Sidney Pier was one of two sites in Sidney as the Netflix series Maid shot in Sidney in late 2020. The show starring Margaret Qualley was one of 38 productions shooting in Greater Victoria. (Bob Orchard/Submitted)

Sidney Pier was one of two sites in Sidney as the Netflix series Maid shot in Sidney in late 2020. The show starring Margaret Qualley was one of 38 productions shooting in Greater Victoria. (Bob Orchard/Submitted)

Head of Greater Victoria film commission warns of lost economic opportunity

Kathleen Gilbert said without full funding, region will not be able to attract productions

The head of the Vancouver Island South Film and Media Commission said the region risks losing economic development if the commission is unable to secure full funding.

Kathleen Gilbert, commissioner of the Vancouver Island South Film & Media Commission, said the commission cannot continue to offer what she calls “top-shelf service that resulted in a $50 million boost to the CRD economy” in 2020 without full funding.

While the commission’s original budget for 2020 called for $256,340, the COVID-19 pandemic forced the commission to re-jig it, said Gilbert, who appeared before Sidney council Monday. “(Some) of our municipal funders removed grants in aid from their budgets, we also saw a drop in corporate sponsorships,” she told the Peninsula News Review, adding that the commission cut all non-essentials budget items such as travel, marketing, events, education and parking to help keep the commission’s “doors open for the remainder of the year” with a grant budget of $154,500.

RELATED: Netflix series Maid calls on Sidney

The commission also received $32,000 in COVID-19 assistance from government sources on top of $20,000 in other revenue.

“Without this extra government emergency funding, we would have to greatly reduce the services that we offer,” she said. This said, requests for commission services did not stop during COVID-19 pandemic. “In fact, they increased,” said Gilbert.

“Understand that these are not audited figures and working within this budget does not allow us to grow this industry,” she said in an interview. “To grow the industry you must market the region and that costs money. We are, however, so grateful for those funding partners who recognized the value of our work and continued to fund us through these difficult times and we are hopeful that 2021 will see a return to full funding from all our funding partners.”

According to Gilbert’s letter to Sidney council, the local film industry started 2020 with another record-breaking slate of productions. “Then COVID hit and March saw the entire production side of North America’s film industry close down, putting most of our local crew and B.C.’s 70,000 film employees out of work,” she said.

Pre and post-production continued to work remotely, and after months of high level collaboration between all parties crews returned to work in July with strict protocols designed to create a safe working environment in place.

“In total, we saw 38 productions shoot in the CRD in 2020, resulting in an estimated $50 million in direct spending, smashing our previous record of $20 million in one year,” she said.


Do you have a story tip? Email: vnc.editorial@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

Coronavirus

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

Just Posted

A pedestrian pushing a child in a stroller was struck by a driver while crossing a Highway 1 off-ramp at Burnside Road West on Feb. 24. (Google Streetview)
Pedestrian with child in stroller struck by driver in Saanich crosswalk

Incident occurred in crosswalk in Highway 1 off-ramp at Burnside Road West

David Wighton is a Goldstream Gazette 2021 Local Hero as the winner of the Coaches Award. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
Life-changing lessons shared after 55-year coaching career

David Wighton is the 2021 recipient of the Local Hero Coaches Award

West Shore RCMP headquarters in Langford. (Black Press Media file photo)
West Shore RCMP arrests two suspects in connection to View Royal arson

Investigators determined the fire was deliberately set, targeted

Visitors to Island View Beach Regional Park in Central Saanich could end up paying for parking. (Black Press Media File)
Proposed parking fees for Island View Beach under fire

Central Saanich councillor says timing could not be worse

Island Health has reported possible COVID-19 exposures at Glandford Middle School in Saanich on Feb. 8, 9, 10, 11 and 17. (Google Maps streetview)
Island Health reports COVID-19 exposures at Saanich middle school

Exposures occurred between Feb. 8 and 17 at Glanford Middle School

B.C. health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and health minister Adrian Dix wore pink shirts to showcase this year’s motto: “Lift each other up.” (Twitter/PinkShirtDay)
PHOTOS: B.C. celebs take a stand against bullying on Pink Shirt Day

‘We need to let young people know they are not alone and they can reach out to others for help’

Justin Morissette is still recovering from the injuries sustained in the altercation. He is not yet able to walk without assistance. (Justin Morissette, Twitter)
B.C. man suing city and police over violent altercation with anti-LGBTQ preacher

Justin Morissette argues police knew the threat the preacher posed, and failed to keep the peace

Mowi Canada West salmon farm in B.C. waters. Conservative MPs have backed an industry call for further discussions on the timeline for closing Discovery Island farms. (Photo supplied by Mowi Canada)
Conservative MPs back B.C. salmon farmers’ call for transparent discussions

Farm owners requested consultations, more time to leave Discovery Islands

Jack Barnes, who was Cowichan Valley Capitals property from May 2020 until last week, scores a goal for the Penticton Vees during the 2019-20 BCHL season. (Brennan Phillips/Black Press)
COVID-crunched BCHL facing trade deadline dilemma with its 20-year-olds

Hard decisions loom when BCHL may or may not resume play

A Nanaimo RCMP vehicle in the Woodgrove Centre parking lot. (News Bulletin file photo)
Woman groped by stranger in mall parking lot in Nanaimo

Incident happened near bus loop Saturday, Feb. 20, at about 4:45 p.m.

A 19-year-old man is in police custody following a recent violent robbery and assault in Comox . (File photo)
Arrest made in violent robbery and assault of Comox gas station employee

19-year-old man in police custody after incident where woman was putting things in her car

COVID cases in the Bella Coola Valley have dropped to just four active cases (file photo)
Expanding social circles fuelling North Island COVID-19 spike

Comox Valley COVID spike the result of ‘a series of multiple social gatherings’

Average response times for critical “purple” and “red” calls were between nine and 10 minutes Feb. 19 in Metro Vancouver, with only less critical “yellow” calls receiving an average response time of 45 minutes. The longer than usual delay was due to a combination of factors, BC Emergency Health Services said. (APBC image)
After a night of one-hour waits for ambulances, union goes public with concerns

B.C. Ambulance Service says high-priority calls were still 10 minutes or less

NorKam secondary student Karis Wilson in the outfit that got her sent home from school on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. (Contributed to Kamloops This Week)
B.C. teen in turtleneck, lace-edged dress sent home from school for ‘inappropriate’ outfit

NorKam secondary student Karis Wilson was told the lace on the garment made it look like a slip dress

Most Read