Canada is lessattractive to so-called runaway production, with 10% fewer feature filmproduction dollars spent in the country in 2001-2002. According to the annualreport of the Canadian Film and Television Production Association (CFTPA),foreign theatrical location production dropped 10% to C$737m (US$484m). Overallforeign location production, including TV fare, was off only slightly, withaggregate spending down by C$2m to C$1.8bn (US$1.18bn). Production was down inBritish Columbia, the region most reliant on the mostly US productions lured byCanada's weak dollar and its tax incentives.
As a whole, thefilm and television production industry reported its first zero-growth year ina decade. Production volume for 2001-2002 has remained at the previous year'slevel of C$5.1bn (US$3.3bn). A downturn in worldwide sales, downward pressureon prices and the indebtedness brought about by failed convergence strategiesare blamed for the plateau. Since 1994-1995, when volume was C$2.3bn(US$1.73bn, at 1994 exchange rates), the industry had grown annually by doubledigits.
Speaking at theassociation's annual state-of-the-industry conference, CFTPA presidentand CEO Elizabeth McDonald said the Canadian industry was healthy but thatnegative trends, such as a decline in the production of English-language dramaand children's programming and an increase of in-house production byCanadian broadcasters, were 'disconcerting.' Blame for those trendswas placed squarely with federal regulator the Canadian Radio-Television andTelecommunications Commission (CRTC). In 1999, CRTC regulations eliminatedbroadcaster expenditure requirements and liberalized the interpretation ofCanadian content production, reducing the incentive to produce capital andlabour intensive production such as drama.