The Alberta Government is getting good reviews for the latest reshuffle of its support for the local film and television production industry.
The Screen Based Production Grant, which replaces the old Alberta Production Grant, will make $45 million per year available to eligible production companies working in Alberta, with a focus on projects that enrich the province economically or culturally.
"It's much the same, but it's an improvement (and) it's a sign of good faith that things are going strong and well for the industry in Alberta," remarked independent film producer Benjamin Ross Hayden. "It creates an alignment by setting a precedent in terms of the creative industry (and) it's really important to have that precedent for the industry in this province."
Hayden co-produced and directed The Northlander, much of which was shot in Picture Coulee south of the valley, and screened at Drumheller's Napier Theatre in December, 2016.
"I'm always a huge supporter of cultural contributions and cultural components of the Canadian film industry because that's what I do," he explained. "I believe in telling indigenous Canadian stories, so if they're important and very good, they have also placed an emphasis on that."
Applicants for the production grant will be evaluated through a competitive process that rates them according to their economic and cultural benefit for Alberta.
"It's not too much out of their way, but by them doing it, it literally creates an entire story, an entire narrative of our province that film makers like myself work very hard to tell outstanding Canadian stories, both indigenous and otherwise," Hayden concluded.
In the last five years, the Alberta Government has handed out $140 million in film grants and other enticements, with a direct spending of $510 million in the province by production companies.