Quebec to Restart Film Production Amid Pandemic-Era Safety Guidelines

Roland Emmerich Getty H 2016
JB Lacroix/WireImage

Generous tax credits and public subsidies have allowed major film VFX players to operate studios in Montreal.

The Quebec provincial government and health officials have given the green light for film and TV production to resume on June 8 amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Provincial soundstages will be able to host movies and series production, and Montreal-based visual effects and postproduction houses may also resume full operation under social distancing guidelines. The province is also investing $91.5 million in local media content as the sector resumes production.

"The plan aims to stimulate artistic creation, revive the production of Quebec cultural content and allow the community to adapt to new ways of reaching out to the public, in the context of the current pandemic," the Quebec provincial government said in a statement.

The French-speaking province is also following Manitoba, which earlier announced itself as the first Canadian jurisdiction to restart film and TV production that ground to a halt in mid-March as the coronavirus crisis spread across North America.

The restart will allow Roland Emmerich to move ahead with production in Montreal on Moonfall, the $150 million sci-fi epic that the Independence Day helmer will direct and co-write and is set to star Halle Berry and Josh Gad. Moonfall was initially slated to shoot in Montreal in spring 2020, ahead of a 2021 theatrical release by Lionsgate.

Quebec's generous tax credits and public subsidies have also allowed major VFX players for Hollywood to operate studios in Montreal, including Cinesite, Framestore, MPC and Rodeo FX, in addition to Pixomondo and Scanline, which are handling the visual effects for Moonfall.

There is still no word on when film production in Ontario and British Columbia — where the bulk of Hollywood film and TV production in Canada takes place — will resume.