Okanagan a hot spot for film industry

Despite wet, smoky year Okanagan attracts $30 million in film production

Flooding and fires didn’t stop the film industry from coming to the Okanagan last year.

Production companies, animators and businesses involved with visual effects spent about $30 million while working in the Okanagan in 2017.

The money was spent in a variety of ways from paying for labour or accommodations while in the area to supplies needed for production.

“Even with the smoke and high waters, and we lost four movies and two high-end commercial productions, it still was a very successful year,” Andrew Jakubeit, chair of the Okanagan Film Commission, said to fellow directors at the recent Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen meeting.

In 2017, films, commercials and TV Shows were shot all throughout the Regional District Okanagan-Similkameen.

Osoyoos was the hot spot for film work in 2017 with five different projects rolling in and around the community.

Several movies and short films were shot in and around the community including a Hallmark TV movie called Summer in the Vineyard and a segment for a Discovery Channel show called What on Earth, which filmed at Spotted Lake.

The RDOS provides $35,000 of taxpayer funds to the film commission every year to help offset its work.

Jakubeit said tax credits that are given to production companies, animators and other facets of the film industry are huge incentives.

Jakubeit noted Minds Eye Entertainment, a large Canadian production company, moved from Alberta to the Okanagan partly because of the tax breaks.

“The cost savings are large and the area is beautiful,” he said.

Companies that film in the Okanagan are eligible for the Film Incentive BC Tax Credit. In the Okanagan, a 53.5 per cent credit for money spent on labour on all productions filmed is offered and for animation and special FX shows the credit is 69.5 per cent. To qualify 51 per cent of the production must be made in the Okanagan.

The Okanagan Film Commission is currently working to secure the filming of 12 projects throughout the region in the next year. The estimated cost of the productions is $40 million.

The film commission has a budget of $229,000 and receives funding from the RDOS ($35,000), Central Okanagan Regional District ($120,000 + $10,000 in-kind), North Okanagan Regional District $29,000; Boundary Economic Development Council ($5,000), and the Province of B.C. ($30,000).

Local project breakdown:

Osoyoos

Hallmark TV movie titled Summer in the Vineyard ($525,000)

A made for TV movie titled Adam ($525,000)

A show for Discovery Channel called What on Earth filmed at Spotted Lake ($16,000)

A short film titled Thumbs Up filmed by BC Used to be Great ($52,500)

Short film Two Thumbs Up ($37,500)

Summerland

Some scenes from movie Daughter of the Wolf produced by Mind’s Eye were shot in Summerland (total project $6 million scenes also shot in Vernon, West Kelowna).

Oliver

A documentary series titled The Dark Side of Life-Saving produced by Optic Nerve Films Inc. filmed two days in Oliver ($8,000)

Grand Tour (Top Gear) TV show

Manning Park

TV series Lost In Space ($800,000)

Several other projects were filmed in part in the RDOS including The Worlds Most Dangerous Roads, A Father’s Nightmare, Peace, and others.

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