Okanagan city potential backdrop for ‘big studio’ film

Two feature films could be shot in Vernon, thanks to Vernon Army Camp and the Towne Cinema

Vernon is in the running to host a pair of movie shoots, thanks to major parts of its heritage.

Okanagan Film Commission commissioner Jon Summerland told Regional District of North Okanagan directors Wednesday that a “big studio” is looking at using the Vernon Army Camp.

“It’s in the hands of the Department of National Defence right now,” said Summerland, adding there could be a potential glitch: “The script is maybe not so friendly to the military, so we’ll see if that happens.

“If it does, that will be a huge footprint and there will be stars.”

The other feature movie that could come to Vernon depends on choice of historical cinemas.

“One feature film in particular is looking between Vernon and Oliver,” said Summerland. “The main driver is your Towne Theatre. It’s either the Oliver Theatre or this one (Towne). Whichever one wins, the whole movie will go to that town.”

Summerland told directors the film industry brings in $3.5 billion per year for the province, $31 million of that comes from the Okanagan region.

RELATED: Okanagan film industry brings in $32 million

There have been movie or TV shoots going every week in B.C. in 2019, though no full feature movies until April.

A total of 452 movies were shot in B.C. in the fiscal year of 2017/18, which included more than 450 producers and businesses, and more than 60,000 workers.

The nearly $3.5 billion contribution to the provincial economy from the film industry includes physical production, visual effects and animation.

“The good thing about the Okanagan is we’re not just shooting movies here. We have animation, special effects, post-production now, soundstage, we can do pretty much everything,” said Summerland.

RELATED: Region taking a leading role in film

One challenge, though, is summertime filming, thanks to wildfires.

“Had a major player in town, one I’d been working on for years. It’s a TV series with a major studio that was shooting a winery in Santa Barbara,” said Summerland. “It was super cool and they came in the worst two weeks of summer that you could have come. Summers are already hard to film because it’s expensive. Now, it’s ‘you can’t come to the Okanagan in the summer (because of the fires).’”

Related: Hopkins’ movie films in Vernon

Regional film commissions, said Summerland, have recently hired a firm to draw up a business plan for all of the commissions, so they’re actually working together instead of against one another.

Also tentatively slated for 2019, is the Enderby Entertainment series Beneath.

Summerland said it will come with a $45 million below the line budget. The British/ Chinese, Zycon Media launch their first animation studio in Canada here in Mind’s Eye has three more scripts to be filmed in the year ahead named, Undying, Deadlines and Gunner.

And Imagination Park will be filming their Chinese co-production feature Red Dragon in Osoyoos in spring 2019.

In the summer of 2018, Nicolas Cage was in Vernon to film A Score to Settle. In the spring of 2017, Distorted – a film featuring Christina Ricci and John Cusack were in the North Okanagan.

Related: Nicolas Cage films in Vernon

Related: Film crew embraces Vernon

–With files from Kathy Michaels, Kelowna Capital News



roger@vernonmorningstar.com

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