This map shows the location of a proposed film studio on Camosun College’s Interurban campus. (Camosun College/Submitted).

Proposed Saanich studio part of a larger push to capture Hollywood dollars

Local film commission set to launch promotional push to attract movie productions

The head of the local film commission welcomes plans to bring a film studio to Saanich.

“The studio is what we need to bring in the big money,” said Kathleen Gilbert, film commissioner for the Vancouver Island South Film and Media Commission.

The Greater Victoria area hosted 25 film productions in 2018 that pumped some $21 million in direct spending into the region in what Gilbert has called the commission’s “best year ever” in breaking in its 2015 record.

A film studio, meanwhile, would allow the region to attract productions that could end up spending anywhere between $80 and $200 million, with anywhere between 30 and 60 per cent going towards local spending.

“I will let you do the math,” she said.

RELATED: Camosun College starts feasibility study to reel in new film studio

She made these comments after Camosun College started discussions with Lexi Development Group on the feasibility of building a film studio, sound stage and educational facilities to an area near the Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence (PISE).

“We’re starting to explore the potential of a film studio in partnership with industry that would complement existing programs, while opening the door to educational programs that support B.C.’s film industry,” Sherri Bell, president of Camosun College, said last month.

Should the project go ahead, the studio would include two sound stages, production facilities and teaching spaces, said Gilbert.

The studio will especially help the region fulfill the need for trained crews, one of the previously identified obstacles to attracting productions, said Gilbert.

“With 25 productions choosing to film in the Capital Region last year and this year looking to be just as busy, we are always struggling to assist producers with local hires,” she said. “Increasing the number of available trained crew will help us in landing more productions.”

The provincial industry generates about $3.4 billion and employs 60,870 people. The region, however, only captures a small fraction of this share, because it lacks the necessary physical infrastructure and personnel.

News of the proposed feasibility will likely play a large part in an event scheduled for Wednesday in which the film commission will launch its ‘We Love Film Too’ campaign on the steps of the Legislature to to promote southern Vancouver Island as a production centre for film and television productions from around the globe. Not that this year has been unproductive.

“This year is shaping up to break last year’s record,” said Gilbert. “[Already] we have had four Front Street television movies including Flip the Romance, Becoming Royal, Last Bridesmaid, Shopping For Love, a Bollywood movie, a local independent film and a feature film, The Boy 2.”

wolfgang.depner@saanichnews.com


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Netflix, Warner Bros filming 10-part series in Colwood

Filming takes place now until March 2021

Earthquake off coast of Washington recorded at 4.1 magnitude

The quake was recorded at a depth of 10 kilometres

UPDATED: Man dies from injuries at Custom House construction site in Victoria

Government Street remains closed as investigation continues

VIJHL season could start Oct. 1, says league president

League awaiting final approval from local health authorities and viaSport

Saanich explores options for adding shelters to parks

Covered areas would encourage safe outdoor socializing during rainy season

B.C. reports 96 new COVID-19 cases, one hospital outbreak

61 people in hospital as summer ends with election

‘Unprecedented’ coalition demands end to B.C. salmon farms

First Nations, commercial fishermen among group calling for action on Cohen recommendations

B.C.’s top doctor says she’s received abuse, death threats during COVID-19 response

Henry has become a national figure during her time leading B.C.’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic

BC Liberals must change gears from election cynicism, focus on the issues: UBC professors

COVID-19 response and recovery is likely to dominate platforms

B.C. could be without a new leader for multiple weeks after Election Day: officials

More than 20K mail-in voting packages were requested within a day of B.C. election being called

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

POLL: Do you plan on allowing your children to go trick or treating this year?

This popular annual social time will look quite different this year due to COVID-19

Majority needed to pass COVID-19 budget, B.C. premier says

John Horgan pushes urgent care centres in first campaign stop

Nanaimo RCMP shut down illegal racing and stunt driving site

Police “swoop in” to seize vehicles and issue violation tickets

Most Read