British Columbia

The Drive: TV series filmed in Vancouver is set on West Coast too

Film-hub Vancouver rarely stars as itself in movies and television shows. For the next two weeks, The Drive is being shot around the city, featuring local businesses, music and arts in all their glory.

'We celebrated what it is to be Vancouver,' says executive producer and cast member

The Drive features landmarks and local businesses in Vancouver. (The Drive)

Film-hub Vancouver rarely stars as itself in movies and television shows, but for the next two weeks The Drive is being shot around the city, featuring local businesses, music and arts in all their glory.

The award winning video-on-demand series is back for Season 2, and like the previous season, focuses on a household of roommates living together on Commercial Drive. Two of the executive producers on the show, Kirsten Slenning and Nick Hunnings, spoke with CBC's host of North By Northwest Sheryl MacKay.

"We celebrated what it is to be Vancouver and to film a show in Vancouver that actually takes place in Vancouver," Slenning said.

Many of the locations in The Drive are recognizable as Commercial Drive. (The Drive)

Locations around city

The first section of shooting, at the characters' house, is completed and the film crew are now moving on to shooting around the East Vancouver neighbourhood. Scenes are planned in Renzo's Cafe, Britannia Community Centre, Grandview Park and, of course, up and down Commercial Drive.

Slenning and Hunnings emphasized how important it was for them to feature the community and local talent. Coffee shop owners to woodworkers to jewelry makers are all included in the fabric of the show.

The makeshift family of roommates live together in a house on Commercial Drive. (The Drive)

"One of the things that I was really passionate about was celebrating the artists in and around the community," Slenning said. "We use it as a platform for that, not just for artists but also for small business owners and the community itself, and that's been really rewarding."

Hunnings said one of the most rewarding aspects of the show has been the positive reception it gained both in Vancouver community and abroad. 

"We sat back after Season 1 and thought 'Whoa, it really exceeded our wildest dreams in terms of the response,' " he said.

The many hats of filmmaking 

Slenning and Hunnings described the show as a collaborative project, within the Vancouver community and the film team. Most of the crew are jacks-of-all-trade: Slenning and Hunnings, alongside the third executive producer Lindsay Drummond, wrote the script, produce the show and have acting roles in the series.

Slenning said it can be tricky to juggle so many roles. After her first very day of acting followed by a day of direction, she started wearing a different hat for each job to symbolically switch gears.

The upcoming season of The Drive picks up on the cliffhangers from previous episodes and, without giving away any of the plot, includes death, love, family and relationships.

It airs in the fall and will be available on Telus Optik TV and online.

To hear the full interview with Slenning and Hunnings, click on the audio link below:

With files from North By Northwest.