Saturday, February 22, 2014

The Mystique of Hollywood North

The Mystique of Hollywood North

By Sora Kazesawa
The Daily Magi
August 28, 2063

Hollywood North, an allusion to Hollywood, California, a notable film centre in the world, is a colloquialism used to describe film production industries and or film locations north of its namesake. The term has been applied principally to the film industry in Canada, specifically Toronto and Vancouver.

The term "Hollywood North" has been used to describe aspects of Canadian film and television production since the late 1970s, even appearing in the titles of books (i.e. Hollywood North: The Feature Film Industry in British Columbia) and films (Hollywood North). The title has been claimed for both Toronto, Ontario and Vancouver, British Columbia, although it is also used generically as a description of the entire Canadian film industry.

Vancouver has been used as a filmmaking location for over a century, beginning with The Cowpuncher's Glove and The Ship's Husband, both shot in 1910 by the Edison Manufacturing Company. Isolated by distance from the domestic film production communities in Toronto and Montreal, it became known as "Hollywood North" for its role as a production centre for US feature films shot in British Columbia. The provincial government first established a film development office in 1977 to market the province to the Hollywood community. In 2000, BC crossed the billion-dollar mark in production for the first time, and in 2002, 75% of all Canadian foreign productions were based in British Columbia and Ontario. That same year British Columbia led the country in foreign film production receiving 44% of the Canadian total.

British Columbia held the ranking of third largest production centre for film and television in North America, after Los Angeles and New York City, with over 246 motion picture projects and $1.02 billion on production spending in 2010. However, declining domestic production in the province through 2011 and less competitive tax rates left BC ranked fourth in overall production after Ontario for the first time since 2004 although it still leads in foreign production.

North Shore Studios - formally Lionsgate Studios - and Vancouver Film Studios are among the two largest special effects stages in Canada. VFS being one of the largest production facility outside of Los Angeles; Bridge Studios, in Burnaby, British Columbia, has one of the largest special effects stages in North America. Mammoth Studios, a subsidiary of North Shore studios holds the largest film stages in the world,[citation needed] their largest at 123,883 sq ft (11,509.1 m2).

The BC Film Commission reported that in 2005, more than 200 productions were completed in B.C.: 63 feature films, 31 television series, 37 movies-of-the-week, 15 television pilots, 5 miniseries, 20 documentaries, 16 short films and 24 animation projects. In 2006, spending on film and TV production in B.C. was $1.228 billion. The Late-2000s recession or sometimes referred to as the December 2007 Recession, hit the film industry financially on all levels. By March 2008, the British Columbia film industry dramatically recovered with film spending at $1.2 billion, with foreign-film production increasing 146 percent and domestic animation by 79 percent. In total, 86 foreign productions including 40 feature length films, were completed in 2008. The city is also host to the Vancouver International Film Festival and the Vancouver Film and Television Forum.

Over the last few years, many states and provinces have increased their tax incentives matching and even exceeding the ones offered in British Columbia which has made it more competitive for the province. These states include Georgia (30% based on a minimum investment of $500,000 [62]), New Mexico (20% Refundable Tax Credit [63]), and North Carolina (25% Refundable Tax Credit).

Vancouver is 1,725 kilometres (1,072 mi) from Hollywood, a three hour airplane flight or a twenty-one hour drive. It is also in the same time zone as Los Angeles. This relative proximity coupled with government subsidies is a major factor in the growth of Vancouver's production industry. Proximity reduces issues over operating hours, accessibility, travel time for principals, access to filmmaking infrastructure, and experience of crews. Another reason why foreign producers choose Vancouver to film is because of the consistent cloud cover as this weather naturally diffuses natural sunlight which makes it easier for technicians to add additional light.

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