The BC Film Industry is a multibillion-dollar industry, boasting more than 20,000 jobs annually (source). In 2016, BC played host to more than 400 unique productions and became the third-largest Film and TV production centre in North America. Over the years, the industry has grown as the Canadian Dollar became more affordable for American production companies, generating more than 3 billion dollars in 2018. In 2019, the local industry accounted for approximately $1.67 billion spent in British Columbia, including spending on direct industry jobs and labour income. B.C.-based creators accounted for 154 productions, with non-B.C. and foreign companies bringing 230 productions to the province (source). This growth came to an abrupt halt in March 2020, when COVID-19 shut down international borders and ceased all ongoing products.
6 months later, with millions in financial losses, thousands of laid-off workers, and delayed production dates, we are left wondering – What does a pandemic mean for the future of Hollywood North? Before the pandemic, BC was home to 40 percent of Canada’s film and television production, followed secondly by Ontario. Although Canada’s Covid-19 cases are on the rise, the significantly lower numbers than their American neighbours offer a more promising outlook for future productions.
Beginning in August, film production started to see a prominent return across BC, with productions resuming filming. As production ramps back up, finding a safe solution for the actors, production crew, and staff is at the top of mind for many producers. Pre-pandemic, Thomas FX was best known for being an industry leader in Hollywood and global film special effects production supplies. The company is well known throughout the world’s Film industry, producing everything from movie props to their patented line of biodegradable snow, ash, and digital flakes. Thomas FX has supplied their legendary effects products to film productions such as Shutter Island, Watchmen, The Avengers, The Revenant, and Blade Runner 2049 – to name just a few. Once the pandemic hit and closed the global film & television industries on March 13’th, Thomas FX made a shift to start selling COVID-19 safety measures on top of their usual product supply. To help promote a safe return to film sets and other large scale production spaces, Thomas FX has become the exclusive Canadian and European Dealer for Biotech UV Light technology and industrial-grade sanitizing equipment; in addition to a range of industrial sanitizing fog machines and Vancouver made protective plexi barriers. These products enable large buildings, sets, offices, and props to be efficiently sanitized and made safe for staff. Thomas FX hopes that production crews will quickly enroll in the new sanitization protocols and expedite the return to set with improved safety measures for actors and crews.
One thing we can be certain of is that there will always be a need for Canadian films and productions. The team at Hollywood North Magazine is hoping that the current ramped up levels of production leads to a greater focus on Canadian-exclusive productions. Known for their Canadian film industry commentary, the team at Hollywood North Magazine is optimistic in the Canadian content that we can hope to see soon. “With production companies taking precautions and making plans carefully, there is hope that Vancouver’s film scene and many other scenes around the province will be bustling once again.” – Nick, Hollywood North Magazine.
Canadians will be keeping their eye on the return to work as people begin to accept the new normal and move forward. With the aid of safety measures and products like the UV Biotech UV Lights, production crews can safely resume feature projects and begin producing some feature productions. We look forward to seeing the productions that come out of our Beautiful province and how Canadian’s will continue to be resilient amidst the ongoing challenges.