KELOWNA (NEWS 1130) – While BC’s film sector has been booming, a massive studio meant to lure large productions away from the Lower Mainland has folded in the Okanagan.
Okanagan Studio‘s opening in Vernon in November of 2016 was trumpeted as a first-of-its-kind venture. It was the only full service film and television facility in the region with enough space to accommodate the kind of large production you’d usually find on the Lower Mainland.
But now it’s up for sale, reportedly for lack of demand for its sprawling spaces. According to the provincial film commission, it comes down to a business decision.
“What we do know is that in the Okanagan, just this summer alone, there was at least six films that were shot across the Okanagan and we see the Valley there is increasingly busy,” says Prem Gill with Creative BC.
According to Gill, last year was the biggest year ever for film and TV production in BC, and there are no signs of it slowing down.
“We remain an active jurisdiction, as a province, that the global industry looks to as a place where they know they will get excellence both in production and in post production.”
Despite Okanagan Studio’s closure, Gill says there are other businesses in the region providing services to the industry.
“In Kelowna, in particular, there is a bit of a digital hub and growing industry there with companies like Bardel Entertainment, Yety Farm who are animation companies. So it is a growing opportunity still, I would say, in regions outside of Metro Vancouver,” she says.
“It remains a very interesting place for productions, for both you know you go from snow-capped mountains to the desert, we have a variety of locations. And there’s other businesses still there who are providing these types of services.”