First island film studio set to woo business from Hollywood North
Vancouver’s film and TV industry is booming and now backers of a new purpose-built facility near Parksville are hoping to draw some of that business to the island.
The 32,000-square-foot facility will house Vancouver Island’s first film studio.
“We can actually go out and say yes we have a studio facility along with training, along with crew, along with tax credits,” said Joan Miller with the Vancouver Island North Film Commission.
Once it’s complete, Vancouver Island Film Studios will offer producers studio space, a construction shop, prop shop, office space and parking.
The owner of the $6-million project says it allows the island to be on the map.
“It’s designed to allow them to come and know what’s here when they arrive and it’s here when they come back in six months,” said Ron Chiovetti.
One of Hallmark’s most popular TV shows, Chesapeake Shores, has filmed its last two seasons on the mid-island. The project saw an investment of more than $5 million and more than half of the staff were hired locally.
“It was you know nerve-wracking at the beginning because there wasn’t a lot of infrastructure,” said the show’s producer, Matt Drake.
Drake says these new studios will make it easier when deciding where to film future projects.
“It not only increases the capacity in supply of sound stages available it also gives producers the ability to stay on the island if they want to come to the island for certain location reasons,” Drake added.
B.C.’s film industry set a record of $2.6 billion last year and production is expected to top that this year.
“It’s about making the film industry really be an important part of Vancouver Island's economic driver,” said Miller.
The facility is expected to be complete and ready for action in early 2018.
With a report from CTV Vancouver Island’s Jessica Lepp