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Victoria voted fifth best small city to live and work as a filmmaker

Moviemaker’s Top 10 list boasts Victoria as a film destination
A crew filming in Oak Bay. (Black Press Media file photo)

It isn’t just the X-Men that enjoy living and working in Greater Victoria.

Moviemaker Magazine ranked Victoria, in the Capital Regional District alongside Professor X’s School for Gifted Youngers, No. 5 on their annual Top 10 Small Cities & Towns to live and work as a moviemaker. The only Canadian city on the list trailed only Savannah, Pittsburgh, Santa Fe and New Orleans, which took the top spot.

“We really do have amazing locations, film-friendly communities, politicians and municipalities who really try to make your film-making experience easy,” said the head of Vancouver Island South Film & Media Commission Kathleen Gilbert. “When your choice is living in the cold of Toronto or busy-ness of Vancouver, if you like this kind of lifestyle which tends to be a bit more laid back with better weather… All of those things go into making the decision if it is a good place to be a filmmaker and we have all of them.”

Greater Victoria landed approximately 40 shows in 2021, with 40-60 per cent of production budgets spent locally and bringing in approximately $60 million in direct spending to the Capital Regional District alone.

Five-star hotels and amazing restaurants coupled with a richly diverse location palette rarely seen on film make the region an undiscovered hotbed for Hollywood filmmakers to local independent filmmakers alike and Gilbert said many of the reasons high-budget series like Maid or Gracepoint choose Greater Victoria to shoot their projects, are the same reasons why the locals choose to live here.

“(Producers) were really interested in what we have for actors and crew to do on their days off. (Cast and crew) are going to be here for a long time, some are going to be here for a year,” she said. “They don’t want a very small town that doesn’t have great restaurants, or art communities, or things to do, or things their families who come to visit them while they are shooting on locations can do. So we have all that going for us.”

Gilbert said a temperate climate with approximately 30 per cent less rain than Greater Vancouver, competitive tax incentives for labour, a shared timezone with Hollywood and unique locations within close driving distance to each other also help make us one of the best small cities to live and work as a filmmaker.

“I have a lot of things in my toolbox to help me promote the regions,” Gilbert said. “All of those things go into why it is a great place to be a filmmaker. The light too, directors of photographers say that other than Hawaii, they say Victoria has amazing light.”


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Arnold Lim

About the Author: Arnold Lim

I'm an award-winning photojournalist, videographer, producer, and director.
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