Vancouver reinstated as Hollywood North
By Aaron Guillen, Staff Reporter
It goes without argument that 2015 was a fantastic year for film and TV productions in Metro Vancouver. Film productions in and around the city include big titles from Deadpool, the highest grossing R-rated movie of all time, to highly anticipated sequels such as Star Trek Beyond and War for the Planet of the Apes. TV productions such as The 100, DC: Legends of Tomorrow, The Flash, iZombie, Supernatural, Arrow, Zoo, and Wayward Pines are among a handful of small-screen shows filmed here. Currently, Wayward Pines is filming near Burke Mountain, and Zoo at Sasamat Lake, both in Coquitlam.
With the majority of foreign film crews running to Hollywood North, there’s an important aspect that plays to Vancouver’s growing popularity: the value of the loonie.
The Canadian dollar, compared to the US dollar, has seen a rollercoaster of a ride in the past year, starting at 0.79 cents last March, reaching a peak of 0.84 at the end of May, plummeting to a jaw-dropping low of 0.69 by mid-January, and bouncing back to a current rate at 0.77.
While the dollar is keeping the productions coming, a contributing factor to the city’s success simply might be government subsidies.
In 2013, the BC film industry saw a massive depletion in production and began urging the government to raise the tax credits. While a viral “Save BC Film” campaign swept the province, government decided against taking action—and three years later, it seems like they made the best decision.
“BC made an ultimately very wise move to hold steady, and the tax credits here have proven the most sustainable,” said Shawn Williamson, chairman of Burnaby-based Brightlight Pictures, to the Vancouver Sun.
“It’s an ever-evolving issue,” he continued. “But we understand the government looking to be fiscally responsible with how much they want to provide in credits.”
According to Vancity Buzz, film permits have increased by 30 per cent within the past month compared to 2015. Last year, over two million dollars was injected into the local film industry, with millions of dollars paid to locals. This record-breaking streak is projected to skyrocket as 2016 continues.
“We see firsthand the enormous positive impact on film and TV productions on our city every day,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson in a statement to Vancity Buzz.
“As one of Vancouver’s high-growth industries, film is a big contributor to our nation-leading economic growth. Vancouver is home to world-leading talent in the film industry and the City is committed to supporting all levels and aspects of production.”