Vancouver Targets Bollywood by Hosting Times of India Film Awards

The British Columbia government is wooing India as local talent, and crews lobby for politicians to do more to stop Hollywood from going east to Toronto and Montreal.

TORONTO – As Vancouver's film and TV sector lobbies the British Columbia government for juicier tax credits for Hollywood, local politicians are instead targeting Bollywood.

B.C. premier Christy Clark on Tuesday said the province will spend $9.5 million to host the inaugural Times of India Films Awards in Vancouver from April 4 to 6.

“This is a tremendous economic opportunity for British Columbia to reach new markets — one that we will take advantage of," Clark said in a statement.

That echoed the Ontario government in 2011 spending $12 million to host India's Film Academy Awards in Toronto, as part of a similar bid to open up tourism and commercial trade between Canada and India.

The move to invite Bollywood to British Columbia comes as the local industry is calling on Clark and her government to match sweetened film tax credits that are increasingly sending Hollywood film and TV shoots to Ontario and Quebec.

Around 1,000 local film and TV actors, directors and crews are to gather on the evening of Jan. 22 at the North Shore Studios in Vancouver for a "Save B.C. Film" town-hall meeting.

The obstacle for local Vancouver film and TV crews is that, as the Canadian dollar rose in value against the American greenback, Ontario and Quebec sweetened their film tax credits to stay competitive with rival U.S. locales. In British Columbia, local politicians instead have so far resisted the urge to match Ontario and Quebec on tax credits to shore up production levels in Vancouver.