TV productions like Chesapeake Shores and Resident Alien again fuelled central Vancouver Island’s film industry, says the region’s film commission.
In a letter, Vancouver Island North Film Commission’s president Paul Galinski said the Regional District of Nanaimo benefited from $18 million from 10 productions.
Speaking at the RDN’s Tuesday, Jan. 10 board meeting, Joan Miller, InFilm executive director, stated the Hallmark Channel’s Chesapeake Shores spent $9 million locally in 2022. The show was filmed in Parksville, Qualicum Beach and Nanoose Bay.
For 2022, Chesapeake Shores’ sixth season, it was a “bit more of an extended stay” with more episodes, said Miller, with 135 production days, 193 local crew, 367 local cast and extras, $4.7 million in local wages and 11,181 hotel room nights. In addition, location fees added up to $619,000 in location fees and another $460,000 was spent on offices, studio space and storage.
The production of Seagrass on Gabriola Island in 2022 contributed $1.1 million of “local spend,” noted Miller, with 31 days of production, 40 crew members (20 per cent of whom were local), 30 local extras and 1,120 hotel room nights.
“Over the last two years, we’ve had the pleasure of hosting Resident Alien. Although the filming locations take place in Ladysmith, similar to Sonic the Hedgehog and others, Nanaimo is the service centre for everything they require,” said Miller. “Although I’m not permitted to release all of their individual stats, they did tell me they had 3,375 hotel room nights in Nanaimo.”
She also spoke of “workforce training” the commission provides. It’s about attracting production to the region and increasing local crew so people can find work in the local film industry.
“To date, we’ve written $3.75 million in training grants,” she said. “We’ve provided 456 participants with tuition-free training. They didn’t pay anything to take any of our courses, we covered all their training – 77 of those were from the Regional District of Nanaimo.”
Among the programs offered this past year were an Indigenous production assistant training program, in partnership with North Island College and the Mid Island Métis Society. Miller said the total investment in training for the area was $688,000.
The commission is seeking funding from the RDN again this year, having asked for $50,000 last year, and when asked for more details by Vanessa Craig, RDN board chairperson, Miller noted the non-profit film commission is seeking a more long-term funding commitment.
“We’re economic development; clearly the work we do is about economic development,” she said. “We have worked with the board over the years to try and develop an economic development portfolio and so we’re hoping that we eventually will get to the point where we’re an ongoing funding service contract that can be renewed [every] three to five years. That kind of stability as a not-for-profit … would make it a lot more stable for us to continue to grow the industry.”
The commission covers an area from Chemainus to Cape Scott.