Monday, 14 February 2011

#NWT Film Industry Review statement by Minister Bob McLeod

Film Industry Review

Minister Bob McLeod
Monday, February 14, 2011
16th Legislative Assembly

Mr. Speaker, the Government of the Northwest Territories recognizes Northwest Territories filmmakers make a positive economic and cultural impact on our territory. Today I would like to talk to you about the important work we are doing with the Northwest Territories film industry to help grow this vital sector.

The Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment is working with Education, Culture and Employment to undertake a review assessing the economic prospects of the film industry, investigate establishment of an independent film commission, and possible programs that would support the film industry. The review process is part of a two-step plan. The aim of the review is to explore the costs and benefits of programs to support the Northwest Territories film industry in our current fiscal environment and research options for support programs for the Northwest Territories film industry, and a delivery model for those programs. The second part of this project will involve consultation with the players in the Northwest Territories film industry, to explore those options and develop recommendations for support to the industry. It is anticipated this workshop will take place within the next month and will provide the Government of the Northwest Territories with an opportunity to present findings from the review and discuss and explore options together with those people involved in the Northwest Territories film industry.

Industry, Tourism and Investment currently provides support to Northwest Territories businesses, including those involved in film production, through its Support to Entrepreneurs and Economic Development Policy. Education, Culture and Employment provides support to the film industry through the Northwest Territories Arts Council and Northern Film and Media Arts Contributions programs. This project will allow us to explore other possible options that support the Northwest Territories Film Industry.

We already know that brilliant filmmakers are at work throughout the Northwest Territories, creating memorable films that use our rugged landscape and vibrant cultural essence of the Northwest Territories as a backdrop. Yellowknife-based production company, Black Swan Films, recently screened "A Song for the Dead", which was filmed at Prosperous Lake. I am pleased to say Industry, Tourism and Investment helped to fund this film through its Support to Entrepreneurs and Economic Development (SEED) Policy. The 4th Annual Yellowknife Film Festival that just concluded this past weekend is also a great example of success in northern film and video. We know that people are interested in filming in the north and watching film and television shows filmed and produced in the north, just look at the popularity of Northwest Territories Ice Pilots, which has now moved into its second season of production. We also had crews in the north to film a Tropicana orange juice commercial under Inuvik's "Arctic Sun". This commercial won multiple awards, including the prestigious Gold Lion in the Film category at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival, which is widely regarded as the most prestigious awards festival in the world.

Also, with the interest generated in the Northwest Territories through our Northern House at the Vancouver Olympics, we can only expect that interest in the Northwest Territories film industry will grow even more. Mr. Speaker, we all want an economy that is diversified, and one that provides all communities and regions with opportunities and choices. Supporting programming for the Northwest Territories film industry is one way to maximize opportunities and support economic diversification of the Northwest Territories, which is a key goal of this Assembly. I look forward to the results of the review, and I am confident that by working with those closely involved with the Northwest Territories film industry, we will find the best ways to show our support for this important industry. We will be tabling a final report on the review of the Northwest Territories Film Industry during the May session.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.