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Island film commissioner hopeful 2024 will be ‘record breaking’

After the Hollywood strike she’s optimistic it’s another year of over $50M in direct spending
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The Descendants in production at Victoria’s legislature building. (Courtesy of Vancouver Island South Film Commission)

With the five-month Hollywood strike over, Victoria’s film industry is optimistic that 2024 is going to make up for lost time and money.

The Vancouver Island South Film Commissioner Kathleen Gilbert is hopeful that 2024 will be another record breaking year of more than $50 million in direct spending.

Direct spending is money producers leave in the community. It includes wages paid to residents of the Captial Region District (CRD), money spent on rentals, hotels, meals, etc.

Victoria already managed to avoid significantly suffering from the strike thanks to the filming of several local productions. In fact, “no film productions were stalled during the course of the strike,” Gilbert mentioned.

For local filmmakers, it’s business as usual except, they may not get the most experienced crew according to Gilbert.

Even though the strike is over, many productions are still at a halt despite late fall and early winter traditionally being a time when crews wrap up productions. By December many members of the crew go on holiday.

“Productions are kind of caught in that situation. ‘Do we start up now?’ Just to wind down in a week or two, or do we just bite the bullet and wait until the celebrations are over in early January,” said Victoria actress, Darlene Tait.

Based on the number of productions Tait has seen happening in Vancouver, the local actress thinks most people and productions are opting for an early January start-up.

“There’s no point getting everybody all geared up and ramped up to shut it down again,” she added.

During the strike, Tait got lucky if she had six auditions in a month. Previously she was being called for about 20, but according to her, actors and actresses are used to very periodic work.

“If an actor works three, four, or five jobs a year, they’re considered to be doing quite well, but the impact of the strike was felt more directly by the crew because most people who work on a crew do nothing but work on a crew and they do it full time,” said Tait. “I know actors have lost jobs, I don’t want to indicate that they haven’t been affected, but I really see the impact when we move to the crew and the talent agencies and casting directors.”

However, Tait and Gilbert are confident that 2024 is going to make up for the strike’s losses.

“We expect to be very busy in the new year,” said Gilbert.

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