British Columbia Premier Christy Clark, who has faced mounting pressure in her own province to do more to support the film industry, quietly paid a visit to Hollywood last week.
During a trade mission to California, Clark stopped by the Hollywood offices of Prime Focus World, the Indian-owned 3-D conversion and visual effects company that recently expanded its Vancouver facility, where it employs about 200 people.
In a meeting Wednesday with Prime Focus World executives, Clark said her government was considering expanding the province's support for the post-production and digital animation sector, according to people familiar with the private meeting.
British Columbia offers a 33% rebate on labor expenditures in the province and an additional 17.5% credit on labor costs for digital animation and visual effects projects.
The meeting comes at a time when Vancouver has been struggling to maintain its reputation as Hollywood North, as more film and TV production has shifted to Toronto, Ontario and U.S. states that offer more generous film incentives.
The issue caused thousands of industry workers and their supporters to stage rallies and protests in Vancouver last year.
Clark has been outspoken in rejecting what she has described as a "race to the bottom" of tax breaks for the province's film industry, noting that taxpayers already spend nearly $300 million a year to support filming.
Nonetheless, Clark has expressed a willingness to consider broadening the rebate for post-production services, capitalizing on Vancouver's reputation as a visual effects hub.
The message resonated with executives at Prime Focus World, which recently did the 3-D conversion work on the Oscar-nominated Warner Bros. film "Gravity."
Namit Malhotra, chief executive and founder of Prime Focus World, showed Clark a series of reels detailing Prime Focus' work. They also discussed Vancouver's place as "Hollywood of the North" and the critical nature of the province's tax incentives, according to a statement posted on the company's website.
"We were incredibly honored to host the Premier," Malhotra said in a statement. "Vancouver has long been a key global influencer in the creative services space, and an important component of Prime Focus World's global footprint. We salute the Clark administration's proactive attention to the Creative BC incentives and community."
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