Canada to offer financial relief for U.S. shoots


TORONTO --Relief may be at hand for Los Angeles producers who feel the wrath of the soaring Canadian dollar on their budgets while they shoot locally.

Leading British Columbia studio and production equipment suppliers are considering a move to peg the American dollar to the surging loonie.

"We have some good relationships with the studios, and we want to offer a film rate to attract the industry," Peter Leitch, chairman of the Motion Picture Production Industry Assn., said Friday.

The MPPIA will poll its members -- which include local studios, post houses and unions and guilds like IATSE, the Teamsters and the Directors Guild of Canada – on the dollar peg over the next week.

The initiative comes as the Canadian dollar has surged in value by around 25% compared to the American greenback in recent months.

The loonie hit CAN$1.10 in value compared to the greenback earlier in the week before retreating to CAN$1.06 on Friday. The sudden rise in the value of the loonie follows two decades in which U.S. producers enjoyed huge cost savings when they shot in Canada on the strength of a once-strong greenback.

Leitch said obstacles to accepting American dollars at par include some British Columbia suppliers already offer discounts to Los Angeles producers, and the loonie could retreat in value on its own as it tends to move in tandem with global gold and oil prices.