British Columbia’s film and TV industry continues its hot streak. For the second consecutive year, B.C. hit another record amount that screen productions have spent in the province.
Creative BC announced on July 16 that the number of productions filming in B.C. qualifying for tax-credit certifications rose to 452 (an increase of 34 percent from the previous year) and contributed $3.4 billion to B.C.’s economy in the 2017-2018 fiscal year.
The 31.2 percent increase in expenditures shattered the record set by the previous period of 2016-2017, which amassed $2.6 billion from 338 productions. In comparison, 297 productions brought in $1.9 billion for 2015-2016.
Of the 110 feature films shot in the province in 2017-2018, War for the Planet of the Apes was filmed in Vancouver and Tofino (spending $81 million in B.C.) and Deadpool 2, starring Vancouver-raised actor Ryan Reynolds, filmed in Vancouver, Coquitlam, and Victoria (spending over $100 million) and featured recognizable Vancouver locations including Stanley Park and Lions Gate Bridge.
Other major feature films that have shot in Vancouver and B.C. this past year include The Mountain Between Us (starring Kate Winslet and Idris Elba), Skyscraper (starring Dwayne Johnson and Neve Campbell), Welcome to Marwen (starring Steve Carrell), Project Gutenberg (starring Chow Yun-Fat and Aaron Kwok), Richard Says Goodbye (starring Johnny Depp), Dragged Across Concrete (starring Vince Vaughn and Mel Gibson), and Hard Powder (starring Liam Neeson).
In B.C., 164 TV series were shot here in the 2017-2018 period. Among the TV shows that have filmed in Vancouver over the last year include A Series of Unfortunate Events, Arrow, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, The Exorcist, The Flash, The Good Doctor, Lost in Space, The Magicians, Once Upon a Time, Riverdale, Six, Supergirl, Supernatural, Van Helsing, and The X-Files.
The Reel Thanksgiving Challenge, a fundraiser involving locally shot screen productions such as The Man in the High Castle, raised a record $205,831 for the Greater Vancouver Food Bank.
Several new TV series have chosen to shoot in B.C., including Sabrina the Teenage Witch, the Charmed reboot, Altered Carbon, Blue Book, Snowpiercer, and more.
Direct industry jobs and labour income made up about $1.78 billion.
While foreign productions consisted of 289 projects, 163 B.C.-based productions, which included Meditation Park (starring Sandra Oh) by Vancouver filmmaker Mina Shum, brought in almost $404 million, up by 29 percent from $313 million in the previous year.
Although concerns have been raised about foreign productions squeezing out domestic projects amid heightened demand for locations, crews, and resources, the number of B.C.–based productions had grown by 35 percent from 121 productions in 2016-2017. Domestic feature films increased from 24 to 27 projects while domestic TV series rose from 32 to 45.
U.S.-Canadian TV coproductions that shot in B.C. include Chesapeake Shores (filmed on Vancouver Island), When Calls the Heart, and Travelers.
The Vancouver Island North Film Commission unveiled Vancouver Island Film Studios in Parksville, featuring five sound stages, in October 2017.
More recently, in June, Burnaby’s Eagle Creek Studios completed the construction of a new 15,000-square-foot sound stage in Kelowna for productions in the Okanagan.
Amid an accelerating global demand for content, among the factors contributing to the ongoing industry growth, in addition to the tax credit program, have been a low Canadian dollar; proximity to Los Angeles; well-established animation, visual effects, and post-production industries, as well as local crews and talent; multicultural populations and resources; and diverse locations that cover ocean and shorelines, desert-like regions, forests and mountains, and urban areas.