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Handmaids to monster hunters: Cambridge's role in film projects on the rise in 2018

Cambridge has had a "phenomenal" year when it comes to filming says Devon Hogue, with the city's corporate enterprise department.

Cambridge has had 'phenomenal' year when it comes to filming, Devon Hogue says

Filming of The Handmaid's Tale takes place in several locations in Cambridge, including the river walk along the Grand River. You may notice Cambridge serving as the backdrop for more films and TV shows in the future as interest in filming in the city rises. (George Kraychyk/Hulu)

Cambridge is getting much more than its 15 minutes of fame.

The city has seen the number of film projects increase significantly this year over last, that's according to Devon Hogue, a business information officer for Cambridge's corporate enterprise department.

In 2017, the city received 45 film inquiries. In 2018, that rose to 60, and there's still a month to go.

Also, in 2017 there were 16 completed days of filming in the city. In 2018, there will be 27 completed days after two more days of filming this week.

"It has been a phenomenal year," Hogue said, noting there is another film project expected in early December as well.

Variety of projects

A documentary called The Six filmed in Cambridge on Thursday and Friday. The documentary is about six Chinese survivors of the Titanic including Lee Bing, who settled in Cambridge and ran a restaurant called the White Rose Café on Main Street.

On Sunday, the cast and crew of the mini-series Departure will return to the city. They will be filming scenes on private property, on the Grand River and the lower river walk near Mill Race Park. This is the same production company that makes Murdoch Mysteries.

"We became one of the major locations for a brand new Netflix series this year, and that's probably one of the things that has led to such an increase," she said.

That show is October Faction, which according to Netflix is a show that follows a retired monster hunter and his family, which includes a "thrill-killer, a witch and a warlock." It's set to debut on the streaming service in 2019.

Then on Tuesday and Wednesday, filming will be taking place in Queens Square, Melville Street and the Main Street Bridge. That project is dubbed "Rocket Woman," an alias used in the past by the production company filming The Handmaid's Tale.

As of next Wednesday, there will be 27 completed days of filming in Cambridge this year. That's up from 16 in 2017. Much of the filming takes place in the Galt core. (Kate Bueckert/CBC)

A 'glimpse of the action'

The filming, and a chance to glimpse a celebrity, means people are coming out to watch the filming, Hogue said.

The majority of filming is in the historic Galt area in Cambridge.

"When we had V Wars here back in October. They filmed at night on the Main Street bridge, and I came down just to check it out, make sure everything was going well, and there were about 50 people just milling around and just trying to get a glimpse of the action," she said.

"We've also seen an increase, and we've heard, that a lot more people are coming here to go and walk around these film sites even when there isn't a film project here, so it's really exciting."

And 2019, she added, already looks like it could be another good year.

"I did get an inquiry for next year already for another new Netflix series, and it looks like we'll be a home location for them as well. So we do have some things percolating already for next year," Hogue said.

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