SaskFilm RIP


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.

Author: Wanda Schmöckel

Wanda Schmockel is just trying to get by without shoving. You may follow her on twitter @vschmo

12 thoughts on “SaskFilm RIP”

  1. But why would you want to work in creative when they need 7 strong backs in Pleasantdale? #NewSask

    # of Positions: 7
    Employer Name: Glendenning Apiaries
    Wage/Salary Info: 11.26 per hour
    Posted Date: 20-Sep-2013
    Location: PLEASANTDALE
    Job Order #: 5309649

    On a less sarcastic note, in researching this post, I’ve discovered there are close to 100 job openings in the Saskatchewan bee industry alone. Land of Rape (Canola) & Honey indeed!

    Gold is the new black! F*ck you oil industry. Let the sweetness flow.

  2. This was a dumb move by Brad Wall. People from all ranges of the political spectrum weighed in and said the small costs were paid back 20-fold.

    Everyone makes mistakes. But more important than this mistake was how he handled it.

    There were many doors that came open where he could have easily reconsidered and blamed ‘new information’, given it a different name and claimed it was his idea, etc.

    Instead he dug in his heels and demonstrated a scary stubborn streak of denialism.

    Meanwhile, he continues handing millions and millions to rich resource companies that can’t even lower themselves to have offices here.

  3. That Pleasantdale job pays more than what I generally made in the film industry (what’s their OT rates?)

  4. My husband and I left this spring so that I could find a job in my industry.

    SO, the Sask Party not only lost (drove out) myself from my birth province, but also an incredible engineer that now has found a higher paying position working at a nuclear research facility at UBC. And in regards to boosting Saskatchewan’s population, we won’t be raising our two kids there anymore.

    I loved Saskatchewan but the youth are not going to stay somewhere if they are going to get screwed over.

  5. Kim’s story is not unique. I know many great creative people who were forced out by this I’ll-advised job killing move. As their work was sporadic, these people were also highly involved in the community.

    But just as importantly, they took their nurse, teacher, engineer, musician, researcher, doctor and social worker spouses with them, and their children too. Killing the jobs was bad enough, but then being insulted as free loaders by half the province ensured they left with a bad taste.

  6. Bronymous, what did you do in the industry? Unless you were working Tier F shows, the positions that pay less than 11.25/hour were very few and far between.

  7. Hah, I worked almost 2 years for an accomplished company from Sask, I won’t name it here. Good people and fun work, but the hourly wage (not counting OT) did literally pay less that the job posted above. This was about 5 years ago, so inflation isn’t that much of a factor. They basically took recent uni grads and gave them experience, but little pay for some pretty hard work considering such a small crew. Sort of like an almost-no-pay internship into the film world.

    I worked elsewhere and made more, but those were very short-term gigs, on to the next. And yes, some people did make some decent, fairly consistent $ in the industry. But not the most stable industry, even in its heyday. Not looking to slam it or get into a debate, but a lot of people are looking back at it through rose-tinted glasses (thick framed black glasses, of course).

  8. Hey Bronymous,

    I’m 99.9% sure I worked for the same company, also for about two years, and I definitely agree with you on the financial challenges of working in the biz.

  9. Pc, yeah I would bank on it being the same company. Reiterate that I had a blast there at times and learnt a lot (what to do and what not to do, what exactly a starving artist is), but the turnover rate was crazy because they’d wear people out while paying them below the value of what they were producing. I don’t think they purposely paid us peanuts, but had to because if they gave us all $20+ they would have went under. And that was with the film credit in place (don’t think they accessed it all the time, but for a pretty decent amount of their productions).

  10. Yep, true story all around. When I asked my initial question, I wasn’t thinking of them at all.

  11. A happier diversion is the cold open from Corner Gas episode ‘Self Serve’, which credits one Vanda Schmokel:

    Customer: Do you carry cheese?

    Brent: Yeah. It’s in the dairy cooler.

    Customer: What kinds do you have?

    Brent: We got all five.

    Customer: Five? There’s more than five kinds of cheese, there are hundreds.

    Brent: Hundreds? There are 5; cheddar, swiss, mozzarella, parmesan and whiz.

    Customer: Whiz?

    Brent: Cheese Whiz. Where are you from?

    Customer: That’s not a type that’s a brand.

    Brent: Kraft is the brand, whiz is the type.

    Customer: Whiz is the brand, Kraft is the company, spreadable is the type.

    Brent: Kraft is the maker, Whiz is the cheese and spreadable is just an added benefit.

    Customer: You don’t know a lot about cheese do you?

    Brent: I know it’s kept in a cooler.

Comments are closed.