With the city one step closer to having a Screen Industries office, Mayor Don Iveson is in favour of the proposal.
Iveson says not having a film commission office for over a year has created a barrier for the city as Canada has more of a resurgence in the film industry.
“Having the dollar back to sort of more of a historic differentiation with the US makes us attractive, our locations are attractive, our costs are really good here in Edmonton compared say to Toronto and Vancouver that get a lot of the production activity. That’s why Calgary’s gone after this aggressively and we’ve been a little behind the times.”
And while there could be economic benefits for Edmonton if more productions are shot here, Iveson says he wouldn’t want to syphon profit out of the industry to the city.
“For the commission I think if it can achieve cost recovery over time that would be fantastic but realistically in the first stages that may take some time, but if the industry does grow and then there’s enough economic activity to support the commission and the commissions growth from partner contributions, I think that’d be a very positive outcome.”
Iveson says Edmonton works with a lot of different industries, most of which aren’t as tied up with the city’s brand as entertainment can be which is why council is pushing for a Screen Industries Office.
He says there’s an investment attraction that comes with the film industry and the city does a lot of that through the Edmonton Economic Development Corporation.
“So it’s not that different than how our existing economic development work on the city side or the EEDC side which is city funded, goes out and works with those industry associations. This is just trying to create one coherent shop to do that work together.”
Iveson says while our city has locations that could be used as a backdrop for any time frame, another advantage that we have for television and film, is snow.
“We have the virtue of having a fairly predictable winter which is actually a competitive advantage when it comes to if you want to if you want to make a picture that has anything to do with snow on the ground we really should be on top of that and historically we have been and I think we can be again.”
City council has taken a step towards creating a Screen Industries Office, to promote the entertainment industry for our city.