‘Really exciting’: Major film production coming to downtown Nanaimo

‘Really exciting’: Major film production coming to downtown Nanaimo

Part of downtown Nanaimo will soon be closed off as a major Hollywood production rolls into town.

Wharf Street will soon take centre stage as films crews move in for the production that producers and film officials are keeping under wraps.

“INFilm has been working with it for some time, close to a year now, and beyond that I can’t say anything due to NDA’s,” said Brandon Lepine with the Vancouver Island North Film Commission.

The Downtown Nanaimo Business Association has announced three sections of downtown will be closed for the production in three phases.

It will start on Wharf Street on April 22 until May 31, and move to Skinner Street in early May and then to part of Commercial Street later in the month.

Impact on businesses

A clothing store owner believes the production will be positive for downtown.

“Cautiously optimistic,” said Leon Drzewiecki, Owner of NYLA Fresh Thread. “I think it’s really exciting that we’re going to have production here in downtown Nanaimo. That’s really kind of cool for our little downtown. At the same time, interruptions to our store could happen.”

Drzewiecki is worried closed areas for filming will stop customers from coming to his store.

“In the area of the production it sounds like they’re going to be compensating everybody in that area. We’re just outside and at this point we’re not being compensate at all,” he said.

“There has been talks maybe they’ll get us some gift certificates or do something to kind of compensate us for the interruption to our business over the next few weeks.”

While the production hasn’t been named, the hit HBO post-apocalyptic show called The Last of Us has been filming across British Columbia since January. Season one was filmed in over 180 locations in Alberta and pumped more than $182 million into the province’s economy.

The Vancouver Island North Film Commission says 2024 will be better than last year.

“We faired the strikes pretty well but it was a slower year, 2024 is looking excellent. We have several productions filming right now on the Island. We have more coming up,” said Lepine.

Those in Nanaimo say having a film production here will be positive.

“Great. It’s going to present some opportunities and bring some extra money into the community,” said Carlo Lagrotteria, a Nanaimo resident.

The film commission says it’s expanding it’s location database, helping train film students and attending industry conferences to bring more film productions to Vancouver Island.

RELATED: The last season of Cheasapeake Shores was filmed on Vancouver Island in 2022

(Downtown Nanaimo Business Association)

Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

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