SHELLBROOK — Premier Scott Moe sees a promising future in the local film industry, with the Saskatchewan government looking to invest more and see growth that would encourage aspiring filmmakers in the province to pursue their dreams.
Moe told SASKTODAY.ca that movies are known to bring people together with the film industry, something the province can tap into as an added attraction and source of revenue despite not being traditional in Saskatchewan.
“It's just fantastic. It [films] brings people together that, you know, maybe isn't a traditionally an industry that we were aware of in Saskatchewan. But it's a very vibrant industry that, I think, has some great days ahead of it in the province,” said Moe.
He mentioned the John Hopkins Regina Soundstage in Wascana Park, where an LED screen was installed that would give more opportunities for the province to build the foundation of a film industry.
“What opportunities does that bring for our province? This will build that industry across the province and outside, even in our major cities like Saskatoon and Regina. There are many talented and passionate artists here in our province,” said Moe.
“They are hard at work in music festivals. There are theatre companies. Galleries and museums are active. And as I have said, now we have an international film festival. This event demonstrates the growing strength of the province’s film industry.”
Moe said it was Parks, Culture and Sports Minister Laura Ross who approached her and pushed for increased funding of $2 million to $10 million to support local filmmakers through Creative Saskatchewan.
“It was Minister Ross who told me that we can build a fantastic [film] industry and there’s an opportunity with all the streaming services. Some opportunities were not quite as large a few years ago but now have changed,” Moe said.
“We should do what we can to support the growth of this industry [film]. So, we added another $7.5 million to the budget; it went up from $2 million to $17.5 million in the last 18 months. It is a growing industry, and I think Saskatchewan can gain from it.”
He added that events like the 2nd Saskatchewan International Film Festival are a big boost not only to the local film industry but also to tourism as well, with organizers of the annual film fest will have the opening hosted by a different city or town every year.
“To have the [2nd SIFF] here in our community of Shellbrook is wonderful, and they [organizers] are committed to visiting other communities in the years ahead. It is wonderful for the film industry and brings people together,” said Moe, whose riding is Shellbrook-Rosthern.
“This builds the [film] industry, Exposing people in various communities and bringing them together to celebrate the film industry that we have in Saskatchewan, across Canada, and worldwide. So I think it's just fantastic, and thanks to the organizers."