Hollywood North

The B.C. film and television industry was home to a total of 246 productions in 2010, pumping more than $1 billion into the local economy. The bulk of the productions are based in Metro Vancouver, the heart of “Hollywood North.” B.C. is the third largest centre for film and television production in North America, behind Los Angeles and New York. The sector also supports 30,000 B.C. jobs, with more than 90 per cent of the production crews used hailing from British Columbia.

The city has a rich “Hollywood talent factory” available for film and television production, both behind and in front of the camera. Industry players who grew up or were trained in the region include Michael J. Fox, Seth Rogan, Ryan Reynolds and Kevin Smith. In fact, Smith trained at the renowned Vancouver Film School (www.vfs.com), one of North America’s most successful talent pools for the North American movie industry. Vancouver is also a hotbed of animation, post-production and movie special effects studios and is at the forefront of software and gaming development in North America.

ABC, NBC, CBS, Disney, Polygram, Trimark, Showtime, Viacom, Universal, Warner Brothers and 20th Century Fox are among the leading companies to have based productions in the region. TV shows that have used the city as a backdrop – usually disguising it as the U.S. – include Smallville, Stargate SG-1, The X-Files and Alcatraz.

Recent movies shot in and around Vancouver include X-Men Origins: Wolverine, X-Men 3, Good Luck Chuck, Night at the Museum, The Day the Earth Stood Still, I Love You Beth Cooper, Juno, Fantastic Four, Mission Impossible 4 and Superman: Man of Steel. In addition, the Twilight Saga was mostly filmed here, luring legions of moon-eyed fans to sites across the region.

Recognising its growing importance, provincial and municipal governments started to make Vancouver an attractive production proposition in the 1970s. The province established the B.C. Film Commission (www.bcfilmcommission.com) to clear a path between Hollywood and Vancouver, establishing an office in the world centre of movie-making and creating a package of services to assist U.S. studios. These include expedited permitting, equipment availability audits, location and studio co-ordination and post-production services

For its part, the City of Vancouver operates a film services department to assist urban location shoots with traffic control, parking permits and preferred site access.

Story Idea
Consider a story on Vancouver film locations for visiting TV and movie fans. Contact the B.C. Film Commission for assistance, and then cover the most interesting sites for your readers. Interview a couple of local actors who have appeared in blockbuster Hollywood North movies and coordinate your visit to catch a film shoot on one of the city’s streets. Add an exciting edge to your story by becoming an extra in a production yourself.