When Alberta Finance Minister Jo Ceci announced the 2017 provincial budget last March, the film and culture industry were left disappointed.

Ceci announced that had made the decision to make cuts to the Alberta Media Fund. Filmmakers, union members and even Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi criticized the move.

But the industry received some good news this week with the announcement of a new Screen-Based Production Grant, that will replace the Alberta Production Grant.

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“Strengthening Alberta’s vibrant film and TV industry is part of our government’s plan to support and create jobs, diversify the economy and make lives better for Albertans,” said Ricardo Miranda, Minister of Culture and Tourism in a press release.

He added that the government is committed to investing responsibly in areas that will bring ‘the largest economic and cultural benefit to Alberta.’

According to the Alberta Government, the Grant will make $45 million per year available to eligible production companies working in Alberta and will offer productions a cash grant of up to 30 per cent of eligible production expenditures made in Alberta.

It also will up the per-project cap from $5 million to $7.5 million.

Applications will be evaluated through a competitive process that awards points based on criteria such as economic or cultural benefit to Alberta, job creation, the use of Alberta cast and crews, the use of Alberta infrastructure.

This comes as good news to those in the industry, including Teamsters Local 362 who represents many members who work in film and television in Alberta.

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Teamsters Local 362 Secretary – Treasurer & Principal Officer Al Porter is also the Director of Film and Trade Shows for Teamsters Canada. He pointed out in the past that we need a ‘competitive film credit’ in order to compete with regions in the United States and booming film cities like Vancouver.

This will definetly help.

Both Porter and President Wayne Garner, said that the film industry in Alberta is extremely important for all aspects of our economy. One example is tourism – people will want to come to amazing locations they have seen in some of their favourite television shows and movies such as the Revenant or Fargo.

In the last 10 years Alberta has more Oscar, Emmy and Golden Globe wins than any other region in Canada.

The film industry is something that has brought in millions of dollars in the province, and hopefully now it will thrive even more.