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Local film and TV production may be buoyant, but Montreal hasn’t seen much big-budget Hollywood production since Paramount’s “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” and Universal’s “The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor” were shot there in 2007.
CBS Films’ “Beastly,” which stars Vanessa Hudgens and Mary-Kate Olsen, is shooting in Montreal, as is TV series “Blue Mountain State” from Lionsgate and Varsity Pictures and ABC Family TV movie “The Cutting Edge: Fire & Ice,” the fourth installment in the MGM-produced ice skating franchise.
But all that could change quickly after Quebec extended its 25% tax credit from labor to all production expenditures. And the province added a 5% all-spend bonus for green-screen, digital and visual effects postproduction work completed in the province, to entice big-budget pictures to remain in the city after the cameras stop rolling.
Quebec film commissioner Hans Fraikin says two or three Hollywood pictures will shortly unveil plans to shoot in Montreal, and more are coming north.
“These aren’t films that we’re taking away from the rest of Canada. They were slated for tax credit-generous states like Georgia and Louisiana,” he notes.
Fraikin adds the savings from Quebec’s 25% all-spend tax credit rises with a film’s budget: “If you figure typically half of a budget is labor, you nearly double the cash rebate.”
Meanwhile, local production is going gangbusters in Montreal. The $30 million indie feature “Barney’s Version” feature, which stars Dustin Hoffman and Paul Giamatti, is in production. And local producer Incendo Media has hired former Lifetime executive Libby Beers to launch it into the one-hour drama business after it completed its 37th TV movie shot in Montreal in eight years, the Melissa George-starrer “Second Chances.”
“Montreal is a great city, it’s easy to attract talent to come here and there’s a big economic incentive to shoot here, including great tax credits for shooting Canadian content movies,” says Incendo Media co-founder and co-president Jean Bureau.
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