Squamish doesn’t need a film commission to draw Hollywood’s $30 billion-a-year industry to town, but it should get its house in order, says a B.C. Film Commission official.
In 2012, 22 productions shot in Squamish, pumping an estimated $1.5 million into the community’s economy. Now in the midst of film and TV show pilot season, District of Squamish officials and production industry stakeholders are examining ways to boost both of last year’s figures in 2013.
It’s a competitive field, said Gordon Hardwick, B.C. Film Commission manager of community affairs.
“There are over 250 film commissions internationally trying to take this film business away from B.C.,” Hardwick told the District of Squamish council at its Committee of the Whole on Tuesday (Feb. 12).
There are steps Squamish can take to position itself well within the industry, he noted. Creating its own film commission, which comes with overhead, is not one of them, Hardwick said.
Consistency is the key to attracting productions, Hardwick said, adding that outlining procedures and what’s expected of productions is the first step.
The B.C Film Commission handed the district $10,000 to build on an inventory of unique locations available as filming sites, Hardwick said. Formation of a collaborative, which would compile a production resource list of Squamish residents and businesses, is also a worthwhile measure, he said.
“Make sure people know that you are open for business,” Hardwick said.
This year, the B.C. Film Commission, soon to be under the umbrella of the provincial government’s new B.C. Creative Futures, is rolling out “Partners on Screen.” The project challenges local governments to demonstrate consistent regulatory practices and meet industry needs in terms of flexibility, responsiveness and cost, Hardwick said. Currently, the pilot program is only open to Metro Vancouver municipalities, but by summer it will expand to other regions, he noted, adding that Squamish should sign up.
Coun. Patricia Heintzman suggested creating a Sea to Sky Corridor office in Squamish that deals with filming requests throughout the region, noting that may aid productions filming in multiple locations, such as Britannia Beach or the Squamish Valley. Regional business licences could also benefit the industry, she said.
A regional business licence is an extremely valuable tool, Hardwick agreed. As for a central office, he admitted rural and regional municipalities present challenges.
Last month, more than 60 Squamish production stakeholders came together to discuss strategies to keep and grow filming in Squamish. A list of approximately 40 local film professionals has been compiled and a collective of film workers is forming, said Glenne Campbell, Squamish resident and Emmy-Award-nominated costume designer.
“We are so active,” she said.
To learn more about the collective or add your name to the talent list email firstname.lastname@example.org.