Despite another year under COVID-19 restrictions, Vancouver Island’s TV and movie industry had a good showing in 2021, says the area’s film commissioner.
Speaking at Regional District of Nanaimo’s December board meeting, Joan Miller, from Vancouver Island North Film Commission, said the B.C. motion picture industry was “exceptionally busy” in 2021. This past year saw an estimated direct economic boon of $6.5 million for the RDN area, according to a commission report.
“We had the return in your area of Season 5 of Chesapeake Shores,” said Miller. “Again, we had Resident Alien return. We are gearing up again for Season 6 of Chesapeake Shores right now, along with other productions that came through your area, all different sizes, from documentaries, commercials to smaller projects.”
The report stated Chesapeake Shores and Resident Alien production saw 11,066 hotel room nights from Nanaimo to Qualicum Beach this year. In addition, seven TV series, two reality TV series, six commercial still shoots, four natural history documentaries, two shorts and a TV mini-series wrapped production as of November.
When asked by Don Bonner, Nanaimo director, if the commission could raise money from film companies, Miller said it is a certified member of the Association of Film Commissioners International and as such, is not allowed to charge any clients for services.
The commission was hoping for $50,000 in funding from the RDN for 2022, according to the report, and a total of $178,500 from municipal governments from mid- to north Island.
Since 2016, the commission’s total economic impact for the area has been close to $27.4 million, stated the report, and has provided more than 50 people from the RDN area “tuition-free motion picture micro-credentialed film skills training,” which Miller said is recognized by the industry and can transfer over to other sectors.
“In the end, we’ll have about 275 new trained and qualified people from our region, which really helps to build our crew base and attract more production,” she said.
The commission covers an area from Chemainus to Cape Scott.