B.C. surpasses Ontario as top production locale for films, TV: report

Canadian Media Producers Association says the 2016-2017 fiscal year was strong for Canada overall

British Columbia, the home of blockbuster movie shoots such as “Deadpool 2” and “Star Trek Beyond,” has surpassed Ontario as Canada’s top locale for film and television production for the first time.

A new report by the Canadian Media Producers Association says the 2016-2017 fiscal year was strong for Canada overall, with production volume in the country reaching an all-time high of $8.38 billion.

B.C. has always been in the top three provinces for film and TV shoots, but the report says last year its production volume hit $2.991 billion, just ahead of Ontario with $2.977 billion. Quebec, with its thriving French-language industry, placed third with $1.754 billion.

Robert Wong, vice president of Creative BC, the provincial agency that supports the artistic sector, said increased global demand for content and the recognition that B.C. is a world-class production centre are driving the growth.

He said streaming services, including Netflix, Amazon and Hulu, are the single biggest driver. Netflix’s “A Series of Unfortunate Events” and “Altered Carbon,” premiering Friday, were shot in the province.

“Blockbuster movies, we do get our fair share of them in British Columbia, that’s for sure, but really what we are known for is television production,” Wong said.

“The amount of television production is really where the growth is and that includes the streaming service-type productions.”

The report says the film and television industries generated 24,120 direct full-time jobs in B.C. — only 40 more than Ontario — while it created 14,540 such jobs in Quebec.

“Star Trek Beyond” alone employed more than 3,900 British Columbians and contributed $69 million to the provincial economy during 78 days of shooting, the report adds.

READ MORE: Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson reflects on first time in Vancouver

VIDEO: Riverdale stars step out to meet fans in Langley City

Film and television productions in B.C. receive a 28 per cent tax credit for labour costs. The credit was reduced five points from 33 per cent by the previous provincial Liberal government in 2016.

Wong said a stable and reliable tax policy is key to the success of the industry, but it’s also coupled with an abundance of talent, crews and variety of locations in B.C.

“The one thing that you can’t legislate is basically proximity to Los Angeles,” he added. “Being in the same time zone and two and a half hours away by flight does make a big difference.”

The report does sound a note of caution about the surge in demand for content and the abundance of foreign productions in Canada. Though the country has policies to support local content, capturing more than three per cent of domestic box office for Canadian films remains elusive, it says.

“With record growth across much of Canada’s production sector, there is much to celebrate this year, including the creation of jobs and a significant contribution to the country’s economy,” said Reynolds Mastin, president and CEO of the association in a statement.

“But, among these big numbers are some emerging trends that require attention. As our industry continues to adapt to evolving technologies and changing consumer behaviours, we must ensure that growth benefits our entire sector, including productions that showcase Canadian stories for audiences at home and around the world.”

Laura Kane, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Air support grounded as fires fill the skies with smoke

Heavy smoke throughout the region thwarted efforts of BC Wildfire Saturday, as… Continue reading

Smokey skies don’t dampen spirits at Between the Lakes Pow Wow

Annual Between the Lakes Pow Wow celebrations for the children

Residents raise concerns over Penticton Speedway zoning definition

A public information session will occur sometime in the next month

Evacuation alerts in place for south of Keremeos, Hedley and Princeton

More evacuation alerts - south of Keremeos - were issued Saturday afternoon… Continue reading

‘Beauty amongst such tragedy:’ B.C. photographer captures nature’s trifecta

David Luggi’s photo from a beach in Fraser Lake shows Shovel Lake wildfire, Big Dipper and an aurora

Meet Your Farmer: Ambercott Acres

This week, a look at the permaculture Ambercott Acres farm, from Cawston, BC

Trans Canada Highway opened again near Sicamous

Motor vehicle incident on Highway 1 between Sicamous and Malakwa closed road after 6 p.m.

West Kelowna wildfire evacuation alert rescinded

Alert rescinded Saturday for properties near four lakes within the Gottfriedsen Mountain wildfire

Lions give up late TD in 24-23 loss to Argos

B.C. falls to 3-5, fumbling away last-minute chance in Toronto

Eagle tree cut down legally a 1st for B.C. city

Planned eagle preserve ‘a first for City of Surrey’

Key to the SOEC 2017 winner grateful for experience

Petersen discusses what it’s like to win a year of free concerts at the SOEC

Most Read