The Saskatchewan Film Industry is turning to a crowdsourced show of online support, and it’s unveiling social media profiles pictures and a new Twitter hashtag to support the province’s content creation community.
Early Wednesday morning (Nov 7), people across Canada were invited to change their social media profile pictures to an icon proclaiming “My Canada includes the Saskatchewan Film Industry” and tweeting on the #supportSKfilm hashtag.
It’s to show support for the province’s industry which is reeling from the loss of its Film Employment Tax Credit (SFETC).
UPDATE: Following the day's event, organizers reported capturing some 4.5 million impressions of support and encouragement, and the Saskatchewan Film Industry sent back a ‘digital hug’ back to thousands of supporters from across Canada.
#supportskfilm remained the top trended topic on Twitter in Canada for much of the day and by the end of the day, almost 1,500 tweets had been seen almost 3.9 million times by well over 300,000 followers.
On Facebook, the campaign reached an estimated 25,000 people with over 400, 000 impressions and about one third of these people actively talking about the Saskatchewan Film Industry during the day.
About 60% of the total audience for the campaign was from Saskatchewan, 32% came from elsewhere in Canada (including representation from coast to coast to coast) with the remaining 8% from the US, UK and many other countries in the world.
“People were just really feeling badly for the media community in Saskatchewan,” said organizer Annelise Larson, of Veria Search Media Marketing, in an update. “Every conference, every market, every event, every class I teach across the country people awkwardly say how sorry they are and ask what they can do to help. We gave them a way to do that.”
Larson’s efforts were also tied to a disappointment in the decline of funding for arts and culture in Canada in general. “So many organizations are seeing their funding slashed from the CBC to the NFB to the loss of the Canadian Conference of the Arts. It’s important for Canadians to speak up when this happens and tell the world that this is not ok.”
In the 24 hour “digital hug”, national organizations such as the Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA), Writers Guild of Canada (WGC), Directors Guild of Canada (DGC), The Bell Broadcast and New Media Fund, and Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA) joined businesses and Corner Gas actors Brent Butt and Lorne Cardinal to tweet messages of solidarity and support for the Saskatchewan Film Industry.
The grassroots campaign was also referenced during Question Period in the Saskatchewan Legislature on Wednesday. NDP Culture Critic Danielle Chartier read a list of names of media industry workers who have left or are planning to leave the province.
Not coincidentally, the online action fell on the anniversary of the last provincial election in which Premier Brad Wall was re-elected on a platform that celebrated the success of the Saskatchewan Film Employment Tax Credit.
The campaign included a statement about the importance of maintaining proper funding for arts and culture in Canada in general.
“It was suggested to us by people across Canada who wanted to do something to show their support. I’m proud to have helped make it happen” said Larson prior to the event. “The people who work in arts and culture need to take a stand when one of their own is targeted, and show that people do care, that it’s not okay to take from this group with one hand while giving huge tax breaks to big business with the other.”
The movement also comes on the heels of the release of a report by the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce showing that the SFETC was economically successful. Chamber CEO Steve McLellan called the cut a mistake. The film community, the Opposition and members of the media have called for the Premier to acknowledge his error.
For more information, visit www.filmtvsask.com and www.facebook.com/SaveTheSFETC