SaskFilm, the province’s heretofore, once very busy film commission is no more. As of 3pm today, SaskFilm shut down its operations for good.
It was created under the Progressive Conservative government of Grant Devine in 1989 and, among other things, SaskFilm helped to facilitate hundreds of productions such as Little Mosque On The Prairie and Corner Gas. It also courted a host of bigger budget Hollywood productions to shoot in our fair province, bringing outside investment, and employing a small army of film professionals in the process.
Perhaps most importantly, along with the also now deceased Saskatchewan Communications Network (SCN), SaskFilm helped to export Saskatchewan’s stories to the rest of the country and the world. Local independent productions such as Wapos Bay, Landscape As Muse, and The Neighbour’s Dog would not have been possible without SaskFilm. For those who used to work in the industry – both as worker bees and independent producers – it’s been a long time waiting for the other shoe to drop. For whatever it’s worth, the Saskatchewan Ministry of Parks Culture and Sport is, ostensibly, partly replacing the role SaskFilm played with the still mysterious Creative Industries program. Although, despite its launch in the Spring of this year, there has still been no indication of what kind of funding or incentives independent producers specifically in this province can expect.
As someone who used to work in the Saskatchewan film industry, what else is there to say other than thank you to SaskFilm for helping to build the Saskatchewan film industry over 24 years of service.
For further information on what SaskFilm did, you can visit their facebook page and download a document that lists the hundreds of productions that were shot with SaskFilm’s assistance.