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Vancouver Film Studios recognized for high social, environmental standards

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

The B-Corporation designation has been granted to fewer than four thousand companies

COO Pete Mitchell says having this status should draw even more production to B.C.

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — A Vancouver-based film and TV studio has joined an elite group of companies known for putting people before profits.

The B-Corporation designation has been granted to fewer than four thousand companies — including Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream.

Vancouver Film Studios President and COO Pete Mitchell says having this status should draw even more production to B.C.

“They weigh concerns of employees, sustainability, and community engagements equally with financial performance.”

He adds the certification puts them in a group with other socially-conscious companies.

“The Disneys and Apples of the world who have the same intentions and, so they know when they come to our facilities what to expect and the standards to which we’ve been holding ourselves.”

Mitchell also has praise for Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry because she’s made it possible for crews to keep working during the pandemic.

“She has better information than any of us. Obviously, it’s frustrating with what we can and can’t do, but she has been bang on with her judgment … Because, if you look at California, they went on hiatus from their shows in December for two weeks and they haven’t come back because it’s obviously a much worse situation down there.”

Production in B.C. safe, strong amid pandemic 

He adds only a few shows in the Vancouver area have had COVID-19 exposures because crews understand what’s at stake if they’re not responsible.

“Production has been going non-stop since we restarted, up to 70 [projects] at one point. People are looking to B.C. wanting to know how they can emulate us,” he says.

“Everybody’s observing social distancing, wearing masks and checking in with their productions to make sure that they don’t have any symptoms and washing their hands. So, it’s really been a very responsible kind of response from that group of people and I think it’s because they know, if they don’t do it, the industry shuts down. It’s so dependent on people. It’s not an automated industry and it’s very inspiring actually.”

Mitchell tells NEWS 1130 he’s proud and impressed with how crews working at Vancouver Film Studios have been able to co-exist with COVID-19.

“The creativity, resourcefulness, adaptability and all those things really are the key to us being a success and also, I’ve got to say the population of our province who does a really good job of listening to our public health officer and doing what she says.”

RELATED: Vancouver production booming again thanks to B.C.’s management of pandemic: studio head

He says the BC Film Commission has been instrumental in coordinating current protocols along with WorkSafeBC and various unions.

“The film industry is so adaptable. When you go to set, any given day, you might be shooting a sunny scene with people in bathing suits and it snows or you might be having a world-wide pandemic, so basically, they adapt and move on. They take the people who test positive off set and bring other people in and there was even a case where key casts had a positive test and it looked like the show was going to shut down for two weeks and they quickly re-wrote and they only shut down for two days,” he says.

“So, yeah, there have been hiccups, but in general, it’s been super successful and the discipline of the crew on set is unbelievable because they show up at seven o’clock in the morning, put on their masks, and whether they’re inside or outside, groups or alone, they keep their mask on for 12-14 hours and at the end of the day, they go home.”

Some projects currently in production at Vancouver Film Studios include The Flash and Motherland.

The Deadpool movies starring Vancouver native Ryan Reynolds have also been shot there.