B.C. reeling from Hollywood exodus


VANCOUVER -- Despite registering a banner year for indigenous film and TV production, British Columbia saw a dramatic plunge in revenue from Hollywood projects that shot locally in 2007.

The B.C. government on Tuesday reported that film and TV production in the western-most province came to CAN$943 million ($951.8 million) in 2007, down 21% from a year-earlier CAN$1.2 billion.

The provincial figures indicate a record CAN$407 million ($411.2 million) was spent on making local movies and TV shows here last year, up 47% from 2006 expenditures. However, production dollars spent by foreign producers (mostly those from Los Angeles) plummeted 44% to CAN$535 million ($450.6 million).

The provincial ministry of tourism, sport and the arts said that the film and TV production sector was hard hit by the soaring Canadian dollar, which now stands roughly at par with the American greenback, and the WGA strike, which put a host of local U.S. series TV shoots on hiatus.

Competition from rival locales that offer tax credits and other lucrative subsidies, as well as the continuing popularity of reality TV series, also accounted for the plunge in Hollywood shoots in 2007.

Still, "B.C. continues to perform well in the face of a 'perfect storm' of global industry challenges," said Stan Hagen, the province's minister of tourism, sport and the arts.