While the province's positive report about how B.C.'s film and television production was stable in 2012, this year is not looking good for Burnaby's film industry.
Expenditures by filmmakers and television producers in B.C. rose by $27 million (2.3 per cent) from 2011 to 2012, but Paul Clausen, vice president of Burnaby's Mammoth Studios and North Shore Studios, says this year is not shaping up to follow last year's stability.
"It was a fairly good year for us at both locations just through normal shows wrapping," Clausen said of 2012. "It fell off near the end of the year and was really slow starting up this year again. We have a few pilots, but it certainly has not recovered."
Clausen said the industry has shrunk and dropped off since last year.
"We're relieved the numbers are OK for 2012, but it's a certainly different story for 2013" he added.
The data released by the B.C. Film Commission states there were 294 productions in 2012, 13 more than in 2011, with expenditures totaling $1.2 billion.
Clausen said he doesn't know if the province's numbers tell the whole story and some in the industry disagree with the figures.
But, what he does know is the new tax credits coming from Ontario and Quebec, and the return of the PST will hit the local industry hard.
"We see this kind of imbalance with other provinces and now the PST is coming back and it's a real killer," Clausen said. "It's another bang to us as well."
At a recent Burnaby council meeting, Coun. Nick Volkow asked staff to create a report determining the local film industry's impact on Burnaby.
He said he and Mayor Derek Corrigan recently met with film industry professionals and many issues were raised that lead to requesting a report.
"We are always proud to say how we ... still have more than 50 per cent of the studio space in the industry here in Burnaby," Volkow said. "Unfortunately, most of it is not being used at the moment."
Langley recently put out a similar report and it will be interesting to see what Burnaby's report shows, Volkow added.
Corrigan said he knows the film industry needs help and that it's vital the province gets on board.
"We have been in a pitch battle for maintaining our industry," he said. "It's an important part of our economic development strategy. We designated it in the 1990s as an area we wanted to grow."
Corrigan said the province has a difficult time pulling figures together as the economic spinoffs fall under many categories.
"The film industry really does have an extensive reach," he said. "So trying to find out exactly what the economic impact is, is a pretty daunting task, but here in Burnaby maybe we can focus on the actual benefits to Burnaby."
So far, city staff have already researched how many film-related businesses exist in Burnaby and have estimated how many people are employed by it.
"I know the film industry needs our help," he said. "Right now we're forced to be competitive with Ontario, Quebec and other provinces who have reduced their tax rates significantly in order to attract the film business to their communities.
"We need to be competitive and I want to encourage the provincial government or at least make it an issue for election."
Meanwhile, Clausen said he's hoping the province will make an exception for the industry like back east, where film is considered a manufacturer and is exempt from the PST.
"It is what it is," he said. "We're just hoping things are going to turn around for the province. We're hoping the government at least will try to do something with the PST.
He said the film sector fought hard for the save the HST campaign, as it was a "big deal for our specific industry."
The PST comes into effect on April 1.