Calgary

'It's an incredible boon': Ghostbusters filming brings $1M to Drumheller, Alta.

The upcoming film, Ghostbusters: Afterlife, has given the spotlight to several southern-Alberta communities. A representative for Drumheller says the filming generated over $1 million in revenue for the community.

Badlands town wants more major production companies to film there

Drumheller's water tower, right, is transformed into the water tower for the fictional Oklahoma town of Summerville. (Sony Pictures Entertainment, Google Maps)

The upcoming film, Ghostbusters: Afterlife, has given the spotlight to several southern Alberta communities. 

It's also generated more than $1 million in revenue for the town of Drumheller.

The movie, a sequel to 1984's Ghostbusters, trades Manhattan for the fields and hoodoos of southern Alberta, with scenes set in Drumheller, Calgary, Fort Macleod, Turner Valley, Beiseker, Dorothy and Crossfield.

A promotional trailer for the film debuted Monday, featuring some of these locations.

According to ACTRA Alberta, filming took place between July and October, and the finished product is set to be released in July 2020.

Sean Wallace, manager of economic development for the Town of Drumheller, told the Calgary Eyeopener the movie is a big win for Drumheller's budding film industry and a economic boost for the badlands town.

"When you have a big cast like Ghostbusters — which was just over 200 — it's an incredible boon for the town," he said.

Wallace estimates the film brought the town over $1 million in revenue and says his department is looking at the community impact on hiring extras, paying businesses to shut down for shooting and money spent in the community.

"You have paid actors and stand-ins using shops, they're contracting services, or staying at hotels, eating at restaurants and shopping," he said.

Jason Reitman shared this photo on Twitter of the Ghostbusters 2020 cast in Calgary. From left to right, Ivan Reitman, Carrie Coon, Mckenna Grace, Finn Wolfhard and Jason Reitman. (Jason Reitman/Twitter)

The town about 130 kilometres northeast of Calgary has also been the backdrop for two other recent productions, the film Let Him Go, starring Kevin Costner and Diane Lane, and the CBC TV drama Fortunate Son, both scheduled to premiere in 2020.

Wallace says he thinks Drumheller's film success comes from how easy they are to work with.

"We are a film-friendly community, the type of community that doesn't burden film productions with a lot of paperwork," he said.

"We basically have a simple form that you fill out just to make sure you have insurance, but other than that, it's done on a handshake — and if you break it, you buy it."

Wallace adds that he has plans to meet with some of the major production houses in North America to let them know about Drumheller as a good place to film.

"Certainly it's been the biggest industry I'm focusing on as economic development manager. There's a lot of money to be made there, with a lot of benefit across the region and community," he said.


With files from Sarah Rieger and the Calgary Eyeopener.

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