B.C. targets Bollywood, digital media

Premier Christy Clark announces $11 million investment to host Times of India Film Awards in Vancouver Tuesday. The awards show will take place in April. - B.C. government photo
Premier Christy Clark announces $11 million investment to host Times of India Film Awards in Vancouver Tuesday. The awards show will take place in April.
— image credit: B.C. government photo

A $113 million pledge to create a world-class campus for Emily Carr University of Art + Design will help B.C. remain competitive in the fast-changing digital media industry, says B.C.'s minister in charge of arts and culture.

Community, Sport and Cultural Development Minister Bill Bennett joined Premier Christy Clark at a warehouse district in East Vancouver Wednesday to announce the new home for Emily Carr, to be completed by 2016.

The site is already home to a master's program in digital media co-sponsored by Emily Carr, B.C. Institute of Technology Simon Fraser University and the University of B.C.

Bennett said he met with representatives of the 4,000 movie and TV people who staged a rally Tuesday to call for more tax breaks for the B.C. industry. Bennett and Clark have ruled out further tax credits to match more generous programs in Ontario and Quebec.

Bennett acknowledged that B.C. has lost some major movie projects to other Canadian and U.S. locations, but he said B.C. already provides generous tax breaks and Vancouver's reputation for technical work remains strong.

"When those films are shot, guess where they come for post-production work? They come back here," Bennett said. "And it's graduates from this school, and future graduates who will do that kind of work."

Clark touted her announcement Tuesday that B.C. is putting up $11 million to host the Times of India Film Awards in Vancouver in April. Work is continuing to attract film production from India, whose industry is known as Bollywood and produces hundreds of movies a year.

"That's real work," Clark told reporters at the Emily Carr announcement. "It's not going down to the land of make-believe."

That was an apparent shot at NDP leader Adrian Dix, who flew to Los Angeles Wednesday to meet with film makers and movie studio executives. Dix and NDP arts and culture critic Spencer Chandra Herbert took part in what was described as an "advocacy effort" to bring movie projects to B.C.

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