by Michael D. Reid / Victoria Times Colonist
March 5, 2015
Crystal, the capuchin monkey of Night at the Museum and Hangover II fame, is shooting a family-friendly comedy in Victoria. Photograph By BRUCE STOTESBURY, Times Colonist
“We have never seen numbers like this,” said Victoria film commissioner Kathleen Gilbert.
The Vancouver Island South Film and Media Commission is working with six companies on a growing number of productions, Gilbert said. She said at the current rate, this year is shaping up to beat 2006, the capital region’s best year yet, when 12 productions generated $18 million in revenue.
A weaker loonie and a six per cent distant location provincial tax credit are among key factors in the surge, she said.
Just weeks after production wrapped here on The Devout and the Lifetime movie Perfect High, filming began on the Netflix-bound comedy Monkey Up.
Two more pictures start shooting next week — Gourmet Detective 2: A Healthy Place to Die and The Boy, director William Brent Bell’s psychological thriller starring The Walking Dead’s Lauren Cohan as a nanny who encounters strange goings-on in the English countryside.
Other projects in pre-production include the Hallmark movies Playdate and The Last Resort.
The downside is a shortage of trained local crews.
While there’s a crew base of about 60 here, 200 are required with four shows overlapping, said Gilbert. Many underemployed locals relocated to Vancouver or “took jobs in the real world” several years ago when production slowed. “We need to identify people in the community with experience in film, or lighting, wardrobe and makeup for theatre,” said Gilbert, who is inviting skilled locals to email resumés to [email protected].
People aged eight to 45 can become extras on Monkey Up by showing up at the Parkside Hotel Sunday between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. or emailing monkeyup [email protected].
“I don’t believe we’ve ever been so busy,” said Allen Lewis, vice-president of production for Front Street Pictures. The Metchosin-based producer, whose crews filmed the first in a series of Gourmet Detective movies for Hallmark here in November, has the advantage of familiarity, having frequently worked in the region.
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