North Island College celebrated the completion of BC’s first TV and Film Crew Training program, which prepared more than 135 students for careers in an industry hungry for behind‐the‐scenes talent.
The college marked the successful program at Vancouver Island Film Studios in Parksville with the reveal of two professional sets built by NIC students. Graduates, instructors, industry and government representatives attended the event.
“We are incredibly proud of what these students were able to accomplish in just a few weeks,” said film grip instructor Jeff Smith. “I expect to see many of them working and earning solid wages on film or TV projects right here in BC.”
NIC launched the program last year, after the federal and provincial governments allocated almost $500,000 to deliver BC’s first TV and Film Crew Training program on Vancouver Island.
“Delivery of this training was possible due to local experts, industry and government partners who have been instrumental to this project’s success,” said Cheryl O’Connell, NIC’s dean of trades and technical programs.
“Together, we have created a program that helps to develop a regional workforce ready, qualified and excited to advance their careers in the world of TV and film,” O’Connell added.
The Vancouver Island North Film Commission (INfilm) – which provides liaison and location services to film, television, commercial and media companies filming from Nanaimo northwards – played an essential role helping NIC develop the program. INfilm commissioner Joan Miller said a lack of local, qualified crew has been a barrier to attracting a wide range of film projects to Vancouver Island, due to increased costs companies face when bringing in crew from elsewhere.
“We all had a stake in this program’s success,” said Miller. “To quote a colleague from the film industry, ‘Supporting this program is a no brainer.’”
“The program was common‐sense driven, creating employment opportunities by focusing on transferable existing skills,” Miller continued. “This fills a current need for more local qualified trained film crews while providing certificates that can be used in many sectors.”
Students received hands‐on set construction, film grip, set lighting and production assistant training. The first group of students completed training in Campbell River last fall. The second wave completed their program this month in the Parksville area.
In addition to intensive, specialized training for different roles on set, graduates also received key certifications they need to work on productions, such as the Motion Picture Industry Orientation ticket.
According to figures released by the province, a record‐breaking $2.6 billion in motion picture production expenditures was recorded in B.C. in the 2016/17 fiscal year. The Hallmark Channel’s hit TV show Chesapeake Shores begins filming its third season in the Parksville Qualicum Beach area this spring.
For more information on TV and Film Crew Training and other trades programs, visit www.nic.bc.ca.