British Columbia

B.C.'s film and television industry at edge of 'perfect storm,' says CEO of Creative B.C.

For the film and television industry in British Columbia, 2017 will be a tough year to beat.

Film industry is booming across the province and conversation is turning to local talent

Movie and television spending was at an all-time high last year in British Columbia. (Tina Lovgreen/CBC)

For the film and television industry in British Columbia, 2017 was a tough year to beat.

A record-breaking $2.6 billion streamed into the province last year, much of it coming from international productions.   

Prem Gill, CEO of Creative B.C. who has been named one of the province's most powerful women leaders, said there has been tremendous growth in the industry in the past few years and it won't slow down anytime soon.

"It is not just a one-time thing," she said. "There are lots of shows that have returned this year. There are new shows that are always checking out our jurisdiction to be here. It's looking pretty good."

The gap between the Canadian dollar and U.S. dollar encouraged foreign productions to choose Vancouver in recent years, Gill said, but that was not the only reason behind the industry's success.

"If we didn't have the infrastructure here and the talent base here, it wouldn't matter," she told CBC host of The Early Edition Stephen Quinn.

There is more than 2.5 million square feet of studio space in the province, Gill said, and roughly 44,000 people working in the industry.

Local independent productions

The conversation now centres on how to make sure there is still room for smaller independent local filmmakers and television producers amid the big international names.

"That is something that we talk about almost on a daily basis," Gill said. "As we look forward into this year, I'd love to see more Canadian independent productions coming out of British Columbia."

In addition to film and television, her company Creative B.C. works other sectors such as music, digital media and publishing.

Across the world, she said, the Canadian creative brand has become extremely strong. 

"It's kind of a bit of a perfect storm," Gill said. "[It's an] opportunity to really seize this moment provincially, federally and globally. British Columbia is really well-positioned to do that."

With files from The Early Edition.