Move over, Hollywood.
Calgary has been named a successful city for those who make film and television.
The city was on MovieMaker magazine’s list of the best places to live and work as a filmmaker in 2022, ranking 10th out of 25 major cities in North America.
Cities are ranked by production spend, tax incentives, recent productions, and personal visits.
Calgary offers stunning backdrops of mountains and lakes, wheat fields and urban centers, but the screen time for the photographic views of Alberta might not have been possible had the provincial government n didn’t remove the project funding cap last year.
In Alberta there is a film and television tax credit up to $10 million for eligible Alberta productions. It helps defray labor costs incurred by companies that produce films and television series in the province. And at the federal level, there is a credit that encourages foreign producers to hire Canadians.
Calgary Economic Development film commissioner Luke Azevedo says it was a game-changer.
Millions in production spend
“What minister [Doug] Schweitzer was able to deal with the shift in incentives globally, and we felt the impact immediately,” said Azevedo, who is also the agency’s vice president of creative industries and operations.
Production spending topped $520 million in the Calgary area over the past year, with Calgary Economic Development facilitating 123 projects and over 500 filming permits.
These projects included high profile productions such as HBO’s The last of us, the reboot of the classic for children fragglerock, and other series for Apple TV+ and Netflix streaming services.
And there are more on the program for 2022.
Damian Petti, president of Local 212 of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, says he was happy to see Calgary featured in an industry magazine.
“Our capacity increased massively tenfold in terms of sound stages. And then our attractiveness for film incentives, the tax credit, increased as well. So it’s no surprise that we’re climbing the charts,” Petti said.
This translates into more job opportunities.
Conor Samphire is head of training locations on HBO The last of us, an adaptation of the popular post-apocalyptic video game.
He says Calgary was on the list, but he sees it more as a recognition of Alberta and is proud of it.
Things are busy now, but knowing how it was two years ago, when the province’s filming slate was nearly empty, Samphire says he doesn’t take the job for granted.
“It’s been so simple for so long. Everyone here in Alberta knows how to work hard and make sure the best quality products come out to try and get more. And now that everyone’s coming, we don’t we’re not going to sit back and not work so hard. It’s really that we’re good – good workers with a lot of talent,” Samphire said.
Calgary was one of four Canadian cities to make the list. Toronto came second, Montreal fourth and Vancouver sixth.