Creative BC’s two Location Consultants, Seán Cummings and Mathew Parry, were recently tasked with making visits to each of the Regional Film Offices in the Province with the intent of consolidating knowledge of the locations and production infrastructure in each jurisdiction, and of strengthening working relationships with each of film commissioners in the different regions. To date short, fast and furious tours have been made of three of the regions, with plans to connect with the remaining film offices penciled in for later in the year.
The Thompson-Nicola Regional District was the first region to be visited, with Film Commissioner, Victoria Weller, taking Seán and Mathew to 23 specific locations over two days. Included in the tour was a trip to the vast complex of buildings known as the Tranquille Property – a site initially built as a TB sanatorium in 1907, which later became a mental hospital in the 1950s. Nowadays the dozens of structures dotted around the compound, many in different architectural styles and in varying states of repair, offer filmmakers an enormous variety of looks. And variety is definitely the watchword in the Thompson-Nicola, with an on-screen ability to play Afghanistan, Syria, Mexico, Wyoming, Tibet, Egypt, Pakistan, Arizona… The possibilities are endless!
Northern Vancouver Island was next on the list where the guys met up with Film Commissioner, Joan Miller, and Tanya Price, Locations and Special Projects Liaison, at the Island North Film Commission. Over another two whirlwind days, Mathew and Seán saw a terrific assortment of locations including a distillery, a filmable outdoor water tank/stage, hospitals, train stations, marinas, airports and the Mount Washington Alpine Resort which was home to film crew at the time of their visit, taking advantage of the late-lying snow to shoot a Christmas-themed movie. Another particularly stunning location the Consultants saw was a former paper mill with a complex of buildings spread over 400 acres of waterside property, offering up a range of ready-made industrial and post-apocalyptic locations alongside potential studio space and production offices. Both this site and the region as a whole are bursting with creative potential.
Heading south, history abounds in the territory represented by the Vancouver Island South Film & Media Commission which is where Mathew and Seán headed for the third of their familiarization visits. After meeting up with Film Commissioner, Kathleen Gilbert, at the organization’s offices near the BC Parliament buildings, Locations Coordinator, Brian Globus took Mathew and Seán on a whistle-stop tour of the capital region’s historic highlights. Both Hatley and Craigdarroch Castles were thoroughly explored, with visits to St Ann’s Academy, Fort Rod Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse keeping up the heritage quotient. A tour of Victoria’s notable neighborhoods rounded off the visit, with just a quick detour to a potential soundstage facility en route to the ferry.
Seán and Mathew are visiting locations in the Okanagan next, with further expeditions planned to the Kootenays, Columbia Shuswap, Cariboo Chilcotin regions and Northern BC.