British Columbia

Surrey shatters its record for film permits

Surrey film liaison James Monk is the city's go-to guy for production crews that are looking for a place to shoot, and his phone never stops ringing.

The city is on pace to issue twice as many film permits as 2015

Skydance Media has converted an old printing press building in Surrey into a production studio. (Glen Kugelstadt/CBC)

Surrey film liaison James Monk is the city's go-to guy for production crews that are looking for a place to shoot, and his phone never stops ringing.

Sometimes, he will get a week's notice to issue a permit.

Sometimes, he gets less than a day.

"Year to date, I've issued 152 film permits," he said.

"This is a record year. Last year, we issued 97 film permits. If we keep going at the same pace, we'll double what we did last year and 2015 was a record year."

Monk says Surrey's film industry is cashing in on the weak Canadian dollar, tax incentives for film companies and a wide variety of shooting locations.  

Hollywood production company Skydance Media is coming to Surrey. (

Major projects

Monk stood quietly in the background and watched as Skydance Media CEO David Ellison cut the ribbon on his new, 75,000 square feet of studio space in Newton.

Ellison started looking 18 months ago for a location to film the new science fiction series, Altered Carbon, for Netflix, and his search brought him to the old printing press building near Scott Road and 88 Avenue.

Production starts in November, and a crew of about 400 people will work on the show for six months.

"We've gotten to shoot many films here over the course of our existence at Skydance," Ellison said at the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

"The cast and crew and overall talent in British Columbia is second to nowhere in the world."

Miguel Sapochnik, who won an Emmy last week for his work directing Game of Thrones, will direct the first episode.