Film industry booming in Ridge again

Maple Ridge saw a 25 per cent increase in film productions for the first six months of 2014.

A crew on the set of a film outside the Greg Moore Youth Centre.

A crew on the set of a film outside the Greg Moore Youth Centre.

A year and a half ago, Maple Ridge was plastered with posters and stickers to #SaveBCfilm. There were protests and rallies warning about the industry’s impending demise.

This week, Marg Johnson is juggling four different production teams, including one shooting right in her office.

“It’s pretty amazing,” said Johnson, the district’s film production liaison.

Statistics show Maple Ridge saw a 25 per cent increase in film productions for the first six months of 2014 over the same period last year.

Johnson said it looks like the district is going to more than triple the revenue from film fees, permits, licences in that period.

“I’m getting bigger features coming in because they’ve heard that we’re a very film-friendly town,” said Johnson.

In the past year, Zooey Deschanel, Ellen Page, Dick Van Dyke, Bryan Cranston, Elizabeth Olson and Gary Oldman have shot films locally.

Big features who’ve filmed in Maple Ridge include World of Warcraft, Damaged Formula M, The Driftless Area and Into the Forest.

The lower Canadian dollar is contributing to the boom, but Johnson believes productions are heading to Maple Ridge for other reasons, as well.

“They are getting to know Maple Ridge now,” she said.

“They love the 224th Street area. They’ve got a good rapport with the businesses and know what to expect.”

Besides being an important source of revenue for the district, the economic spin-offs from the film industry continue to increase.

Johnson said the district estimates $10,000 per day is injected into the community when a film is in town via hotel stays, food, business rentals and other services.

“That figure is quite dated now and could conceivably be much higher,” said Johnson, who is developing a “wrap survey” to figure out exactly how much spin-off each production generates.

Several production companies also donate to charities while they are in town.

Rico Mielnicki, an in-house location manager for Light House Productions, often chooses Maple Ridge as a location for his shoots.

“You get a wide variety of looks all in one spot,” says Mielnicki, explaining a production can film everything from an inner city scene to lush wilderness in the span of a day while in Maple Ridge.

“You are getting bigger shows because they are realizing they get a better bang for their buck out here.”

Mielnicki, who is currently filming a movie in Hammond, also credits the district’s production liaison for helping to boost business.

“They have a very fast system of getting us to film, compared to all the cities,” he adds.

The City of Pitt Meadows is also seeing an increase in film productions.

As of June 30, Pitt Meadows processed 31 film permits, as compared to nine permits in the same period last year.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Connie Werzun has taken up photography classes, and tok this picture along the dikes at Jerry Sulina Park one night recently. Using a seven-minute exposure, “a photo taken at night looks like it was taken during the day.” (Special to The News)
SHARE: Night photo of mountain range appears as day

Send us your photo showing how you view Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows, and it could be featured soon.

Raphael Baruh of Slavic Rolls creates one of his Eastern European desserts at the Maple Ridge food truck festival on Saturday afternoon. (Neil Corbett/The News)
Food Truck Festival in Maple Ridge this weekend

Pick the drive-through lane for the food you like at Albion Fair Grounds

Coyotes walk down a Maple Ridge residential street. (Special to The News)
Security camera shows coyotes walking down Maple Ridge street

A warning to Silver Valley residents to keep their pets indoors, says home owner

Coach Ray Wakeman and the Maple Ridge Lawn Bowling Club are looking for new members. (Neil Corbett/The News)
Maple Ridge club looking for lawn bowlers

Games have been modified for safety during COVID-19

Have an opinion you’d like to share? Submit letters to the editor through our website, via email or the postal service. (Heather Colpitts/Black Press Media)
LETTER: Would Maple Ridge councillors want cannabis store beside them?

Resident concerned about how close cannabis store is to her home

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

Emergency crews on scene after a small plane crashed in a grassy area on the northeast side of Boundary Bay Airport Saturday morning (April 10). A freelancer said the plane caught fire and one person was transported to hospital by BC Emergency Health Services. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
1 taken to hospital after plane crash at Metro Vancouver airport

Plane appears to have suffered ‘significant’ damage, says freelancer

A vehicle that was driven through the wall of a parkade at Uptown Shopping Centre and into the nearby Walmart on April 9 was removed through another hole in the wall later that night. (Photo via Saanich Police Department and Ayush Kakkar)
Vehicle launched into B.C. Walmart removed following rescue of trapped workers

Crews cut new hole in parkade wall to remove vehicle safely

Four members with Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans were out at Cultus Lake on March 28 and 29 hauling trash out of the waters. (Henry Wang)
PHOTOS: Out-of-town divers remove 100s of pounds of trash from Cultus Lake

Members of Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans hauled out 470 pounds of trash over two days

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

As of Saturday, April 10, people born in 1961 are the latest to be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. (Black Press files)
B.C. residents age 60+ can now register to get their COVID-19 vaccine

Vaccine registration is now open to people born in 1961 or earlier

A new saline gargle test, made in B.C., will soon be replacing COVID-19 nasal swab tests for kids. (PHSA screenshot)
Take-home COVID-19 tests available for some B.C. students who fall ill at school

BC Children’s Hospital plans to provide 1,200 kits to Vancouver district schools this April

Ruming Jiang and his dog Chiu Chiu are doing fine following a brush with hypothermia that saw several people work together to get them out of the Fraser River near Langley’s Derby Reach Park on March 25, 2021 (Special to the Advance Times)
Man finds men who rescued him from drowning in B.C.’s Fraser River

A grateful Ruming Jiang says he will thank them again, this time in person when the pandemic ends

The 10-part Netflix series Maid, which is being exclusively shot in Greater Victoria, was filming near Prospect Lake in Saanich last month. (Photo courtesy Fred Haynes)
Province announces $150,000 towards film studio, fulfilling B.C. NDP promise

Investment to fund movie studio feasibility study at Camosun College

Most Read