City restores funding to film commission

The Vancouver Island South Film and Media Commission will be able to continue operations.

The Vancouver Island South Film and Media Commission will be able to continue operations after Victoria city council unanimously approved to restore $45,000 in funding for the organization last week.

“It’s fabulous. We were very, very appreciative and very relieved to hear the news,” said film commissioner Kathleen Gilbert. “This allows us to carry on and hopefully bring to Victoria the same amount of economic growth that we brought last year.”

City council recently floated the idea of making changes to its Strategic Plan Grant Policy, which included capping grants at $25,000. The motion would have impacted six organizations in Victoria that received more than $25,000 in grant funding last year, such as the Greater Victoria Economic Development Agency, Tourism Victoria, Beacon Community Services for adult school crossings, AIDS Vancouver Island, the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness and the film commission.

The cap would have reduced the film commission’s roughly $170,000 budget by $20,000.

Coun. Jeremy Loveday brought forward the motion to support the film commission.

“It would have been a huge blow for the film commission right after a banner year. I think the city should be continuing to support the film industry in Victoria,” he said.

After receiving more than 50 letters from businesses and residents working in the local film industry, councillors voted against the proposed $25,000 cap and to restore the film commission’s funding last Thursday.

“I felt a bit relieved, honestly. I thought as a council, we were making a mistake and so we ended up making the right decision and now I look forward to the film commission continuing their great work and hopefully having another banner year in 2016,” Loveday added.

The film commission will continue to look for funding to hire an additional staff member to help with operations.

The Vancouver Island South Film and Media Commission, which is the oldest in B.C., is responsible for marketing the Capital Regional District to producers around the world and encouraging them to bring productions to town.

Last year, was a record-breaking year with 24 productions coming to Victoria, bringing in an estimated $18 million to the local economy.