2015 breaks record for the Vancouver Island South Film & Media Commission
Vancouver Island’s natural beauty and diversity of options has attracted film makers to the region in the past.
Add in some provincial tax incentives, newly applied to Victoria this past year, which has film crews ready and available, and it lead to a record year for the region.
“We had 24 productions here last year,” says Brian Globus of the Vancouver Island South Film & Media Commission. “That includes features, movie of the weeks, doc series and commercials.”
The total eclipsed the previous best year for the Vancouver Island South Film & Media Commission of 12 productions in 2005.
North of the Malahat, Film Cowichan and Vancouver Island North Film Commission also had busy years though not record breakers.
The filming of the next sequel to the Planet of the Apes and breakout reality TV show Alone, which features being shot on remote sections of Vancouver Island, were both highlights in 2015.
But the situation is only looking more promising for 2016. The Canadian dollar fell to it’s to its lowest level against the American currency Wednesday morning since August 2003.
“The dollar is a huge factor for incoming films,” says Louise McMurray. “It’s combined with the other resources that we have and the infrastructure that we have in place but there’s no question that the fact the dollar is going as low as it is is really going to have and impact on films coming into, not only the island, but all over BC.”
McMurray says the infrastructure for the film industry has also improved. A legacy of the Spooksville TV series was the wiring of the Duncan curling rink to be a production facility from April to October. Proximity to Victoria and the Lower Mainland are also key. “Cowichan has a lot of assets,” she says.
As for 2016 it’s shaping up to be another strong year.
“We had seven productions inquiring in December to start in the early year so we’re hoping all of those shows land here in greater Victoria,” says Globus.
Joan Miller with Vancouver Island North Film Commission says they did scouting for 64 to 68 productions in 2015 which is a lot. But she says the challenge with the great locations on the North Island is the cost of travel, feeding and housing crews.