The province’s $6-million plan to help the entertainment industry has met with approval from those in the local arts scene.
“It’s good news to us,” said Western Canada Theatre executive director Lori Marchand.
The B.C. Creative Futures program includes an effort to foster new talent, a strategy to identify new opportunities for the industry and support for the new Emily Carr Art School building in Vancouver.
Cultural Development Minister Bill Bennett said at an announcement in Vancouver the plan will provide the foundation for the continued growth of the film, TV, digital media, music and publishing industries in B.C.
Marchand said the $6.25-million package of new and expanded existing programs will make a difference to WCT.
She said the current legacy funding offered through the B.C. Arts Council is scheduled to end with the fiscal year. Thursday’s announcement suggests the money will be present in different form.
“Our organization’s concern was how will that money be replaced,” said Marchand.
Kamloops Symphony Orchestra general manager Kathy Humphreys would like to hear more details on how the money will be divvied out.
That said, there are initiatives that will benefit everyone in B.C.’s arts community, she added.
“There are some ideas here that sound great,” she said, adding the $2-million creative youth plan and $1-million for co-op placement are of particular interest.
A man in the audience at Bennett’s announcement who works in the film industry said the strategy won’t be enough to save 25,000 jobs that are being lost to eastern provinces such as Ontario, where better tax credits are offered.
And NDP critic Spencer Chandra-Herbert said the government claims it’s solving the problems in the film sector with the same budget it had in 2008.
But he admits the New Democrats still haven’t formed their own TV and film strategy, saying the party is working on the issue.
Creative Futures will benefit the film industry, said Thompson-Nicola Film Commission head Vicci Weller. As she understands it, the program will provide marketing opportunities for film and TV. Weller said that’s a positive step.