The local film industry has “weathered a pretty big storm” over the last couple of years, but the chair of B.C.’s Motion Picture Production Industry Association has confidence in the future of the sector.
In an update to Vancouver city council today (June 24), Peter Leitch suggested there’s “a real sense of optimism right now” in the industry.
“I think that Vancouver, despite the challenges, has become a super asset for the industry,” he said.
According to statistics from Vancouver’s film office, there were 1,425 filming days in Vancouver in 2013. Productions in the city last year included 30 series, 11 pilots, 107 commercials, 18 feature films, 14 movies of the week, and 45 documentaries or miniseries.
The first quarter of 2014 has shown a 36-percent increase in business overall, according to city staff.
Ian McKay, the CEO of the Vancouver Economic Commission, said that while there was concern at the beginning of 2013, the year ended “with a bang”.
“I think a lot of the studios and people like Gareth Edwards [the director of Godzilla, which was filmed in Vancouver] have explored other centres with some of their new incentives, and discovered again that it was worth coming back to the tried and true model of Vancouver, where the tax regime is predictable, the exchange rate is favourable, and most importantly the studios in and around Vancouver provide excellent infrastructure, extraordinary crews, technical competence, and a nimbleness that just simply doesn’t exist everywhere else,” McKay told council.
But he noted that Toronto recently hired a new film commissioner, who is mandated to augment the city’s film budget by $3.5 million.
“He said quite clearly part of his mandate is to eat our lunch, so they’re coming after us, folks,” said McKay.
“So all the great work that we’re doing has made great inroads, but the rest of the world is not standing idly by.”
According to McKay, there are more than 20,000 film-industry jobs in the Vancouver region.