Edmonton

Edmonton's film community hopes changes will bolster screen industry

The Edmonton film community is hopeful that some changes to the film commission model will re-energize the city's film industry.

'It’s time to unite all of those screen industries under a single office to help elevate them even further'

A report put forward to council on Wednesday proposes a plan that will replace Edmonton's film commission with a screen industries office. (The Screen Production Yukon Association )

The Edmonton film community is hopeful that some changes to the film commission model will re-energize the city's film industry. 

A report put forward to council's executive committee July 6 proposes a plan that will replace the film commission with a screen industries office.

Hopes are that this new model will bring all forms of production — including video game development — under one roof. 

Frederick Kroetsch — an award winning director and producer in Edmonton — says he thinks these changes are "really important." 

"We're stoked that Edmonton has decided to invest in our motion picture arts community," said Kroetsch. "If we don't support local industry, we won't have any." 

Frederick Kroetsch of Open Sky Pictures says that he thinks these changes are “really important.” (Facebook)

The office will work to bring the industry together and offer guidance to local producers while promoting what Edmonton has to offer to the world.

Kroetsch said screen industries in other parts of the country "are booming" right now and if the city doesn't do anything it runs the risk of losing artists. 

If we don't support local industry, we won't have any.- Frederick Kroetsch

While Edmonton is no stranger to homegrown productions, such as the Great Human Odyssey, Kitten TV and 40 Below and Falling, the industry has been waning.

"As part of stakeholder engagement sessions, it became apparent that the screen industry in Edmonton is going through challenging times with respect to being competitive, creating work opportunities and employment stability," the report reads.

'It's time to unite'

Michael Jorgensen, an award-winning filmmaker, is part of a working group looking at the importance of the proposed office. One of the things he is most excited about is bringing video game developers into the same tent as filmmakers.

We all do the same things, we tell stories.- Michael Jorgensen

Jorgensen said there are more small interactive video game companies in Edmonton than in any other Canadian city. 

"It's time to unite all of those screen industries under a single office to help elevate them even further," he said. 

"We all do the same things, we tell stories."

Michael Jorgensen is an award-winning filmmaker in Edmonton. (AMPIA)

If successful, the proposed changes hope to make Edmonton a "centre for excellence in storytelling, creativity, innovation and production."

The cost of the investment is $150,000 and council will vote on it later in the year.

Jorgensen said that for every dollar of investment that the city puts into digital media and production it gets six dollars back in the local economy. 

"It seems like a no-brainer."

About the Author

Mack Lamoureux is a reporter with CBC Edmonton. He's a lover of strange and odd stories. He counts writing about himself in the third person among his least favourite things to do. mack.lamoureux@cbc.ca, @macklamoureux