South Island film campaign puts region, industry in spotlight
Published Wednesday, July 10, 2019 4:24PM PDT Last Updated Wednesday, July 10, 2019 6:04PM PDT
The 'We Love Film Too' campaign launched Wednesday at the B.C. legislature, Jul 10, 2019. (CTV Vancouver Island)
Bus ads, business windows and maybe your very own home. That’s where the Victoria Film Commission wants to launch its new ad campaign.
The “We Love Film Too” campaign is hitting the streets of Victoria to promote the industry, spotlight the many employment opportunities available and entice businesses to be film-friendly.
“Businesses who agree to deal fairly with film production companies will be given a film-friendly-business designation and will be offered a window decal that identifies them as such,” said Victoria film commissioner Kathleen Gilbert.
“When film crews are shopping or doing business in the CRD they will be encouraged to patronize these businesses."
With movie-making comes the need for locations. Vancouver Island has a vast topography ideal for the big screen. It could be the island's picturesque mountain ranges, the eye-catching coastline and maybe your home.
"We are always looking for new homes and businesses to add to our location database," Gilbert said.
"Your home does not have to be a mansion to be in the movies. In fact, most of the requests we get from location scouts are for regular-looking homes. A typical Fairfield character home and newer homes on cul-de-sacs are always in demand."
The Vancouver Island Film Commission and Saanich’s Camosun College are also in the early stages of building a new film studio.
“It’s a huge deal. It’s been 30 years in the making,” said Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes.
“We know that the province has about $3.4 billion in economic input from the film industry," Haynes said.
"As a region, we bring in anything from $15 million to 25 million, it’s peanuts. The reason is the lack of a film studio."
Haynes said in the last seven months the district has had film giants Amazon, Netflix and Paramount looking for studios in the area. "They’ve had to be turned away,” he said.
Vancouver has a massive complex of over 100 studios and even they’re turning business away, Haynes said.
While one of the big missing pieces is the studio itself, a trained crew to work in the studio to produce quality film is also lacking.
This is where Camosun believes it can help. The school offers programs that can help students train for the industry.
“Our focus is going to be more on the trades side and more on the technology side which is where Camosun’s sweet spot is,” said Geoff Wilmshurst, vice-president of partnerships for the school.
“It’s an opportunity for Camosun to gain 20,000-plus square feet of education space in education programming areas like the trades for film and the high-tech industry for film that we don’t currently offer.”
Haynes says the studio could be finished by 2022.