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U.S. eyes filming in B.C. as production gears up

Last Updated Jun 24, 2020 at 4:10 pm PDT

FILE - Silhouette of a production in progress on a white stage. (iStock photo)

Some studios are already hearing from U.S.-based film production eager to film in B.C.

B.C.'s is seen as a 'safe' destination because of its lower COVID-19 case count in comparison to some states

Production could start picking up again by mid-July

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — It may take a few months to get film production in B.C. closer to full strength, but more U.S.-based productions are eager to head North.

B.C. has entered into Phase 3 of its Restart Plan, meaning filming can get back up and running in the province.

A few weeks after saying American actors are reluctant to come to B.C., Pete Mitchell, president and chief operating officer of Vancouver Film Studios, says that’s no longer a major concern for filming in B.C.

“Well, it’s funny because at the beginning when people said, ‘Quarantine for two weeks,’ everybody thought that was a tremendously long time,” he says. That was three months ago and I think perspectives have changed.”

Even with a new outlook on filming in the province, not everything is sorted out yet.

For now, one of the only sticking blocks is whether actors from the states will be allowed to bring their families with them to the province.

“What I’m a little concerned about is some kind of accommodation in terms of being allowed to bring family with these key individuals would be great,” Mitchell says.

Anyone crossing the border into Canada is still required to self-isolate for 14 days.

Shawn Williamson, a producer with Brightlight Pictures, says he’s also hearing from U.S.-based producers wanting to move projects to B.C.

“The numbers in B.C. provide what appears to be a very safe environment, as long as we continue to follow the rules here, which, I think as a province, we’ve done well. We certainly have an advantage because we are seen as a safe destination,” he says.

“What Bonnie Henry and Adrian Dix have done here have provided an opportunity for us and the general public has been compliant. We’ve all been good corporate citizens and that’s left us in an enviable position internationally.”

He says the COVID-19 numbers in B.C. provide a sense of safety and as long as the province follows the rules, this works as an advantage.

Williamson adds Brightlight has already started some work.

Mitchell and Williamson both expect production to start picking up around mid-July.

“It’s going to be a slower start as people work it out, but we’ll get there and gradually, it’ll ramp up. We’re in a very good position and that’s thanks to luck and it’s thanks to the good work of the people of B.C.,” Mitchell says.