It’s a wrap.

It’s a wrap.

clapboard1British Columbia’s film industry is in trouble. Not because of anything we did wrong, but because the Powers That Govern lack any proper perspective on what we’ve done right. In the decade from 1985 to 1995, the industry grew from a relatively paltry $150 million to an unprecedented $670 million; spurred by the vision of Dianne Neufeld and empowered by a unique set of financial incentives.

Money drove growth in the beginning. Seeing more bang for the buck, major productions starring big names passed through town and many came back to build homes and studios … to linger here and lavish lucre on every layer of BC society. Local crews got jobs and did good work, ascending from being hired as part of the deal, to being fought over as art directors, craft service providers and stunt doubles without peer. You didn’t have to be on the set to reap the rewards. Everyone from cab drivers to specialty shop owners shared the wealth and took pride in in a growing global reputation. It got beyond budgets at par creating an even playing field. For even money, producers would toss a coin and hope it came up here.

Build it and they will come, if you do the math. Vancouver progressed from a rather rude place with little to recommend it but nice scenery to become a world-class city offering up intelligent conversation in worldly venues.

Everybody who was there can tell you that it wasn’t easy. That it meant bringing a lot of different disciplines together to grab the glory and the cash. A stageful of aspiring players from Set Designers to Sous Chefs had to raise their game. Everything and everyone got better. Until they were the best.

Building a film industry is not quite the same as turning mud into money in Ft. McMurray and surrounding a tailing pond with million dollar homes and two digit IQs overnight.

It is what it is. And not much can be done about it at this point, short of a public outcry worthy of a group Academy Award. The FX guys and camel wranglers and high-fallers are filling gate 7 as they wait to board for Toronto and Montreal.

It’s hard not to think of the Avro Arrow, and the departure of Canada’s entire aerospace community in the wake of then Prime Minister Deifenbaker’s decision to buy Bomarc missiles from the US, angle the pointy ends at the sky and wait for them to go off at random.

Whatever sad and confused crowd replaces Christy’s Critters, it will be hard pressed go bring back a glorious past, even if it cares to. Unlike ‘Rambo I’ (which after all was shot here) ‘Hollywood North’ has gone East, with no sequel in sight.

11 years ago

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