The corner of 56 Avenue and 203 Street in Langley was transformed into a Galaxy Burger joint for filming of the movie Super Buddies. Miranda Gathercole Langley Times file photo

Alberni Valley not forgotten by film industry: INFilm

Commissioner for INFilm visited Port Alberni city council chambers last month

Port Alberni has been getting plenty of interest from film and television productions, according to the Vancouver Island North Film Commission (INFilm).

Joan Miller, commissioner for INFilm, visited Port Alberni city council chambers and the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District board room last month to discuss the commission’s work on Vancouver Island.

Miller’s visit came after a delegation from Port Alberni resident, Sandy McRuer, who is concerned that Port Alberni is missing out on the Island’s flourishing film industry.

READ: Port Alberni missing out on Island’s flourishing film industry, says insider

Miller explained that although INFilm is the “first stop” when it comes to the film industry on Vancouver Island, the commission cannot influence where productions choose to go.

“They go where they need to go,” she explained during a council meeting on Monday, March 11.

The final decision is usually based on access to local crews and equipment, as well as accommodations. INFilm has been working to bring in local training for film and television crews— most recently with a pilot project through North Island College. But accommodation has been the deciding factor in “three or four” major productions choosing another location, instead of Port Alberni.

“You need to have availability to put in 200 to 300 rooms at a time at a very short notice,” said Miller. “They had to go somewhere where they could put up the crew.”

INFilm has 252 unique locations in the Alberni-Clayoquot region listed on its online database, and more than 5,000 images. The database continues to expand as requests come in. One of the most popular locations in Port Alberni, Miller said, is Catalyst Mill—which has good availability with some buildings and operations shut down.

Another of Port Alberni’s “greatest assets,” said Miller, is McLean Mill and the train system, which was recently featured in a Toyota commercial.

It was a particularly exciting commercial, said Miller, because it was showcasing Vancouver Island.

“We never play Vancouver Island, we’re always somewhere else,” she laughed. “It gave us all this extra promotion through the big Toyota commercial in the states.”

The trains will not be an option for film productions in 2019, as tourist train operations have been cancelled for the year.

READ: City of Port Alberni cancels tourist train operations for 2019

Councillor Cindy Solda asked if the Alberni Valley was losing potential revenue because it doesn’t have a major airport. Although the Alberni Valley Regional Airport recently underwent an expansion, it does not have scheduled carrier flights at this time.

“That is a key tool,” Miller admitted. “It makes a big difference in part of their decision.”

The Hallmark Channel’s Chesapeake Shores, for example, which films in Qualicum Beach, needed an airport to fly in their “day crew.”

READ: Island-filmed TV series gets third season

The decision to film in a particular location, however, is based on a lot of factors, said Miller. Smaller productions might not require an airport with regular scheduled flights. Overall, an airport is just one piece of the puzzle.

“Any of those pieces coming together helps us get out there and promote it,” said Miller.

Although Miller can’t name any of the productions currently scouting in Port Alberni due to confidentiality reasons, she said that there is interest. Port Alberni also benefits from its economic development manager, Pat Deakin. Miller called Deakin “the best economic development officer” she has worked with in her career.

“There’s a lot of people travelling through here looking all the time,” she added. “And we know the right project will land.”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Port Alberni’s Timbre! Choir celebrates diversity of music

Spring concert is scheduled for April 28 at ADSS Theatre

Alberni Valley Minor Hockey hands out hardware

Alberni Valley Minor Hockey Association wrapped up its 2018-19 season with an awards ceremony

Drag races headed back towards Alberni airport for 2019

Drag racing association receives approval, pending agreement with ACRD

Port Alberni author Gwynne Hunt releases new book

Unlocking the Tin Box is a true tale of family dysfunction

VALLEY SENIORS: Ernie and Margaret Bigelow enjoy 60 years of marriage

The couple met in Port Alberni when Ernie bought a “shack” next door to Margaret

VIDEO: Killer whales hunt for seals in Vancouver harbour

Bigg’s killer whales feed on marine mammals like seals, sea lions, dolphins and even other whales

VIDEO: B.C.’s waving granny gets incredible send-off from school kids

Tinney Davidson has been waving at students on their way to school for over 11 years, but is moving in a month

Struggling B.C. adoption agency elects new board that intends to keep it open

The previous board announced that Choices would close May 31

Island-born Snowbirds pilot enjoying homecoming in skies over Comox

Logan Reid once stood clinging onto the fence outside the Comox Air… Continue reading

Attack on student in Courtenay ‘way more than bullying’, says mom

A Comox Valley mother said “it was way more than bullying” at… Continue reading

Vancouver man, 19, charged in human trafficking case involving teen girl

The 16-year-old girl was reported missing and later discovered in Vancouver

Blaine, Wash. inn owner, charged with smuggling people into B.C., granted bail

Robert Joseph Boule ordered to turn away anyone indicating a plan to enter Canada illegally

Most Read