Lights, camera, action: Camosun advances plans for film studio, education centre

Lights, camera, action: Camosun advances plans for film studio, education centre
Camosun College
Artist rendering of new film studio at Camosun College's Interurban campus in Saanich.

Camosun College is hoping to get the cameras rolling and tap into one of B.C.’s billion-dollar industries, as plans for a film studio at its Interurban campus move forward.

A commercial film studio combined with educational components is one step closer to reality with the posting of a Request for Pre-Qualification on BC Bid, according to Camosun in a news release Friday.

“The process is intended to result in an innovative proposal that benefits the college, students and the local economy,” said Geoff Wilmshurst, the college’s vice president of partnerships, in the release.

Camosun says the request invites respondents to become pre-qualified to design, build and fund a film and digital media education centre in Saanich in exchange for a 99-year lease.

Responses will determine a shortlist of respondents who will then be invited to the second stage through a Request for Proposals before Camosun picks its preferred proponent.

“The next steps include an all-proponent meeting later this month with a submission deadline of Sept. 30. Exact dimensions, size, layout, timelines and costs will be finalized with the input of the preferred proponent,” it said in its release.

In spring 2021, the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training provided $150,000 to help Camosun explore educational opportunities for students in the B.C. film industry and the potential development of an on-campus film studio.

That led to the college’s new micro-credential FILM 100V – Film Production Assistant, which first welcomed students in June as the number of film productions and demand for trained crew on the South Island soared.

Kathleen Gilbert, the film commissioner for the Vancouver Island South Film and Media Commission, said earlier this year that there have been “large projects” that wanted to film in Victoria but couldn’t due to no film studio locally.

Speaking with CHEK News, Gilbert said the South Island film industry saw a direct spend of $54.6 million in 2021 and $55 million in 2020 despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

B.C.’s film industry generates approximately $3.4 billion of revenue annually, with most of the work in Vancouver, according to Camosun.

READ ALSO: Langford film studios pass first reading, move onto public hearing

Ethan MorneauEthan Morneau

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