A summer that promises to be quiet for American filming

A summer that promises to be quiet for American filming in Montreal

For the second year in a row there will be less American filming in Montreal this summer. Foreign producers are increasingly leaving metropolitan Quebec and moving to other destinations with more competitive tax incentives.

“It is true that 2022 was a slightly weaker year and that 2023 is developing in the same way,” explains Christine Maestracci, president and general manager of the Quebec Cinema and Television Bureau (BCTQ), in the Journal interview.

“For the past 15 years, we have received between 20 and 30 shoots in Quebec every year. For 2023 we are midway through the year with around ten confirmed productions and expect to end the year with 18 to 20 shoots at the lower end of the range. We therefore expect a slower year with fewer productions, as we have seen in 2022.

This situation is largely due to the attractiveness of the financial and tax incentives offered elsewhere in the country (e.g. Alberta) as well as abroad (particularly in Atlanta and Eastern Europe).

Since the pandemic began, some jurisdictions have added stimulus and increased their tax credits to attract more American productions.

In Quebec, the foreign admission tax credit is approximately 20%. In Ontario and British Columbia they range from 21.5% to 28%, while in Alberta they are around 30%.

  • Listen to the interview with Christine Maestracci, President and CEO of the Office of Cinema and Television of Quebec, at the mic mario dumont, Available on the podcast At QUB radio :

“Quebec has tax credits that are no longer as competitive as other jurisdictions, Christine Maestracci concedes.

“When making decisions on a creative level, Quebec is really very attractive because we have all the resources to meet the needs of foreign productions. We are known for our creativity, the know-how of our technical teams and the versatility of our landscapes and our architecture.

“But when foreign producers later compare their budgets, the Quebec option may no longer be competitive on paper. There are certainly things to consider to ensure we can better attract and support foreign productions in Quebec.”

The impact of the strike

The writers’ strike, which has been in full swing in Hollywood for the past ten days, will do nothing to allay uncertainties about the future of foreign filming in Montreal.

In the short term, the industrial action should not harm the shooting of films or TV series whose scripts have already been written (this also applies to the next productions expected in the metropolis).

In the longer term, however, the BCTQ assumes that some filming will be delayed.

“We expect certain projects to be postponed for roughly the duration of the strike,” says Christine Maestracci.

If Montreal’s summer promises to be quiet for overseas filming, things could change significantly in the fall. If all goes according to plan, at least two major Hollywood productions could be based in the metropolis by the end of the summer.

American filming currently taking place in Montreal includes The Sticky, an Amazon series starring Jamie Lee Curtis inspired by the 2011 Quebec maple syrup heist, and Witchboard, a remake of the horror film of the same name from 1986.

According to the BCTQ, foreign filming in Quebec generated $526 million in direct spend in 2022. The audiovisual industry in Quebec employs more than 55,000 workers.