Growing film sector supports economic recovery

The Nova Scotia government is adding $23.6 million to the Nova Scotia Film and Television Production Incentive Fund, nearly doubling the fund to $48.6 million.

The increase reflects the record number of applications for film productions and the province’s growing popularity as a film and TV production destination.

To date, 61 projects have been approved for 2021-22 with more applications in process. Last year, the film fund supported 54 film and television projects with $26.6 million.

Production companies are attracted by the local talent pool, the province’s vibrant communities and stunning landscapes, fund incentives and the province’s track record in managing the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As we cautiously reopen our economy, these film productions will bolster our economic recovery through immediate jobs and economic spinoffs and the long-term benefits of having Nova Scotia presented on-screen to global audiences,” said Premier Iain Rankin. “The sector is following rigorous public health protocols and helping to employ Nova Scotians and support small businesses.”

All screen productions in Nova Scotia are required to follow guidelines approved by public health, as well as by the Department of Labour and Advanced Education.

Although most people on set are Nova Scotians, others who may be here from outside the province, Prince Edward Island or Newfoundland and Labrador have been required to self-isolate for 14 days and undergo testing for COVID-19 prior to beginning work.

The casts and crews are frequently tested for COVID-19 and everyone is required to wear masks, both inside and outside, with the exception of cast members when they are performing.

One of the largest productions to film in Nova Scotia is currently underway on the South Shore. The acclaimed crime drama anthology The Sinner is filming its fourth season in Chester, Lunenburg, Riverport, Hubbards and Mahone Bay.

The work will be done over two separate shooting blocks, from spring until July and from July until the end of August. Each block has qualified for a commitment of $4 million from the film fund, based on eligible expenditures in Nova Scotia of $19,786,044.

Another major production in the province is Diggstown, now filming its third season in the Halifax-Dartmouth area. Diggstown is a Canadian legal drama starring Vinessa Antoine as Marcie Diggs, a lawyer who leaves her corporate job to work in a legal aid clinic in Dartmouth.

It was created by African Nova Scotian executive producer and writer Floyd Kane and is the first Canadian drama series to feature a Black Canadian woman as the lead character. Diggstown has qualified for a commitment of $3,755,583 based on eligible Nova Scotia costs of $12,518,610.


We are committed to work with Screen Nova Scotia and industry organizations to strengthen the film industry with a focus on developing Nova Scotian filmmakers, writers, and producers of local content and to encourage diversity and gender parity. This additional funding for the Nova Scotia Film and Television Production Incentive Fund is an important part of that effort. – Suzanne Lohnes-Croft, Minister of Communities, Culture and Heritage

Having spent most of my life in HRM, it’s incredible to capture all the natural beauty our city offers. The diversity of communities, landscape, people and geography are what make this place what it is. I love that we get to capture it on camera and present it as is. The first two seasons of this great production have been picked up by an American network which means the diversity of our cast and crew are creating relatable content for broader audiences and setting a higher bar for our industry. – Floyd Kane, creator, writer and executive producer, Diggstown

Our association with the Nova Scotia government reflects Universal Content Productions’ ongoing investment in our global production community. We are grateful for the opportunity to film The Sinner in beautiful Nova Scotia, while safely and successfully following pandemic protocols. – Mark Binke, executive vice-president, Production, UCP, a division of Universal Studio Group

When COVID-19 emerged in Nova Scotia, the film and television industry worked tirelessly to create and implement medical-grade health and safety protocols on set, allowing the sector to continue to work throughout the pandemic. It’s become clear during these tough times that Premier Rankin has chosen to invest in an industry that acts as an economic driver for the region, attracting well over $100 million dollars in foreign direct investment, which is injected directly into the payroll of Nova Scotians and small businesses that make up the heart of our communities. – Laura Mackenzie, executive director, Screen Nova Scotia

Quick Facts:

  • through Budget 2021-22, the administration of the Nova Scotia Film and Television Production Incentive Fund is shifting from Nova Scotia Business Inc. to the Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage
  • the fund was established in 2015 with input from industry and is a financial incentive for eligible productions based on expenditures within Nova Scotia to stimulate and support the production of projects in the province
  • the Nova Scotia Film and Television Production Incentive Fund has invested $99.5 million between July 1, 2015, through September 10, 2020, which resulted in $340 million in production spending in Nova Scotia
  • Nova Scotia has been home to the critically acclaimed feature film The Lighthouse, many television series, including This Hour Has 22 Minutes, Diggstown, The Curse of Oak Island, Feudal and Hope for Wildlife, and the Netflix production Locke & Key