Film and TV productions and arts organizations across southern Alberta are struggling to get back to work in the aftermath of the severe flooding affecting the region.
Raging waters forced the evacuation of cast, crew and production staffers from several projects filming in the area last week.
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Among those affected was AMC's post-Civil War Western Hell on Wheels, shot near Okotoks. About 160 cast, crew and extras were evacuated from the set late last week just before it flooded. Shooting for the series — starring Anson Mount, Colm Meaney and rapper-actor Common — is currently on hold, with the crew hoping to return to complete filming of the forthcoming third season in July.
Meanwhile, set-builders and other crew for Christopher Nolan's upcoming sci-fi epic Interstellar were also interrupted by the flooding. Production teams for the hush-hush project are returning to work this week.
While the main sets of CBC-TV's Alberta-set family drama Heartland escaped damage, some of its locations were affected by the flooding — such as High River, the streets and storefronts of which stand in for the fictional town of Hudson, home to Maggie's Diner, a regular meeting place for the show's characters.
Though cameras are still rolling for Heartland's seventh season and scripts being rewritten to reflect new shooting locations, producers, cast and crew have not forgotten the plight of flood-affected communities and hope to organize fundraisers to aid victims.
Meanwhile, other arts and cultural organizations have also adopted the motto: the show must go on.
Organizers of the Calgary Stampede announced Monday that this year's event will continue as planned and the Medicine Hat Jazz Festival is proceeding as well, with festival staff offering free tickets to Tuesday night's concert for those still unable to return to their homes.
Also, a travelling production of Broadway stalwart Les Misérables will kick off a 16-show engagement in Calgary on Tuesday night, as scheduled. Flood-affected ticketholders unable to attend may exchange their seats for a later date, organizers said.