Canadian film biz hit by Hollywood exodus

Wed Mar 12, 2008 9:34pm EDT
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By Adele Weder

VANCOUVER (Hollywood Reporter) - The soaring Canadian dollar is driving Hollywood filmmakers out of British Columbia, a province that has benefited over the years from "runaway" production to cheaper foreign locales.

Film and TV production in the western province slid 21% to C$943 million in 2007, according to data released Tuesday by the BC Film Commission. (The Canadian and U.S. dollars are currently trading at about parity.)

The portion spent by foreign producers (mostly those from Los Angeles) plummeted 44% to C$536 million, while local production soared 47% to a record C$407 million.

The commission blamed the foreign downturn on the rapid rise of the Canadian dollar, which last year hit levels against the greenback not seen since the 1870s; subsidies in many U.S. states; the 100-day Writers Guild of America strike, which ended last month; and a shortage of local studio space.

British Columbia says it is the third-largest film and television service production center in North America, after Los Angeles and New York.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

<p>Newly pressed Canadian one dollar coins, also know as loonies, at the Royal Canadian Mint in Winnipeg November 14, 2007. REUTERS/Fred Greenslade</p>