Vancouver named second best North American city for filmmakers

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      Movie Maker Magazine continues to rate Metro Vancouver as one of the top places in North America for filmmakers to live and work.

      Although Vancouver tied with New York City for first place last year, the magazine rated Vancouver as the number-two city in this year's assessement, published on January 16.

      Atlanta, Georgia, reclaimed the top spot, as it had been named number one back in 2016 as well. The publication credited its incentive program for its attractiveness.

      In Vancouver's favour, the article cited Hollywood blockbuster productions that shot here over the past year, such as Skyscraper, starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Neve Campbell, and Deadpool 2, starring Vancouver's own Ryan Reynolds.

      Dwayne Johnson was one of many screen stars who filmed a Hollywood blockbuster in Vancouver in 2017.

      Other major productions shot here this past year include: The Predator, starring Boyd Holbrook and Olivia Munn; Hard Powder, starring Liam Neeson; Richard Says Goodbye, starring Johnny Depp; Dragged Across Concrete, starring Mel Gibson and Vince Vaughn; Light of My Life, starring and directed by Casey Affleck; and Project Gutenberg, starring Chow Yun-Fat and Aaron Kwok.

      Of course, that's in addition to numerous TV pilots and series shot here, including Supernatural, Once Upon a Time, Riverdale, UnReal, the Arrowverse TV series such as Arrow and The Flash, and more. 

      In the 2016-17 fiscal year, film production expenditures in B.C. hit a record $2.6 billion, an upward climb of 35 percent from the previous period. There were 338 productions that qualified for the province's film tax credits (compared to 297 in the previous year).

      "Vancouver’s neo-Hollywood reputation is well-earned," Movie Maker states, "with its blossoming infrastructure of 2.5 million square feet of stage space on over 100 stages, the world’s largest VFX/animation cluster, 17 educational institutions with motion picture production as a discipline, and 3,000 graduates per year entering media from B.C.’s post-secondary programs, as well as abundant woodsy-green shooting locations (see: any X-Men film)."

      Although the article noted the availability of forests as shooting locations, Creative BC CEO Prem Gill pointed out in an interview with the Georgia Straight in October that Vancouver benefits from easy access to British Columbia's geographic diversity, including mountains (such as those used in the filming of The Mountain Between Us) and arid terrain in the B.C. Interior, not to mention coastal areas, oceans, and islands. 

      Local filmmaker Mina Shum shot her most recent feature Meditation Park in East Vancouver.

      On the independent side of things, Vancouver filmmaker Mina Shum, who shot Meditation Park in East Vancouver, is quoted in the article. She says there is “strong indie community of filmmakers” and calls the local scene a “welcoming place”.

      Hollywood North came in one spot ahead of Hollywood itself. Los Angeles came in third place, New York City dropped to fifth place, Toronto came in at number eight, and Montreal was listed as number 10.

      The publication took in a number of factors into consideration about each city, including film activity over the past year, film infrastructure, film commissions and other non-profits, and film festivals, in addition to population size, transportation, local and state tax credits, and architectural and geographical distinctiveness. 

      You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at @cinecraig or on Facebook