Greater Victoria remains in the spotlight as filming remains steady since the first hiccup of the COVID-19 pandemic. With no dollar amount yet on record, 2021 is poised for success with a number of productions lined up.
When COVID-19 hit in March 2020 the industry screeched to a halt, putting most local crew and 70,000 film employees across the province out of work. Pre- and post-production work continued remotely, and after months of collaboration, crews returned to work in July 2021 with strict safety protocols in place to minimize transmission of COVID-19.
As with most workplaces from 2020 onward, guidelines are always subject to change and anyone who can is working from home.
Stringent measures for sets include physical distancing and significantly enhanced cleaning protocols. Other more job-specific protocols run the gamut from major tweaks to filming such as avoiding face-to-face shots and keeping cameras further away from actors, to requiring performers to rinse with a hydrogen peroxide-based oral rinse before intimate scenes.
Colwood and Sidney were among the the filming locations for the Netflix series Maid, based on the bestselling memoir by Stephanie Land entitled Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive. The 10-episode series filmed exclusively in Greater Victoria from September 2020 through this spring.
It was among the 38 productions shot in the CRD last year, bringing in an estimated $50 million in direct spending, more than doubling the previous high of $20 million in one year.
Other 2021 productions so far include Scaredy Cats, Fishing for Love, Maratha Vineyards Mysteries, American Dreamer, The Wedding Veil (Hallmark) and The Bakers Son (Hallmark). There two more set to film in June and July with a series set to start up in summer as well.
Vancouver Island South Film and Media Commission has more than 800 people in its crew database and about 1,200 union members on the south Island, film commissioner Kathleen Gilbert said.
“Anyone with experience would have been able to work full time since production resumed in July of last year,” she said.
While tracking can be difficult, the commission asks companies to tell them what local crew they hire – that ranges from about 60 to 80 per cent behind the camera. All background performers are local.
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