NANAIMO — After a stellar year of filming around Vancouver Island and in the mid-island region, it's hoped the area can become a hub for larger productions.
Joan Miller, commissioner with the Vancouver Island North Film Commission, told NanaimoNewsNOW there's already filming deals in place for 2019.
“We've had to work hard to prove ourselves, it's not been something that's happening over night, but for the first time in 20-something years, we're going to get to the end of the year and not be on fumes,” she said. “We can clearly see the amount of production we're getting in the region is the result from all the hard work of everyone we're associated with on the island.”
2018 was one of the biggest years ever for filming in the mid-island area, with Chesapeake Shore returning as well as $7 million being spent on the new Sonic the Hedgehog movie in Ladysmith. Miller said there's also numerous other projects in production around the Island which she can't share, but are anticipated to substantially boost local economies.
“We have a TV series filming from October to mid-December and another couple of shows we know are coming in. A few more documentaries and a couple more commercials will come and go before the end of the year.
“Clearly this is one of our biggest years ever.”
Looking to the future, Miller said the commission will travel to the United States numerous times to hopefully build on their success and develop campaigns to promote Vancouver Island as a filming destination, separate from all the shooting which happens in the Lower Mainland.
Specifically, she's working with Paramount Studios to hopefully promote the Town of Ladysmith in the marketing materials for the Sonic the Hedgehog movie, which bows in theatres on Nov. 8, 2019.
Miller said one of the greatest parts of travelling around to various film sets and productions this year was to see the high number of former trainees and students working hard every day on sets in a wide variety of roles.
“That to use is the real sign of success here on the Island.”
Given the large numbers and financial benefit from filming this year, Miller said the commission is working with the Regional District of Nanaimo and other municipalities to hopefully secure more long-term funding, rather than the yearly contracts they currently have.
On Twitter: @spencer_sterrit
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