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

Gabriel Swift, 23, is one of three Victoria filmmakers chosen to receive $20,000 Telus Storyhive grants to produce Local Heroes documentaries. (Courtesy of Gabriel Swift)
Three Victoria filmmakers producing ‘local heroes’ documentaries with $20,000 grants

Telus Storyhive providing $20,000 to 40 Western Canada productions

Goldstream Food Bank president Gayle Ireland is the Goldstream Gazette’s 2021 Local Hero as Community Volunteer of the Year. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
Two-week stint at Goldstream Food Bank turns into 35 years of volunteer service

Goldstream Food Bank’s Gayle Ireland is the 2021 Community Volunteer of the Year

Council has recommended that the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB) approve a cannabis retail application by Buds Cannabis. It plans to open the store in the 9700-block of Second Street. It would be the business’ second outlet (it has an outlet in Central Saanich) and the second such business in Sidney. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Sidney recommends approval of licence for second pot shop

Councillors also push back against public concerns about Sidney’s image

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

Debra Sheets, a University of Victoria nursing professor, is starting Victoria’s first Memory Cafe program for adults with dementia and their caregivers. (Photo: Debra Sheets)
Memory Cafe Victoria hopes to connect local dementia community

Adults with dementia and their caregivers will participate in weekly Zoom socializing and activities

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

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