2017. What can we say about 2017? Probably a bit too much, and a bit more suited to a novel than an article. For now, let’s keep our annual reminiscing to BC, and look at some of the year’s biggest highlights in our local industry:
- Notably, we have an economic positive: we had a $2.6B boom in the 2017 fiscal year, setting a record for the BC film industry. CreativeBC – the independent body that moderates the province’s creative industries – announced the numbers earlier this year, and it’s no wonder, given that hundreds of film and television projects have made their home in BC.
- As the film industry progressively expands beyond the Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island and the Okanagan region both announced their development of new film studios. Vancouver Island Film Studios and Okanagan Studios, respectively, are both slated to be fully complete by early 2018, and will provide much-desired infrastructure for their respective local productions.
- In the wake of the Weinstein scandal and those that came with it, the Union of BC Performers (UBCP/ACTRA) has taken serious steps forward to protect their actors. So far they have hosted several town hall meetings on the issue, have begun working on a new code of conduct for all members, and are offering resources – including free, confidential counselling – to members who have been assaulted or harassed. ACTRA is among 16 Canadian creative industry bodies that are working together to engage in a swift and unstoppable crackdown on discrimination, harassment, and abuse in the industry.
- Stargazing has been a popular sport in the Vancouver area this year. Coming across a set or two is a part of everyday life in the city, but some highlights have included: Liam Neeson, here for feature film Hard Powder, dropped in on a New Westminster sandwich shop that had jokingly advertised free sandwiches for him; Idris Elba and Kate Winslet were spotted downtown lip-to-lip for their romance/survival film The Mountain Between Us ; and recently, Mayor Gregor Robertson humorously, but officially, declared October 19th “Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson Day” in honour of the immense local industry contribution provided by Johnson’s recent locally-shot film, Skyscraper.
As the coming year quickly approaches, we can’t entirely leave this one behind. The effects of the last twelve months will ripple forward for years to come. Through it all, though, the tenacity and talent of the BC film industry has reaffirmed itself… and no matter what changes this year might have instigated for 2018, we’ll not only be ready, but we’ll be prepared to make the most of it.