On Friday representatives from Vancouver Island municipalities, First Nations and Regional Districts gathered in Qualicum Beach to listen to a panel of film industry experts talk about the economic impact of filming on location. Hosted by Island North Film Commission the goal was to inform and build consensus with regard to regional collaboration.
Speakers included executive producer, Casey Grant, (13th Warrior, Snowdogs, Catch and Release, Charlie St Cloud and Alvin & the Chipmunks, Chipwrecked), location manager Kendrie Upton ( Tron, Watchmen Final Destination 5 and CBC’s new television series Arctic Air) and commercial producer Heinrich Beisham, who has worked on more than 3,000 commercials.
In 2011, INfilm serviced 102 productions, with 34 choosing the region to film, with a direct economic impact of $2,142,735, an organization spokesperson said. The financial investment from the provincial and municipal governments in INfilm saw a 21:1 return on the dollar. Compare these numbers to a standard financial investment where 20 cents on the dollar is a good return and there is no doubt that INfilm continues to do a great job.
“We recognize that we live in a time when the basic economic components of many communities are reinventing themselves, whether they are based in natural resources, agriculture or manufacturing,” regional film commissioner Joan Miller said.
“We are witnessing dramatic changes to our local and regional economies. One element of the diversification opportunity is harnessing our unique locations and assets competing worldwide to capture a piece, large or small, of the film and media industries.”
Film production has been and will remain a key function of INfilm’s operation. INfilm has kept up with the ever-accelerating pace, continuing to provide a leadership position in this rapidly changing industry, she said.
“Locations are still important, says Miller, but are now only one segment of a complex, sophisticated and often baffling puzzle, reflecting the drastic changes in the industry and the global economy. In the past we were more aligned with tourism or arts and culture. Not surprisingly, we are now more aligned with economic development and a growing creative economy.”
Commenting on the collaboration between INfilm and the province, BC Film Commissioner Susan Croome notes, “Although unique locations like those found on Vancouver Island are often paramount in a filmmaker’s decision-making process, success in the motion picture industry is also based on outstanding customer service and word of mouth recommendations. B.C.’s future success depends on happy customers today.
“Regional film commissions and regional film offices are the “go to” and “can do” organizations in their regions and ensure that producers have an outstanding production experience. Thank you to Vancouver Island North Film Commission for being a great partner in this terrific industry.”
INfilm president, Mike Wansink, led the opening discussions. He pointed out that the province of British Columbia as well communities and regional districts like Campbell River, Alberni-Clayoquot and the Comox Valley have invested in INfilm as a regional initiative.
“We have been very fortunate to have had a few municipalities and districts provide funding to the operational activities of the office.” states Wansink. “If we value the economic development opportunities that INfilm’s board and staff work so hard to bring to your communities, it is time for the communities who do not contribute to our funding to step up to the plate.”
INfilm is forecasting another strong year with five productions already completed and others gearing up to film on location throughout the region.