Saanich-based director and co-producer Arnold Lim (centre) guides crew members before shooting a scene for the feature film All-in Madonna. The film was shot in and around Victoria and the South Island in 2019. (Photo by Patrick Coble/Blue Lake Films).

Saanich-based director and co-producer Arnold Lim (centre) guides crew members before shooting a scene for the feature film All-in Madonna. The film was shot in and around Victoria and the South Island in 2019. (Photo by Patrick Coble/Blue Lake Films).

Greater Victoria listed #5 among best small cities to live, work as a filmmaker

MovieMaker Magazine slots region in behind New Orleans, Santa Fe, Pittsburgh and Savannah

With no film studio close at hand and professional crew tending to gravitate across the pond, it’s not easy to be a filmmaker in Greater Victoria.

That didn’t stop film production industry website MovieMaker Magazine from placing the region at No. 5 on its top 10 list of best small cities to live and work as a moviemaker, behind (in order) New Orleans; Santa Fe, New Mexico; Pittsburgh and Savannah, Georgia.

“To be the only small city in Canada to be named and be up there with Santa Fe and New Orleans, with the amount of production that goes on in those cities, is amazing,” said Kathleen Gilbert, film commissioner for the Vancouver Island South Film and Media Commission.

Even more amazing, she said, is that Greater Victoria is the only place on the list that does not have a dedicated film studio.

RELATED STORY: Head of Greater Victoria film commission warns of lost economic opportunity

Such criteria as quality of life, affordability, availability of crews, variety of locations and film friendly jurisdictions were taken into account by MovieMaker.

Don Enright, a veteran film and TV producer/director who moved to Victoria with his wife in 2011 after spending years in Los Angeles and New York, is a big fan of the region and its attractions for filmmakers.

“We were both were in high-pressure jobs and we were thinking about getting out, and then I saw this place,” he said, recalling his first visit to the region to shoot the Lifetime romantic comedy Perfect Romance in 2004. “I called my wife up and said ‘I think I’ve found it.’”

He had been filming in Canada for years, mostly in Toronto, but was told he had to shoot the film in March. Someone suggested Victoria and he flew in to check it out. “I got off the airplane, got into a taxi and 100 yards later saw cows at the airport, I was knocked out by the place.”

Enright, who these days serves as secretary of the executive board for the local film commission, was also struck by more practical reasons for shooting here, like Greater Victoria’s ability to stand in for other cities.

ALSO READ: View Royal grocery store will temporarily close to film Netflix series

He told a story about filming the 2007 TV crime drama Cleaverville here, a film set in New Jersey. After it aired, Enright said, “we got a call from the New Jersey film commission asking us where in New Jersey it was shot.”

Not only do the transformable locations, mild climate and continued public appreciation of film crews working here make the region attractive, the laid-back yet dedicated nature of Island technicians and crew makes them a pleasure to work with.

“People have this openness that lends itself to a cohesive work unit,” he said. “The thing I’ve always loved about shooting here was that idea you could build a sense of team. The whole is bigger than the individual.”

Find the full top 10 list, and read about Vancouver making the big city list at No. 5, at moviemaker.com.


 

Do you have a story tip? Email:don.descoteau@blackpress.ca. Follow us on Instagram.  
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sooke Lake Reservoir, shown here, is the primary storage site for Greater Victoria’s drinking water supply. The Capital Regional District just purchased a property on the north edge of the water supply area to help further protect the supply. (Photo courtesy CRD)
CRD acquires 58.7-hectare watershed to further protect Greater Victoria drinking water supply

Forested area near Grant Lake is part of the Cowichan Valley Regional District

The Sooke Fine Arts Show will be online again this year, showcasing unique artworks from Vancouver Island and B.C.’s coastal island artists from July 23 to Aug. 2. (File - Sooke News Mirror)
Sooke Fine Arts Show goes virtual for second year in a row

Art exhibition and show set for July 23 to Aug. 2

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen, all 20, drown in the Sooke River in February 2020. (Contributed photos)
Coroner’s report confirms cause of death of three men at Sooke River in 2020

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen drown while ‘puddle-jumping’ in pickup truck

Amy Morrison was surprised to find a note on her windshield for parking on a public street with no restrictions in south Oak Bay where she works. (Amy Morrison Photo)
Oak Bay resident uses notes to claim street parking

‘You must have noticed, we park in front of OUR HOUSE,’ note writer says

The Pacheedaht First Nation is planning a $1-million expansion to its campground in Port Renfrew. (Pixabay photo)
Expanded camping announced for Pacheedaht Campground

$1-million project is part of the B.C. Rural Economic Recovery program

Dr. Bonnie Henry leaves the podium after talking about the next steps in B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
COVID: 589 new cases in B.C., and 7 new deaths

No new outbreaks being reported Feb. 26

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

Gina Adams as she works on her latest piece titled ‘Undying Love’. (Submitted photo)
‘Toothless’ the kitty inspires B.C. wood carver to break out the chainsaw

Inspired by plight of a toothless cat, Gina Adams offers proceeds from her artwork to help animals

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents bill to delay B.C.’s budget as late as April 30, and allow further spending before that, B.C. legislature, Dec. 8, 2020. (Hansard TV)
How big is B.C.’s COVID-19 deficit? We’ll find out April 20

More borrowing expected as pandemic enters second year

The first of 11 Dash 8 Q400 aircraft's have arrived in Abbotsford. Conair Group Inc. will soon transform them into firefighting airtankers. (Submitted)
Abbotsford’s Conair begins airtanker transformation

Aerial firefighting company creating Q400AT airtanker in advance of local forest fire season

The Canada Revenue Agency says there were 32 tax fraud convictions across the country between April 2019 and March 2020. (Pixabay)
Vancouver man sentenced to 29 months, fined $645K for tax evasion, forgery

Michael Sholz reportedly forged documents to support ineligible tax credits linked to homeownership

Then-Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson looks on as MLA Shirley Bond answers questions during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria. (Chad Hipolito / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
B.C. Liberal party to choose next leader in February 2022

Candidates have until Nov. 30 to declare whether they are running

After nearly 10 months of investigations, Mounties have made an arrest in the tripping of an elderly woman in Burnaby this past April. (RCMP handout)
VIDEO: Mounties charge suspect for tripping elderly woman near Metrotown in April

32-year-old Hayun Song is accused of causing bodily harm to an 84-year-old using her walker

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Feb. 23

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Most Read