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$6M to $60M: Retiring commissioner credited with south Island film spending

Kathleen Gilbert set to retire in spring 2024 after 13 years at the helm

After a solid 13 years, the south Island Film and Media Commission seeks its next leader.

Kathleen Gilbert, who took the helm of the non-profit in 2010, intends to retire in spring 2024.

She brought with her 18 years of experience on dozens of film and TV productions – often as a locations manager – and became the organization’s longest-running film commissioner.

“I have enjoyed my position as film commissioner more than words could express. I have had the pleasure of working with so many amazing people over the last 13 years,” Gilbert said, adding the time was right for her to step down to travel and spend more time with her family.

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“I have been blessed with a devoted and loyal staff and a hard-working board of directors, all of whom have made my job so enjoyable. I look forward to continuing to support the growth of the film industry in Victoria and the commission in whatever ways that I can.”

Gilbert was instrumental in attracting and facilitating film and television production across the Capital Regional District (CRD).

Under her leadership, the commission has seen remarkable growth in the film industry, from $6 million in direct spending in 2010 to $60 million in 2022, the agency said in a news release announcing Gilbert’s impending retirement.

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Accomplishments include her mission to rebuild the local crew database and attract developers to bring the prospect of a local state-of-the-studio closer to fruition. She also spearheaded an aggressive membership drive, relocated the commission’s headquarters to

Langford, conducted industry orientation courses and facilitated production of substantial shows such as the Netflix series Maid, Fox’s 10-part mystery series Gracepoint and Disney’s Descendants.

Other notable projects filmed here during Gilbert’s tenure include scenes for Bones of Crows, Hallmark’s The Gourmet Detective and Wedding Veil series; The Boy; Rescued by Ruby; American Dreamer; V.C. Andrews’ Ruby series; Amazing Race Canada and Pamela: A Love Story.

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Expressing gratitude and appreciation for Gilbert’s service and dedication, board president Don Enright commended her for successfully fulfilling so many of her stated objectives.

“And she’s done it all without abusing, humiliating or jumping up and down. That counts for something in the picture business,” Enright said. “She’s been caring, decent, ever competent and kind, and very much the kind of colleague who, when she leaves, will be widely and sorely missed.”

Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce manager Brian Small who founded and operated what started as the Victoria-Vancouver Island Film Commission in 1974.

The hunt is on for its next film commissioner.

About the Author: Greater Victoria News Staff

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