The Industry Landscape in Canada
The Canadian film and television industry has quickly grown to represent $9.32 billion in production volume in the 2018/2019 fiscal year. The film and television production sector sustains over 180,900 high-quality, full-time jobs and is a major source of economic activity for people across Canada.
At the same time as the domestic industry’s growth, Canada has become a key location for internationally originated productions. Hollywood studios, European film companies, U.S. television networks and cable services have come to Canada to film their productions, attracted by stable and lucrative Canadian film incentives and first-class Canadian casts and crews, locations and facilities.
Major U.S. film studios (e.g. Warner Bros., Paramount, Walt Disney, Fox and NBC Universal), leading U.S. television studios (e.g. ABC, NBC and CBS), American cable services (e.g. Showtime, Discovery, Disney and HBO), leading OTT services (e.g. Netflix and Amazon Prime) and film companies (e.g. Lionsgate and Media Rights Capital) all have a strong presence in Canada.
European producers such as BBC Worldwide, Endemol, Working Title, Atlantique, Lagardère and Universal International have also taken advantage of Canada’s numerous international film and television co-production treaties to access Canadian benefits.
In 2018, over $4.7 billion was spent on foreign location and service (FLS) production. This was an all-time high and represented a 26.3% increase from the previous year.1
1Excepts from So You Want to Produce in Canada, eh? By David Zitzerman, Goodmans LLP https://www.goodmans.ca/files/file/docs/Goodmans%20Guide%20to%20Producing%202019.pdf
We are a Production Company based in Vancouver who develop and produce all types of content including docs, features, MOWs and soon to be, television. We also offer services to facilitate your production shooting in Canada. We have built a strong network of creatives, technicians, accountants, and legal professionals for support, and connected to world class post-production facilities.
Lily Pictures has several options for foreign productions wanting to shoot in Canada: we can facilitate Foreign-Controlled Service Productions; participate in international treaty co-productions, or partake in a co-ventures for feature film or television. All options can be streamlined to the creative and financial needs of the production.
We also provide consulting, scheduling, budgeting and line producing services for foreign and local production companies.
Foreign-Controlled Service Productions
In Canada, foreign production companies can come from anywhere in the world with completed script, actors, directors, and other key creatives and have the convenience of shooting with a professional Canadian crew, reap the benefits of the exchange rate, and take advantage of the strong tax credits.
Lily Pictures offers full service from location scouting to the entire administration of the tax credits. We can facilitate turn-key office space and studio rentals, manage the hiring of a full professional crew from Accounting and Stunts, to your First AD and Production Designer. We facilitate visa consultation, provide line producing and post-production supervision, all tailored to your creative and financial needs.
Production Services Tax Credit
The provincially run production services tax credit is a labour based tax incentive that provides a refundable 28%-40% tax credit to Canadian and International film and television production corporations that have incurred eligible labour costs in British Columbia. A 16% further credit is provided to post-production, digital animation, and visual effects. This tax credit is not subject to Canadian content requirements and there is no limit that may be claimed.
Film or Video Production Services Tax Credit
This federally run Film and Video Production Services Tax Credit promotes Canada as a location of choice for foreign film and television productions and supports the existence of a production infrastructure of international calibre in Canada. It is available to Canadian-based production companies or production service companies at a rate of 16% of the qualified Canadian labour expenditure for a production. Productions eligible for the PSTC generally feature non-Canadian creative control and non-Canadian copyright ownership.
Co-production treaties assist Canadian producers and their foreign counterparts in collaborating and pooling financial and creative resources for their mutual benefit. Canada has audiovisual co-production treaties and memoranda of understanding (MOUs) with nearly 60 countries and the total volume of treaty co-productions in 2019 at $500 million.
To qualify for an official treaty co-production with the Canadian regulatory body (CAVCO), we require Canadian distribution from a distributor and/or broadcaster. With this, a production can qualify for the higher tax credits as well as funding from Telefilm Canada or the Canada Media Fund. Potential for public funding increases if your story inherently possesses Canadian elements and the writer or director are Canadian. Co-productions require shared copyrights and a usually a minimum financial contribution of 20% from the minority partner.
Co-ventures are production agreements between non-Canadian and Canadian producers. Their projects qualify as “Canadian- content” for the purposes of CRTC broadcast quotas, however, they are only eligible for the lower production services tax credits and not the higher Canadian content tax credits.
The key benefits of co-ventures are that these productions generally garner higher broadcast license fees, are easier to sell in Canada, and non-Canadian producers can be openly involved in the production process.
Lily Pictures is open to all forms of collaboration. Early discussions in the development stage is preferred to maximize the public funding cycle and define the financing and execution strategy.