Screen Nova Scotia spearheading build of province’s first purpose-built soundstage

Screen Nova Scotia (SNS) has acquired Crown land to build the province’s first-ever purpose-built film and television soundstage.

The industry association says following a request for proposals (RFP) late last year, an industry-led committee has unanimously selected a 25-acre parcel of land adjacent to Exhibition Park in Halifax on Highway 333. Screen Nova Scotia says the parcel was chosen for its size, quiet natural setting, and proximity to downtown, 100-series highways and the services of Bayers Lake Business Park. It also leaves room for future expansion.   

“After years of filming in old warehouses, off-season hockey rinks and curling clubs, the construction of a dedicated, year-round soundstage is a huge and necessary step in continuing the evolution of the Nova Scotia film industry,” said Michael Volpe, President of Topsail Entertainment and Chair of the Board of Directors of Screen Nova Scotia, in an announcement. “This will strengthen our competitiveness and generate economic and cultural benefits.”

The move forward for the province’s industry, which was hit hard in 2015 when its film tax credit was slashed by former Premier Stephen McNeil’s Liberal government, comes following a $23 million dollar provincial investment in the sector, announced in March of last year. It includes $8 million earmarked for a soundstage, aimed at increasing capacity, creating more jobs and allowing productions to shoot year-round.

Chad Michael Murray and Morgan Kohan in Sullivan’s Crossing, which shoots on location in Nova Scotia.

“This soundstage will create more year-round jobs and draw even more productions to Nova Scotia’s growing film industry,” said Premier Tim Houston. “It’s a win for the province and a win for the industry, and we’re pleased to help this exciting project find a home.”

Screen Nova Scotia says the next step is issuing a Request for Expressions of Interest (REOI) to identify equity partners interested in driving the project forward. It’s expected to go live on the SNS website by the end of the month.

“A soundstage will anchor our industry for the future — attracting business, creating jobs, and playing a critical role in developing our workforce to grow the industry,” said Screen Nova Scotia Executive Director Laura Mackenzie. “We look forward to moving into the next phase of this project with our industry partners.”

The film industry contributed about $180.8 million to Nova Scotia’s economy in 2021-22 with the province supporting 82 projects through the Film and Television Production Incentive Fund, available to productions with a Nova Scotia spend of at least $25,000 (before HST).

FLS (Foreign Service and Location) volume hit $91 million in 2021/22, a new 10-year high for Nova Scotia and almost double the previous year’s volume, with almost all of that growth in television series. Among the series shooting in the province are CTV/The CW drama Sullivan’s Crossing; new Bell Media/Crave comedy The Trades, from the producers of Trailer Park Boys; and horror sci-fi series From for EPIX.


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Connie Thiessen
Connie Thiessenhttps://broadcastdialogue.com
Connie has worked coast-to-coast as a reporter, editor, anchor and host at CKNW and News 1130 in Vancouver, News 95.7 and CBC in Halifax, and CFCW Edmonton, among other stations. With a passion for music, film and community service, she led News 95.7 to a 2013 Atlantic Journalism Award and regional RTDNA award for Best Radio Newscast. More recently, she was nominated for Music Journalist of the Year at Canadian Music Week 2019. To report a typo or error please email - corrections@broadcastdialogue.com

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