. Silly, right? What did they do to train in a tropical country like that? Did they demand their government build them an artificial environment, wasting water and ice melting away so that just a few people might benefit from their dreams? No, they go to where the ice is. I know you’re worried that without subsidies all the work will return to where it was rented from, and there’s some logic behind fear. But one has to wonder, when Lucas moved ILM up to the bay area in 1980, other than his and Spielberg’s films, why didn’t all the work stay in L.A.? Be cause it went to where the talent was, not because the bay area offered the studios any subsidies. That’s what we hope will happen again — contracts awarded based on the merits of the suppliers, not their governments outbidding each other with subsidies that only benefit the corporate owned studio fat cats.

      • Andreas jablonka says:

        Cool runnings!!!🙂

      • minoton says:

        @ Don’t Pick On The Little Guy, when you apply for a job, you know you are competing against other applicants for that job. Other artists. Maybe you know them, maybe you don’t. But you know you’re not the only applicant for that position. What do you do to get the job? Show your resume, your reel, other qualities of why you are the best applicant for that job? Or does mom tell the boss she’ll refund 60% of your paycheck if they’ll just keep you employed?

      • SPInsider says:

        @Don’t Pick On The Little Guy:

        Ugh, of course you respond to that and not to that comment and not the more constructive one.

        That was my bad. Sorry guys. It’s just so hard not to be frustrated with these subsidy cheerleaders who come on here and get all bent out of shape about fair-play, tell everyone else they should stop whining, and accuse us of things that have never been advocated by this blog or any of its readers.

  3. Boe Jangles says:

    Why not do things the American way – and bomb your way out of the problem further spreading the love and sympathy for your plight?

  4. vfxmafia says:

    To Quebec

    3-0 L-O-S-A-N-G-L-E-S K-I-N-G-S-!

    beatches…..

  5. Andreas jablonka says:

    I’m not sure how often we have to repeat that this blog is not about all work coming back to the us, it’s about work going where it should go INDEPENDENT of money/bribes/subsidies.

    • Drinking From The Gravy Train mmmmmm So Good... says:

      You can say that until you’re blue in the face, but the world is not black and white. It’s no secret that the general concensus among this blog’s support base is that where the work should go independent of subsidies is straight to Los Angeles. What would be the reaction if all the subsidies disappeared, and it still turned out that Vancouver and Montreal are the best places to do business? I don’t think VFX Soldier would be satisfied with that outcome.

      There are huge areas of the world where the local industries have collapsed, not just in our industry but in just about any field. Subsidies exist for legitimate reasons. When your population is in crisis, the government needs to help get them back on their feet. Take Newfoundland as an example. Since the cod industry has completely imploded, nobody has any prospects there except to go work in the tar sands of Alberta. If the government can do something to entice a new industry to set up shop there, it would save an entire local culture from disappearing. Now let’s suppose that the government uses subsidies to entice some film work to set up there, and some vfx studios. Maybe those studios find it to be a good opportunity for shooting live action because of the fantastic natural environment, and maybe the vfx shops find it easy to do business with the UK studios because the time difference isn’t as bad as between the UK and LA. Not a bad scenario, built by government subsidies.

      • minoton says:

        That would be perfectly fine if the local government were developing it’s own industry . . . instead of relocating one from another WTO country that it has a signed a fair trade agreement with. As has been said here before, there is no problem with BC building it’s own film industry with it’s own studios making BC funded movies. Same with the UK. But these areas seem unwilling to do that. Are they afraid that they might fail if they try to go it alone? Do they fear that they don’t have the resources or material to succeed without the help of the American studios?

      • Andreas jablonka says:

        And you can keep repeating the same assumptions and guesses! You interpreted wrong as people here keep telling you. But stay in your little nutshell. Some people just want to be ignorant even when they are shown hier assumptions are unwarranted.

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