We Are Culture

Could you hear it?

It was the sound of footsteps marching. Wednesday, April 15th 2015 was remembered as the day of saving Nova Scotia’s Animation, Film and TV industry. It was the biggest rally in the province in recent years. I joined thousands who descended onto Province House, the provincial legislature of Nova Scotia. Everyone in the creative industry (animators, film crew, musicians, etc.) stood united in solidarity alongside local business owners, entrepreneurs and students.

I have worked in Nova Scotia’s animation industry for nine years.  I came to Halifax from Brampton, Ontario to work as a 3D Character Modeler for Computer Graphic (CG) kids television shows like Bo On The Go, Animal Mechanicals, Pirates:  Adventures In Art, and Monster Math Squad.  The most recent projects I have worked on are Jim Henson Company’s Doozers and the new Inspector Gadget series.  I was one of many artists/animators who moved to this province to build our careers in animation.  Outside of work, I was searching for meeting groups with creative people who also enjoy making and sharing art.  The East Coast Creative Collective (E3C) was the group where I felt I belonged to in Halifax.  I have built a life here.  But with the proposed changes to the Nova Scotia Film and TV Tax Credit, I felt afraid what this province had built was thrown into turmoil.  I was convinced that I needed to reconsider my life here in Nova Scotia.

As presented in the Provincial Budget by Finance Minister Diana Whalen, the 75% reduction to the redemption of labour costs to the Nova Scotia Film and TV Tax Credit (FTC) had serious repercussions:  Film/TV productions have been placed on hold.  Animation studios have reconsidered other regions outside of this province.  A high-profile project already exited. With this change, Nova Scotia became the least competitive destination for attracting movie/TV productions. Even though the changes to FTC haven’t taken effect until July 1st, the damage had already been done. It wasn’t an Animation/Film/TV industry problem. It affected all facets of Nova Scotia’s economy.  I needed to join the rally to show the Provincial government what we had built since the creation of the FTC in 2003.  We were not alone.

The rally was hosted by Jonathan Torrens (“Call Me Fitz”, “Mr. D” & “Trailer Park Boys”).  A few notable people from the Film/TV industry were also there.  John Dunsworth (Mr. Lahey of “The Trailer Park Boys” series) and his family gave a rousing message.  Mary Walsh of “This Hour Has 22 Minutes” and The Trailer Park Boys also gave their support. Even William Shatner tweeted about the event.

There was a spirit of collaborative energy that emanated from the grounds of Province House.  Writers, directors, animators, artists met together as colleagues, former co-workers, and long-time friends. They brought their families with them. Cars and trucks raced along Hollis Street, honking their horns in support of everyone. There was a passionate speech from Actor, Director, and Writer Cory Bowles (“Trailer Park Boys”, “Haven” and “Call Me Fitz”) that I have remembered.  His rally cry was “We are culture!”  His message: losing our creative industry is the same as losing our culture.  The Film industry was an integral part of our culture.  We needed to fight to keep our culture.  This was the same positive energy I experienced attending the East Coast Creative Collective meetings.  Like standing next to my animation co-workers at the rally, E3C have been a big family to me where I felt welcomed.

Nova Scotia’s creative industry and community is home to all of us.  The East Coast Creative Collective is also our home.  Those are the things that are worth fighting for.

The event has been a great experience to see the creative community in action.  But, I ask you all to take the time to look at the photo gallery. The people in the photos are the faces of our creative industry, our creative community.  Like E3C,  we are a big family. The fight to save our industry and community isn’t over.  As creative artists, we all stand loud and proud!

This is our rally – our voice.

We strengthen Nova Scotia.

We are culture.