How to apply for Sask.'s revamped film, TV production grant

The Soundstage, located on Colllege Avenue is expected to be utilized with the expanded film and TV grant program. (Courtesy: Creative Saskatchewan)

Applications for Creative Saskatchewan’s revamped feature film and television production grant are now open, following a surprise $8 million funding increase in the 2022-23 provincial budget.

The new funding came as good news for Saskatchewan’s film and television industry after a difficult 10-year period since the Film Employment Tax Credit was cut in 2012.

"The conditions are in place for Saskatchewan to attract solid film and television projects to our province in coming months," Creative Saskatchewan chief executive officer Erin Dean said in a news release.

"These changes will support projects creating jobs and skills sets in Saskatchewan, generate spending at local businesses, and leverage out-of-province investment into Saskatchewan."

The total funds available for the Creative Saskatchewan Production Grant Program increased from $2 million to $10 million.

The available funds for a single grant request for a production increased from $600,000 to $5 million.

Grant requests over the $5 million threshold would need an order in council to be approved.

"It allows our investment to thrive and support the province's growth plan in many ways,” Parks, Culture and Sport Minister Laura Ross said in the news release. “This includes growing our labour force, the technology sector, increasing tourism, and supporting sectors like the hospitality industry.”

“It will also create more opportunities for young people to realize their future right here in Saskatchewan."

The two main available programs that film and television producers may apply for include: The Saskatchewan stream, where eligible applicants may apply for financial support equal to a maximum of 30 per cent of all eligible Saskatchewan expenditures up to a maximum of $5 million, and the service production streams, where eligible applicants may apply for 25 per cent of all eligible Saskatchewan expenditures up to a maximum of $5 million.

Other bonus funding is available for productions that film in rural locations or complete their post-production in Saskatchewan.

There is also a frequent filming bonus to applicants who complete three productions within a year in the province.

HOW TO APPLY

The application portal for the two available grant “streams” can be found on Creative Saskatchewan’s website.

Several of the requirements for applicants are:

  • Productions must demonstrate interest from other agencies or a relevant market trigger(s) minimum 20 per cent of the eligible production costs.
  • Productions eligible for the feature film grant must have a minimum runtime of 75 minutes.
  • Applicants must have experience as producers of feature films and/or television productions or related experience satisfactory to Creative Saskatchewan.
  • Applicants must also demonstrate the necessary expertise and resources to complete the project and arrange for its marketing.
  • Applicants without the necessary experience must enlist the help of an experienced executive producer prior to applying.
  • Applications must be received prior to the completion of principal photography.
  • The applicant’s production company cannot hold a broadcasting license issued by the CRTC or deal at non-arm’s length with a corporation that holds a license.
  • Applicants must receive a producer credit on the final project.
  • At the time of submission, applicants must provide written evidence of a relevant market trigger or distribution agreement of fair market value and evidence of a minimum of 50 per cent confirmed financing, unless the project budget is over $1 million. Then evidence of a minimum of 70 per cent confirmed financing is required.

The full overview of requirements for applicants and their applications can be found here.

Applications opened May 2, while the deadline is open ended at this time.

Dean also noted in the release that Creative Saskatchewan has partnered with the National Screen institute (NSI) and the Saskatchewan Media Production Industry Association (SMPIA) to create a training program specifically targeting film and television production crews.

“We’re taking a measured approach to grow this industry, and we anticipate the ripple effects of this to be felt in other industries across Saskatchewan as time goes on,” she said.

“After all, film production requires a plethora of skills and services, from rentals, accommodations, catering, skilled trades, the list goes on.”