Students can enroll in four separate courses.

North Island College pilots TV and film crew training courses

NIC will collaborate with the Vancouver Island North Film Commission for the program

You might see some current North Island College students working on the set of Chesapeake Shores in a few years — or maybe another Vancouver Island-based TV show instead.

NIC will pilot a film and TV crew training program at its Campbell River and Port Alberni campuses this fall. The program, which NIC claims is the first of its kind in British Columbia, will include four separate training courses.

Students who enroll in the courses can learn how to set up lighting, configure camera equipment, build and design sets and work as a production assistant. NIC will collaborate with the Vancouver Island North Film Commission (INFilm) for the program.

“This opens up a whole new avenue to find work,” said INFilm commissioner Joan Miller. “We have so many productions that want to film here.”

With scenic backdrops and an overflow of film productions on the Lower Mainland, the film and television industry is growing on Vancouver Island. Twenty-four projects were filmed on the Island in 2015 alone, generating $18 million in direct spending.

While most Vancouver Island-based productions are filmed in and around Victoria, a more northern-based success is Hallmark Channel’s TV series Chesapeake Shores. Filmed in Qualicum, the show has helped turned the seaside community into “Qualiwood.”

But despite success with Chesapeake Shores, other productions have chosen not to film on Vancouver Island due to a shortage of locally trained crews. The Vancouver Island Film and Media commission even held a job fair in Esquimalt in January to try and help fill the need for local talent.

Miller says crew shortages have been “a barrier for years” for film and TV productions on Vancouver Island, due to increased costs of bringing crews from abroad.

The new film and TV crew program was made possible after NIC received $500,000 in funding from the B.C. provincial government.

The funding was announced last March.

“NIC is very pleased to be working with our regional film commissioner and industry to develop customized, applied short-term training aligned with film and television productions,” said Cheryl O’Connell, NIC’s dean of trades and technical programs. “The fact that these courses are being offered in response to industry demand is very significant to the region.”

The film and TV crew training courses are full-time and run for three or four weeks. They start in either October or November at the Campbell River and Port Alberni campuses. Courses cost $275 each.

Students who complete the courses will receive accreditation such as the Motion Picture Industry Orientation ticket.

Those interested in applying for a course in the program should do so before Sept. 15. Application packages can be requested by emailing filmtraining@nic.bc.ca.

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