Its fight for improved film tax credits unsuccessful, the advocacy group Save BC Film has called it a wrap, disbanding the organization in favour of other lobbying channels. The group announced the decision on its Facebook page Thursday.
"We were successful in so many ways but now those accomplishments are behind us and a new chapter has begun. A new chapter that has the industry currently in a very busy time and is welcoming the Liberal Government's excitement and interest in our business."
The group is urging members to rally behind the Motion Picture Production Industry Association of B.C. and We Create BC, in order "to help us move forward positively and professionally."
Save BC Film was formed ahead of the spring election by film workers upset that the industry had been left out of the BC Jobs plan, and amid fears productions were being lost to other jurisdictions. The group called for movement toward tax credit parity with Ontario and Quebec, and took issue with the Liberals' stance that boosting tax credits was an unsustainable "race to the bottom."
While the organization and its leadership remained staunchly non-partisan, members openly criticized the B.C. Liberals and Premier Christy Clark, while supporting the NDP – particularly after the NDP promised improved tax credits in its campaign platform.
"There seems to be some sentiment that maybe we poked the bear and we poked the bear to the point where maybe certain people didn't get re-elected, and it's time just to rally in a positive way," said Save BC Film organizer Wayne Bennett in an interview.
Mr. Bennett says the decision to disband was not an admission of failure, and says the group was successful in making the health of the industry an election issue, and getting it on the political and public radar.
"I think that was a huge education for a lot of people in the province, including our government," Mr. Bennett said, noting that he took 21 meetings with sitting MLAs and candidates prior to the election. "I by all means do not feel this was a failure by any stretch of the imagination."
The decision comes the same week Pixar shut down its Vancouver operation, but also during a busy time for production in B.C., with projects such as Tomorrowland (starring George Clooney), Fifty Shades of Grey, a new Seth Rogen film, a film adaptation of the World of Warcraft video game, and another instalment in Ben Stiller's Night at the Museum franchise in town or heading here, and no fewer than 15 TV series in town right now.
The Save BC Film Facebook page – which, along with the website and Twitter account will fade to black on Nov. 1 – was filled with thank-you posts on Thursday, but also some disappointment. "The Liberal [government's] excitement and interest … sheesh," wrote one person. "Did we win? No."