With an increase in high-budget production activity in Calgary, the city’s reputation as a choice film location continues to grow on the world stage. Based on the size and scope of productions set to film in the region, 2021 could shape up to be a record year in the sector with thousands of jobs created over the next decade.
“Alberta is on the map for large-scale productions thanks to our competitive film-friendly tax environment, diverse and breathtaking landscapes, world-class facilities and award-winning talent," said Mary Moran, President and Chief Executive Officer, Calgary Economic Development. “Calgary is the fourth largest film jurisdiction in Canada and it’s exciting to see our growing creative industries sector create more jobs and make a significant impact on the provincial economy.”
Earlier this year, the Government of Alberta announced the removal of the $10 million Film and Television Tax Credit per project cap to attract larger film productions to the province.
“This particular year is a start to seeing Alberta transition into what would be considered an ‘A’ level production location,” said Luke Azevedo, Vice President and Film Commissioner, Calgary Economic Development. “Our film and television sector could easily become a billion-dollar industry for Alberta. We are globally competitive and deliver on the safety, incentives, talent and infrastructure streamers and studios are looking for when it comes to location selection.”
In Calgary, more than 24,000 people are employed by 4,400 businesses in the creative industries sector with a talent pipeline that’s fed by over 3,200 creative and film industry post-secondary graduates annually, including Mount Royal University, SAIT and the University of Calgary. Bow Valley College also announced it will soon be home to the next Centre for Entertainment Arts to train students for careers in film, television and animation, which will help fill the rising demand for skilled talent.
“Our city is also a top destination for post-production like audio, visual, special effects and editing, which doesn’t always get the recognition it deserves,” said Azevedo. “The long-term leases and commitments at the Calgary Film Centre also show a lot of confidence in our sector.”
Located just 20 minutes from downtown, the Calgary Film Centre offers 50,000 sq. ft. of purpose-built studios and 25,000 sq. ft. of multipurpose warehouse and workshop spaces. William F. White International Inc. also announced the opening of its first studio in Calgary, Fortress Studio and supplementary property Fortress+ Support, which will further support growing demand with more than 100,000 sq. ft. of studio space.
In 2020, Calgary Economic Development facilitated 78 projects and 136 filming permits. Calgary also made MovieMaker Magazine’s list of Best Places to Live and Work as a Moviemaker in 2021. It was the first time Calgary was ranked by Moviemaker and placed tenth among the top 25 cities.
Over the past year, Alberta filmmakers and international production companies produced series such as Fraggle Rock, Wynonna Earp, Heartland, Tribal and Black Summer in the province. Other major productions filmed in Alberta include Intersteller, Brokeback Mountain, Inception and The Revenant.
For more information on Calgary’s film and television sector, visit our Creative Industries page.