Ida Chong had the Stanley Cup by her side as she announced a $2.2-million provincial government boost for the B.C. film industry in Penticton on Monday.
The Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development chose Memorial Arena as a backdrop, where film crews continue shooting a special production for the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto. One scene includes an appearance by the Stanley Cup.
The entire film industry, including filmmakers, TV producers and digital technology companies, will benefit from the provincial funding, Chong said.
The allocation includes $1 million for B.C. Film + Media (a non-profit organization to expand and diversify the industry), $947,000 for the B.C. Film Commission and $275,000 for B.C.'s regional film commissions.
Chong noted film and television production in B.C. grew by 16 per cent in 2011 to more than $1.18 billion. There are also 600 digital media companies in the province which generate more than $2.3 million in annual sales and employ about 16,000 people.
She said it's important that film production in B.C. remains competitive.
"The province provides generous tax credits and funds organizations that support the success of B.C.'s on-screen entertainment sector," she said. "We will continue to consult and work closely with the industry in British Columbia in order to maximize opportunities going forward into the future."
Chong pointed to the deep talent B.C.'s film industry has to offer. Being in the same time zone as Los Angeles is another benefit.
Richard Brownsey, president of B.C. Film + Media, described the film industry as a B.C. success story.
"British Columbia is recognized as one of the significant international production centres known around the world," he said. "This could not have happened if there had not been a partnership between the industry and the provincial government."
Brownsey rejected any notion that the province's film industry is centred in Vancouver. He noted there were 76 productions in 2011, representing $173 million in production spending, which took advantage of regional tax credits to shoot elsewhere in the province.
Jon Summerland of the Okanagan Film Commission said more than 100 production crew members have been working in the Valley throughout the year.
"We have six back-to-back films happening right now, so we are very, very happy with what we have going on here," he said.
In addition to provincial funding, the film commission also receives financial support from the regional districts in the Okanagan area.