Abbotsford attracts film crews

A $10,000 grant from the provincial government will be used by the Fraser Valley Regional District to attract and provide services to film and video producers from around the world.

Motion picture and television producers spent more than $1 billion in B.C. during 2010.

Communities are sought to provide locations for various film projects, including movies, television series, documentaries and commercials.

Abbotsford is no exception, drawing in several projects each year.

Abbotsford has attracted Hollywood productions in the past (including Scary Movie 4 in 2005 and Disney’s Space Buddies in 2008) but the bulk of filming in this area is done for commercials and lower budget television films. And 2011 has been steady so far.

According to Tracy Boudreau, communications specialist with the City of Abbotsford, seven different projects have been shot in town this year, including the television films Trading Christmas (in July) and Recoil (in May).

The television series Consumed has filmed here on several occasions, while Fringe shot locally back in March. Another television series, The Haunting Hour, filmed in town two weeks ago.

A&W and OK Tire have also shot commercials this year.

In September 2010, downtown Abbotsford was transformed into Santa Cruz, Calif. for the made-for-television film On Strike for Christmas. A film crew, along with star Daphne Zuniga (Melrose Place), shot on location for three days.

“We are pretty much on par this year, compared to others,” said Boudreau.

She said a normal year would see 22 projects shot in Abbotsford, while a down year averages 17.

Financially, the city doesn’t get a lot of money for allowing crews to film here, but Boudreau said the economic spin-off is a benefit to the local economy.

“That’s the reason we are trying to be as film-friendly as possible.”

Catering companies, hotels, restaurants and even hair dressers are some of the examples she gave of businesses which benefit from local productions.

While the city has yet to perform a study to assess the economic impact of the film industry, Boudreau suggested the FVRD may want to use the provincial grant money for that purpose.

No official plans for the grant money have yet been announced.

Provincial film facts:

– British Columbia is the third largest production centre in North America after Los Angeles and New York.

– The province’s film production industry directly and indirectly employs more than 25,000 people.

– B.C.ers working in the motion picture industry earned wages of about $450 million in 2010.

– The provincial government provides between $130 million and $200 million in annual refundable tax credits for the film and television industry, depending on the level of production activity.

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