New film program at NIC should alleviate local crew concerns


Vancouver Island loses film and tv productions every year due to the lack of local film crews. 


Chesapeake Shores is one of the latest American tv series to be filmed on Vancouver Island.

Crews can often be found in Parksville, Qualicum or Nanaimo, which has been used as a fill-in for New York City.

But the crews for many productions shot on the island often have to come from Vancouver because there aren’t enough experienced people on the island.

“There’s been a demand for this ever since we started working on the original Scarlett Letter. I mean the first thing they say after they find a location is who locally can we hire?” said Vancouver Island North Film Commissioner Joan Miller. 

The answer is usually ‘no one’ and the island has lost many films because of it, but that is now expected to change with a new pilot program being offered at North Island College.

“$488,000 is going to support a new skills training pilot program right there at North Island College that will help fill that growing labour need for the film and tv industry” Parksville, Qualicum MLA Michelle Stilwell told a crowd gathered for the announcement at the Campbell River campus of North Island College. 

“Two streams. One geared towards trade students that will teach them things like audio, visual, lighting, sound and set design and then there’s another stream that’s production assistance so they’re going to learn location management, production management and how to basically make things go a lot smoother for the crews” said NIC Vice President of Strategic Initiatives Randall Heidt. 

The programs will be offered at campuses in Campbell River and Port Alberni.

Demand is expected to be high for the 20 to 30 spots available and upon graduation they will fill an immediate need in the industry.

“The problem we have right now with it being as busy as it is in the industry is that we’re just not getting properly trained people. This initiative here will give us a good entry level starting point and I look forward to the individuals coming through it and being able to work in this industry” Chesapeake Shores Construction Coordinator Hal Keown told CHEK News. 

“This is going to make a huge difference 23 years down the line that we’re really able to begin the process of developing skilled local crew” added Miller. 

BC remains one of the top production centres in North America with 297 film and television productions in 2015, 2016 with direct spending of $2billion.

Dean StoltzDean Stoltz

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