Vancouver Island film industry growing as B.C. posts record year for productions

Vancouver Island film industry growing as B.C. posts record year for productions

WATCH: Movie production in B.C. will top $2.6 billion this year, and the Vancouver Island film industry is seeing some of those gains. April Lawrence reports.

Deborah McCarron makes a living framing pictures in her James Bay store but it’s motion pictures that are keeping her busier than usual.

“I’ve been on over 30 sets in Victoria,” she said.

McCarron is a background performer and this year has kept busy portraying everything from a party guest to a coroner.

“It’s great for the community and it’s great for the Island,” she said.

And the film industry on Vancouver Island is certainly having a great year, with major films like Richard Says Goodbye featuring Johnny Depp, Deadpool with Ryan Reynolds, and Light of My Life starring Oscar winner Casey Affleck that set up shop in Maple Bay.

“We’ve had about 20 shows come through Victoria already this year which is remarkable,” said Vancouver Island South Film Commissioner Kathleen Gilbert.

Movie production in B.C. is at an all-time high with $2.6 billion spent in the last fiscal year, up 35 per cent from the year before.

According to Creative BC, which promotes B.C.’s film industry, the increase is likely do to a higher demand for content with the popularity of services like Netflix, as well as the exchange rate and tax credits.

On southern Vancouver Island, $10 million has been spent by the film industry so far this year.

But Gilbert says there’s potential for massive growth if we can bring in a post-production facility.

“I think it would be a game changer for sure, really we only need to have one big series to bring in the type of show that would employ all of the people and then more here,” she said.

That’s what Deborah McCarron and her colleagues are counting on.

“A lot of people are gearing up and going to school to become background performers or to become actors,” she said.

“People are quite hopeful for the future.”


April LawrenceApril Lawrence

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