Manitoba film industry prepares to get rolling again

WINNNIPEG — It’s been quiet on the set in Manitoba for the last two months but that’s about to change.

The province’s film industry has been green lighted to roll again with changes to code red restrictions coming Friday.

On Screen Manitoba is the association that represents the industry. It says crews operated safely last year between June and December with COVID-19 protocols in place. 

Executive Director Nicole Matiation says people are eager to get going.

“Everyone is very keen to get back to work on set and in the production office,” said Matiation.

The timing could be crucial. Matiation says because other provinces did not shut down their film industries, people started to look for work elsewhere.

“Crew or actors, writers and directors they’re all independent contractors so yes they have to go where the work is for sure.” said Matiation. “And they would rather be working here at home.”

This also means many projects given the green light before the shutdown are still a go.

“Preproduction is happening now so the ability to now go and scout locations and get working is paramount if we’re going to hit our target dates for principle photography,” said Ian Dimerman of Inferno Pictures.

With film production comes much-needed spin-offs for local businesses battered by lockdowns and the pandemic.

Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce President Loren Remillard says the supply chain is long.

“You’re talking about makeup and set designers, construction and transportation, food services, lodging, there’s just so many components that go into it,” said Remillard.

Federal and provincial travel restrictions do remain.

Onscreen Manitoba says they could impact production costs.

But it could also mean bigger breaks for local actors who are already here.

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