‘I’m thrilled’: South Island’s new film commissioner ready to roll

'I'm thrilled': South Island's new film commissioner ready to roll
Photo: Vancouver Island South Film & Media Commission
Peter Hayman is pictured.

The Vancouver Island South Film & Media Commission (VISFMC) has cast its new film commissioner as the existing one wraps up an over decade-long run.

Peter Hayman has been appointed as the new head of the VISFMC, a Langford-based non-profit “with a mandate to market the capital region to the global film industry,” according to a news release.

It says Hayman recently moved to North Saanich and has 25 years of experience in film, media and entertainment, “with an impressive track record as a prolific fund-raiser with superior organizational skills.”

Following a nationwide search, he succeeds Kathleen Gilbert, who announced last December that she’d be retiring after 14 years on the job. Her last day is April 30, while Hayman will take the reigns on May 1.

“I have enjoyed my position as film commissioner more than words could express,” Gilbert said late last year. She is, however, staying on until June 1 in a training and consulting capacity during a transition period, the VISFMC says.

“I’m thrilled for the opportunity to carry on the great work of The Vancouver Island South Film & Media Commission,” said Hayman.

A ‘range’ of experience

The VISFMC says Hayman started out as a studio musician and songwriter before attending film school. He was then hired as a film editor and produced and directed non-scripted productions, and also worked on an IMAX movie before returning to Toronto, Ont., where he founded Imagitions, his own production company.

By 1995, he moved to Los Angeles and was CEO of Torch Television, creating and overseeing television series that aired on channels like TLC and Teletoon.

Board president Don Enright says the VISFMC is “extraordinarily fortunate” to have Hayman assuming the role, adding that he “brings an extraordinary range of industry experience,” as well as a vast skillset.

“I look forward to sharing my own enthusiasm with those looking for the perfect place to create their film and media projects,” said Hayman.

Growing film industry 

The VISFMC has been around since 1974.

It receives financial support from Creative BC via the Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Development, as well as municipalities such as Victoria, Langford and Saanich, to name a few. Members and local businesses also donate funds.

In the past, the commission has facilitated productions like the Netflix series “Maid,” Fox’s mystery series “Gracepoint,” and Disney’s “Descendants.” The “Young Aurora Teagarden Mysteries,” which airs on Hallmark, is currently being filmed in Victoria between March and April, according to Creative BC.

Under Gilbert’s leadership, the VISFMC says it’s seen “remarkable growth” in the film industry, from $6 million in direct spending in 2010 to $60 million in 2022. Direct spend is the amount of money producers fork out at local businesses, and an 80-acre film studio planned for Malahat land would only further boost these revenues.

Hayman looks forward to what’s to come.

“Kathleen Gilbert and her team have done an amazing job over the past 14 years, and as we enter a new era of film and media production fuelled by new technology and innovation, the possibilities are boundless,” he added.


Ethan MorneauEthan Morneau

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