Film productions give economy big boost

Hollywood’s biggest stars are heading to Maple Ridge in the fall to begin filming.

Second camera assistant Jeremy Lundstrom slates the production Shrinking Violet before a scene outside the ACT last Wednesday.

Second camera assistant Jeremy Lundstrom slates the production Shrinking Violet before a scene outside the ACT last Wednesday.

Maple Ridge’s film industry is having a banner year and its success is giving the district a much needed economic boost.

Twenty-two productions have already been filmed around town in the first half of this year compared to just 16 in 2010 and 17 in 2009.

“This is a huge economic boost for Maple Ridge as each shoot day produces approximately $10,000 in economic benefit to the community,” said Marg Johnson, Maple Ridge film production liaison.

“It’s been an awesome year so far.”

The $10,000 figure is a rough estimate of what production crews pay daily to produce their films, including renting properties and businesses, putting residents up in local hotels, buying paint for sets and renting out driveways.

Just over $40,000 was collected by the district for permits and licences so far this year. Film crews also donated to various local charities while in town, including the food bank and Christmas hamper.

On Aug. 4, the provincial government announced it will pay $275,000 to help regional film commissions across B.C. attract and provide services to film and video producers from around the world; however, Maple Ridge will not receive any government funding this year.

“Had we received funding, the money would’ve gone towards increasing public awareness of filming in the area,” she said. “In the past, we held workshops for residents and businesses where members of the director’s guild and B.C. Film Commission made presentations. The residents here are obviously very interested in the film industry.”

According to Johnson, location managers prefer shooting in Maple Ridge because of its friendly neighbourhoods, businesses, endless supply of beautiful parks and close proximity to Vancouver. Filmmakers also appreciate the variety of looks the city supplies, from urban to rural.

Some location favourites include Memorial Peace Park, the ACT Theatre and 224th Street.

At the end of September, The Company You Keep will begin filming in and around Maple Ridge. The romantic thriller will be directed by Robert Redford, who also has a role in the film alongside Shia LaBouef.

Other notable movies shot in Maple Ridge in the past: Rumble in the Bronx, Merlin’s Apprentice and the television series Bordertown.