Big screen business has big economic impact
10 November 2017
BC’s film sector continues to enjoy strong growth and is pumping millions of dollars annually into Richmond’s economy, according to a panel of industry heavyweights who spoke to a sold out audience of local business people Thursday at the Richmond Olympic Oval.
The film industry generates $2.7 billion in annual spending province-wide. At the local level in Richmond that includes $26 million in wages paid to local residents and $500,000 in fees and charges collected by the City in 2016. Richmond enjoyed successive record-breaking years for filming activity in 2015 and 2016.
Speaking as part of Big Screen, Big Impact, a panel discussion co-hosted by City of Richmond and the Richmond Chamber of Commerce, four industry leaders indicated the strong growth in the BC industry is showing no signs of slowing down. Panelists included Kathy Gilroy, Producer of the popular television series, Once Upon a Time; Peter Leitch, Chair of the Motion Picture Production Industry Association of BC and President of North Shore Studios; Sandi Cooper, BC Film Commissioner; and Kendrie Upton, Director of the Directors Guild of Canada British Columbia.
Commercial filming activity took place three out of every four days in Richmond in 2016. Richmond is best known as the primary shooting location for Once Upon A Time during the series’ first six seasons. This year, two brand new series (set to air in 2018) The Crossing and Siren have regularly filmed on location in Richmond. Recent movie blockbusters such as Deadpool and Battle for the Planet of the Apes also spent significant time filming on location in Richmond.
The panellists’ noted that a key aspect of the BC industry’s strong growth is the availability of skilled and experienced film crews, which in turns drives local employment. Over 1,840 Richmond residents are directly employed by the film industry, while thousands of others benefit from production spending.
“The City of Richmond is committed to being a film friendly community,” says Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie. “We’re working closely with our government and industry partners to leverage our collaborative approach and outstanding location inventory to bring even more spending and jobs to our city.”
“The industry’s extensive economic impact in Richmond and BC is staggering,” added Richmond Chamber President and CEO, Matt Pitcairn. “From the people employed in the industry, to the locations and services our community provides, there are so many opportunities for business owners to reap its benefits.”