Opinion

Hollywood North: How Canadians Can Pave the Way For The Film Industry by Investing in Film

Written by: Matthew Willson

Matthew Willson, producer, actor and financier of films, known for his most recent new-to-Netflix hit ‘American Hangmancontinues to see growth in the Canadian Film industry and shares his insights on why and how to invest.

There used to be a time when those who put their money into film were powerful entertainment moguls, but not anymore. Anyone can be an investor, from your neighbour to your co-worker. Investing in film is now just as common as investing in art and even property.

The first thing to know is film investment is often a long process. It can take anywhere from three to ten years, or even longer for an investor to see a return. It all depends on the film and any issues that may arise: some can also take years to bring to the screen. When investing in film, you are investing in the production side of a movie.

Although investing in films may sound glamorous, there’s always a risk that could be associated with it. Scouting talent, finding the right distributors and managing production costs are only a few of the hurdles an investor can go through when moving forward with the production of the film. Regardless of the potential hurdles, the gratification of a completed film (and the return on investment when there is one) is often worth the risk.

Why invest in films, specifically Canadian titles?

We’ve seen an increase in production and filming in Canada within the last ten years, and not only are people from other countries choosing to film in Canada, they are also buying Canadian-made films (although defining a “Canadian production” can be quite complex).

The film industry is a vibrant component of Canada’s culture sector, with many U.S. productions enticed by Canada’s lower exchange rate, helpful tax credits, varied scenery and geographic proximity to the United States. About three-quarters of all Canadian foreign productions are based either in British Columbia or Ontario.

Again, a reminder that your return on investment could be significant and that a creative city drives economic growth and provides jobs to thousands of Canadians. There’s the set designers, editors, directors, hair stylists, makeup specialists, special effects, catering, sound, lighting, actors, costume designers, the list really does goes on and on. 

Tips for investors

  • Before investing in any project, do your due diligence and research the project, the producers, the talent, and the potential for return on investment
  • Ask questions – does the film appeal to a mass market? Is it niche? Most films that appeal to a mass market have a higher return on investment
  • Consider grants, crowdfunding, private equity and hedge funds – Hedge funds use slate financing, which invests in a portfolio of films, to manage risk and generate returns
  • Do research and understand what you are receiving and can receive by investing in the film (will there be a credit on the movies poster for investing?)

When looking for your next investment, consider investing in film. It can be one of the best investments you’ll ever make.

To learn more about Matthew Willson and investing in film, visit Matthew Wilson Entertainment