News Release Archive

Nova Scotia's film industry has taken a virtual step closer to
the Oscar for special effects.

An $800,000 New Media Innovation Fund, created by MT&T and the
Nova Scotia Film Development Corp., is generating excitement and
ideas in the industry.

"We've already had a number of calls from producers since the
fund was announced," said Ann Marie Varner, chief executive of
the film development corporation. "There's no question that this
money is going to trigger a lot of innovative projects and bring
some new players to the table."

The fund was launched though MT&T's $1.9 million Culture and New
Media Innovation Fund supporting the cultural arts and new media
sectors. MT&T and the film development corporation are investing
$400,000 each over three years.

The first project is already under way. Halifax producer Peter
d'Entremont is creating a CD ROM version of his film documentary
on Nova Scotia artist Maude Lewis. D'Entremont describes new
media as "an explosive sector" and one in which Nova Scotia has
underutilized expertise.

"This partnership is making the ground more fertile," he said.
"It gives us a chance to develop the depth of experience that the
industry demands and to take hold of the opportunities."

Taking hold of opportunities is what the partnership with MT&T is
all about, said Richie Mann, economic development and tourism
minister. "We see tremendous potential in new media production.
We've already got a number of outstanding successes, and we
intend to build on that strength. Nova Scotians can become world

New media refers to digital content -- including computer
animation -- for film and television, CD ROMs, the Internet and
even video games. Nova Scotia filmmakers are already building a
reputation for excellence in the field: Salter Street's
television series Lexx and Imagex's Politoons are examples. The
New Media Innovation Fund will help other smaller producers
develop the expertise and product for the marketplace.

"We can compete on a global scale, especially here in Cape
Breton," said Owen Fitzgerald, owner of Sydney's Fitzgerald
Studios who started in business as a photographer but now does
most of his work in multimedia. Ninety per cent of his sales,
including a CD ROM on Alexander Graham Bell, are outside the
province. He said the new media fund is a great idea in an
industry that promises to expand quickly.

"We have the artistic talent here and we're mastering the
technology," said Fitzgerald. "But small companies in Nova Scotia
often find it difficult to get their hands on the capital they
need. This fund addresses that problem."

Steve Comeau of Halifax-based Collideascope called the fund a
fantastic idea. "The fund makes production here viable. It also
puts us at an advantage when negotiating. The less the publisher
has to advance, the greater the percentage of royalty we can

Comeau leaves Sunday, June 15, for the Electronic Entertainment
Expo in Atlanta where he will be pitching his interactive A
quality video game to companies like Microsoft and Virgin.
Collideascope is the only Nova Scotia company attending this
year's expo.

"Major publishers are very risk-conscious. By going in with some
of our own funding, we're much more attractive to them," said


Contact: Steve Fairbairn
         Economic Development and Tourism

trp                       June 13, 1997 - 11:45 a.m.